Next Level Bass Fishing

      With a little digging, here is what I found, you be the judge.  

Last year there were six trail events.  The Trail outcome determined the state of Rhode Island’s “State Team” for TBF.  Each year there are 12 members on the state team and that team fishes a regional event in a revolving state’s body of water in order to go to Nationals, and ultimately, an opportunity to fishing for the Forrest Wood Cup.  On the BASS side of tournament trails, the end is the Bassmaster Classic.  Of those six events held by TBFRI, members fishing the trail can use only the five best results for the season’s overall results.  At each event, each angler can score up to a possible 100 points, with 3 fewer points for each lower finishing position during the event.  So for example if you finished 1st at one tournament and 5th at the second event,  you would score 100 for 1st and 88 for 5th, giving you 185 points out of a possible 200.

     So how did Carl do last year with his 5 scored events?  He finished with 497 points out of the possible 500.  4 wins, and 1 paltry 2nd place… slacker.  Basically, he won everything and beat everyone… badly.  And what is he doing this year.  There have been two events hosted by TBFRI and one other Open that I know of which he fished.  RESULTS: Two wins and a 3rd place.  All three times in the money, all three times he left those at the ramp with a seemingly Déjà Vu like feeling poking them in the wallet.  For those of you that beat him over the last two years, the 3 of you, congratulations!   

     So how bad was it at Whitehall on the 17th of May? To get there and answer that question, I have to quickly mention last year’s final event when he not just won, he put a resounding BOOM in his destruction of the 2014 Rhode Island field. His 19.5 lb bag at Johnson’s Pond beat everyone by more than 11 lbs, and that was done in SEPTEMBER.  Yesterday, he and his partner Billy Silva were at it again with a massive bag which weighed 19.83 lbs and a lunker of 6.44 lbs to boot, only this time beating everyone by a mere 7 lbs. Just to be clear, our area of the country is not a huge area filled with countless and massive lake systems, capable of producing multiple "huge" bags.  Sometimes, when we are fishing alone, we like to think that we are crushing them.  In fact we are, but we are typically not in a tournament situation with say 20, 30 or more boats fishing the exact same water as we are.  Typically, we are out there alone, or sharing the lake with just a few other boats. So to go out and crack a 20 lb bag...sorry 19.5 and 19.83 during a tournament is something that turns heads.  It just doesn't happen very often.  Our area doesn't have many sustainable waterways which to allow it to occur. 

     This is how I see it, and of course I might be wrong, but then again, I might just be right.  People are either going to continue getting beat… I mean really pounded into the ground or they are going to learn from their mistakes and other's victories.  Adapt and change.  It could be argued, but not by me, that Carl Andrade is one of Rhode Island’s best Bass fishermen if not the best.  There are very few people in our part of the country who in my opinion, have the versatility, knowledge, ability and dedication to the sport of bass fishing to be as consistent and as dominating as he is.  As a fellow angler who has first hand knowledge of these nose bleeds, these direct punches to the face on multiple times, trust me.  However, for those of you who don't, those of you the think I am being overly dramatic or forget the time you won; I say, "I haven't forgotten."  Most likely I was there watching you win a few years ago and here is what I say to you and the rest of the field; Come unprepared with just one way to fish, one hole you like to sit in, spend your day chasing last year, chasing a memory of a tournament 5 years ago and at the next event see how it all unfolds. See who cashes a check.  You might be right, it might be you, it might be me, but my friends I assure you, it has a better chance of being him, historically speaking. 


By Gradie Beaulieu 

     Some things just seem to repeat over and over again.  In fact, I can clearly hear the proverb about learning from our mistakes.  I can hear how we are destined to repeat our failures if we don’t change when I think about tournament fishing in Rhode Island over the past few years.  Changing our tournament outcomes is no different than this saying when we consider how many of us seldom change our applied techniques or tactics.  Given our seemingly endless ability to relapse and forgot why we did so poorly the last time is why others regularly succeed. These beat-downs we take normally result from us not remembering that the last time we attempted the same thing, we failed.  If we don’t learn to fix what we did last week, last year, or for the past 20 years, our tournament results will stay the same next week, next year and for the next 20 that follow.

     Over the past two years, a failure to learn has occurred on The Bass Federation of Rhode Island's (TBFRI) tournament circuit.  TBFRI has been in a perpetual state of relapse; a circle of tournament vortexes playing over and over again, from which, even the best angler’s can’t seem to escape from.  And P.S. People, it’s not getting any better for you. (I’ve been in Italy and now I’m in Mississippi, so I don’t count.. right now... but I will soon).

     Why? You ask. Here’s why. Carl Andrade, a Next Level Bass Fishing guy, and a long standing member of TBF has been on a role.  In fact, he has been beating the competition so badly over the past few years that his most recent Bostonian like hammering of the field aka.. a Wicked Beatin“ has left a few in the shadows wondering if they should continue to fish.  "I think that I am going to start showing up in the morning and just hand my money to Carl, watch everyone go out from the launch, set up a hammock and wait for weigh-in.  I already know what’s going to happen.” That was the comment of one fellow competitor late Sunday night after another WWF like, top rope knock out was dealt out. For the bravado of the person involved and whom I am quoting, I am not going to reveal names, but be assured, statements like this don't come often, and when they do, they make me wonder what is going on. 

Top Photo: Johnson's Pond, 28 September 2014.

19.5 Lbs

Right Photo: Photo Work By Neil Dootson 



May 17th The Bass Federation of Rhode Island's State Team Open at Whitehall Reserviour. 19.83 lbs -Lunker 6.44

​“I think that I am going to start showing up in the morning and just hand my money to Carl, watch them go out from the launch, set a hammock and wait for weigh-in.  I already know what’s going to happen.”​​

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