John's Journal...


The Blow Hole

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jason Tucker, who guides out of J.R.’s Marina on Weiss Lake near Cedar Bluff, Alabama, has guided and fished on Lake Weiss, known as the Crappie Capital of the World, for 18 years. He guides more than 200 days a year for crappie during the fall, winter and spring and for striped bass during the hot summer months. Tucker’s also a member of the Weiss Lake Improvement Association and Crappie Unlimited, and you’ll learn more about both these organizations. Crappie Unlimited has the most-unique inshore artificial-reef-building program ever that’s funded by crappie fishermen, for crappie fishermen, and improves the habitat for all the fish in the lake.

During the winter months, one of the most-reliable crappie hot spots on Lake Weiss is the area known as the Blow Hole, a discharge pipe where the water that’s been through the town of Cedar Bluff’s waste-treatment plant is discharged into the lake. The water coming out of the Blow Hole is much warmer than the water Click to enlargein the lake, and it’s heavily loaded with nutrients. The Blow Hole draws in concentrations of baitfish, which attract crappie. To catch these crappie, my customers and I use a technique called cork and fly or floating fly fishing. I tie two, 1/16-ounce Spike-It Superflys (Spike-It crappie jigs) to 10-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. One of the jigs is tied with a loop knot onto the end of the line, and the second jig is 12 inches above the first jig and attached to the line with a loop knot. The best colors are chartreuse, blue, some combinations of these two colors or red-and-chartreuse. Seven-feet up the line from the first jig, I attach a round bobber that’s painted chartreuse on the top and red on the bottom. I run the line through the bottom of the bobber, where it’s clipped on the line, around the bobber and then clipped on the line at the top. Then when the jigs reach the end of the line, the bobber sits up straight, and you can only see the chartreuse top of the bobber.

We use a 9-foot B’n’M poles to cast out either Spike-It Superflys or the Spike-It rubber jigs to the center of the river. We like the 9-foot B’n’M poles because they’re so light we -can cast them all day with spinning tackle without getting worn out. Yet, they’re strong enough to lift big crappie into the boat. We can use those 9-foot poles with our style of fishing to fish from 3- to 12-feet deep. These poles also have also very-sensitive tips, which allow us to work our jigs. But the tips are strong enough that we can set the Click to enlargehooks hard. I’ve been fishing with B’n’M poles for over 10 years, and they’re very durable and dependable.

We anchor on the old riverbank and fish the deep side of the river. Most of the crappie we’ll catch will be 7- to 9-feet deep. When the jig reaches the bottom, and the cork stands up, I use my pole to twitch the line to make the bobber shake and the jig to move slightly. Then I stop the action, and that’s usually when the crappie will bite. If the crappie don’t take the bait, I’ll drag the cork about 8 inches, twitch it and let it sit still again. Most of the time the crappie will take a jig when the cork is still. Many times a crappie will hit the jig when the crappie is coming up, which causes the cork to roll over. Then you’ll see the red side of the cork instead of the chartreuse, and that’s when you know you’ve had a bite. Often when you cast your cork and fly rig out, the cork won’t stand up as fast as you think, which means the crappie has taken the jig on the fall, and you need to set the hook. At other times, if a crappie strikes the jig as the jig swims down, the fish will sink the cork. During the winter months, when the bite is often very light, any time I see that bobber move when it’s supposed to be still, I’ll set the hook. Generally I’ll catch a crappie then.
Click to enlarge Much of Weiss will be stained in the wintertime, and don’t forget during the winter months, stained water holds more heat than clear water. That’s why I search for stained water in colder weather. At this time of the year, the crappie don’t really want to bite, but when moving jigs stop right in front of their faces, they have to eat. If you’re at a party, and the most-beautiful woman at the party walks up to you with a piece of cake in her hand and says for you to take a little bite, no matter how much you’ve had to eat and even if your girlfriend or wife is standing next to you, you’ll probably open your mouth and take a bite. The same thing happens during the winter months when my customers and I stop our moving jigs in front of a crappie’s mouth.
To learn more about Jason Tucker, J.R.’s Marina and the fishing at Weiss Lake call (256) 779-6461 or visit


Check back each day this week for more about WINTERTIME CRAPPIE FISHING AT WEISS LAKE

Day 1: The Blow Hole
Day 2: Here They Come
Day 3: Why the Length Limit and Why Spider-Rigging
Day 4: Crappie Plus
Day 5: What is Crappie Unlimited



Entry 333, Day 1