John's Journal... Entry 85, Day 3
String Strategies and Rigging Techniques
EDITOR'S NOTE: I now know why anglers consider Weiss Lake near Centre, Alabama, on the Alabama/Georgia border, the Crappie Capital of the World and why Steve Pope of Centre, Alabama, ranks as one of the best guides anywhere. Pope has guided on Weiss Lake for 13 years and knows the water and the fish there like the back of his hand. His crappie-fishing techniques radically will change your ideas if you fish structure. This week, Weiss Lake's Crappie King will share his secrets to trolling, choosing a jig, locating fish and catching a limit of colossal crappie at Weiss Lake.
When you troll for crappie at Weiss Lake, you'll often catch bass and saltwater stripers. Weiss Lake has an abundance of saltwater stripers and a limit of 30 stripers per day per person. "We have fun catching stripers," Pope mentioned. "We'll catch stripers that weigh from 5 to 30 pounds on 6-pound-test line and ultralight tackle. During the spring and summer, we take anglers striper fishing as well as crappie fishing."
During the spring of the year, Pope fishes a 1/16-ounce jig on 6-pound line for crappie. "My fishermen cast an average cast behind the boat," Pope explains. During this time of the year, the fish will be suspended out in the open water. If we don't catch fish, I know we're trolling either too slow or too fast. By adjusting the speed of the troll until we catch crappie, I can locate the water depth at which the fish are swimming. If you fish too slow, your jig will run under the crappie. Crappie will come up and take a bait, but they won't go down."
Pope made a homemade rod holder with pressure-treated 4 X 4 wood that sits on the back of his Ranger bass boat. This rod holder holds six rods without tangling their lines. In the front of the boat, he has two B&M 13-feet crappie poles trolling well outside the poles in the back of the boat. Then Pope sits in the front of the boat, runs the depth finder and operates the trolling motor.
To learn more about how to catch big crappie on Weiss Lake, or, to try and land a 5- to a 30-pound striper on 6-pound-test line, or, to check out fishing conditions at Weiss, contact Steve Pope at (256) 927-6617, or go to his website www.weisslakeguideservice.com
For other proven tactics on how to catch crappie, return to Night Hawk's Homepage, and click on books. To receive a brochure or to order John E. Phillips' book, "The Masters' Secrets of Crappie Fishing," which contains more than 50 experts' tips for catching more crappie, call (800) 627-4295.
TOMORROW: Pope's Best-Ever Day of Fishing