How fast can you cast, set the hook, retrieve and let the guide net your crappie? Perfect now do it again and again. It may seem like chaos, but it’s what you can expect to happen in Lee Pitts’ boat.
Pitts is the renowned crappie fishing guide on Weiss Lake also acknowledged as the Crappie Capital of the World in Cedar Bluff, Alabama. Offering year around crappie guide service on Weiss Lake, Pitts (www.pittsoutdoors.com) knows how to catch crappie even in the cold winter months. Truth is Pitts loves this time of year because the crappie fishing is so good.
“It’s controlled chaos this time of year when we go crappie fishing. With one angler in the front and another in the back it’s all I can do to watch clients catch fish while I net and unhook crappie. Due the winter months it’s easy to pattern crappie as they get shallow up on flat following the shad,” said Pitts.
During the winter months on Weiss Lake Pitts will use a long lining technique to catch crappie. It’s not one pole, one lure fishing. Instead, Pitts utilizes multiple rods allowing him to present several lures and different colored lures.
“What I do is set out multiple rods about 20- to 25-yards back from the boat. Normally that’s one long cast and a rod length then troll at .6- to .9-mph, I’m basically trolling at under 1 mph to keep the lures in the strike zone. I focus on keeping the boat on the creek channel edge around 6- to 12-feet deep,” said Pitts.
To keep his lures from tangling Pitts uses Mr. Crappie Slab Shakers or Wally Marshall Signature Series Tuxedo Black (www.mrcrappie.com) in 8- or 9-foot with a reel loaded with Gama High Vis 6-pound fishing line. He uses the High Vis line to see where his line is and watch for strikes.
As for lures, Pitts keeps it simple using a subtle approach with a small profile. He uses Bobby Garland Crappie Baits (www.bobbygarlandcrappie.com) 2 ¼-inches Baby Shad Swim’R rigged on a 1/24-ounce Mo’Glo Jighead in pink or orange. His favorite color patterns for the winter are money milk, Cajun cricket and black/chartreuse.
Cooler temperatures and shorter days keep Weiss Lake water temperature around 49- to 52-degrees for the next month or so. Pitts loves the cooler water temperatures because it draws the big crappie out. Plus, the lake has a liberal limit of 30 crappie per person so anglers can really load up on fillets for the freezer.
One thing that Pitts is always paying attention to is wind. “A little wind is good, but not strong winds. Speed is the key to presenting the lures correctly and in the strike zone as crappie are following shad as they move up the creek channel to the flats,” said Pitts.
Weiss Lake is located in northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia. The 30,000-acre lake is part of the Coosa River chain. Weiss Lake has numerous aquatic fish habitat structures. Locations for those fish attractors on Lake Weiss can be found at http://conservationgis.alabama.gov/dcnr/ and https://apcshorelines.com/recreation/fishing/ .