Crappie anglers from several states traveled to Centre, AL to compete on Weiss Lake. The March 20, 2021, Region 1 event was presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s.
In addition to the event, anglers are competing in the $50,000 points race, an opportunity to compete at the Regional Championships, and the 2021 Crappie USA Classic on Lake Hartwell, Anderson, SC.
Anglers were fishing in some tough weather conditions. Air temperatures were in the mid-50s and the water temperature was about 58. A strong current and windy conditions made boat control a big issue for the anglers.
In a note of interest, youth angler Cody George caught his personal best 2.14-pound crappie. It helped his team earn 6th place in the Amateur Division.
When asked what he did when he caught it, Cody replied simply, “I needed the net.”
A total of 61 boats fished the event,20 in the Pro Division and 41 in the Amateur Division. A total of $12,050was distributed to the winners.
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The top spot on Weiss went to the father/son team of Terry and Kris Mann from Mt. Sterling and Wellington, KY. They had a winning bag of 11.51 pounds to earn a check for $ 3,000.
“We fished in the lower Chattooga and Coosa Rivers,” reported Kris. “Our pre-tourney fish had moved out from where we caught them due to rising, muddy water. After that, we just went fishing.”
The team caught one fish early in open water but the 20 mph northeast winds made boat control extremely tough so they searched for sheltered areas.
“The rest of our fish came from structure in more protected areas,” continued Kris. “As the sun got higher the fish began to relate to the structure. We single-pole jigged with a variety of B’n’M Poles and Crappie Magnet baits tipped with Slab Bites.”
Terry and Kris were using LiveScope around the structure. They found their keeper fish in 14-16 feet of water. The team caught about 15-20 Wiess Lake crappies on the day.
“We’d foremost like to thank our Lord, Jesus Christ for His blessings and protection over us,” concluded Kris. “We’d also like to thank our sponsors—Crappie Magnet, B’n’M Poles, Safe House, and Cornfield Crappie Gear.”
The runner-up spot in the pro division went to Tony Thomas from Section, AL, and Jason Hawkins from Sylvania, AL. They teamed up to bring 11.4 pounds to the scales and earn a check for $1,200.
Thomas and Hawkins fished the upper to lower lake. They were fishing deep water with 8 ounce weedless jigs tipped with minnows. They also used Skipper’s Jigs with minnows. They were finding their fish in 15-20 feet of water where they caught around 15-20 fish on the day.
Bringing in the third-place weight was Linq and Tony Grooms from Murray, KY. They brought a bag of Weiss Lake crappies to the scales that weighed 11.16 pounds and earned a check for $ 500.
The team pushed brush tops in the Little River area. They were using three 16 foot poles in 10-14 feet of water. They also single poled using Crappie Magnets in 4-6 feet of water.
Rounding out the money was Shawn Salyers and Josh Lovett from Murray, KY. They weigh 10.83 pounds to claim the fourth place spot and earn $300.
Salyers and Lovett were using LiveScope to single pole 14-22 feet of water in mid-lake.
Amateur Division Results
Tom and Jackie Gant grabbed the brass ring in the Amateur Division. The couple from Pell City, AL brought 10.67 pounds to the scales to earn a check for $2,000.
Tom and Jackie fished with hair jigs on their K9 Line. They found fish in 8-12 feet of water. They reported muddy water and tough fishing conditions with the high winds and waves but still caught around 15-20 fish on the day.
Local anglers Jason Lawless and Jeff Baker scored the runner-up spot. The Centre, AL team had 10.2 pounds to claim the second-place spot and earn a check for $1,000.
Jason and Jeff fished the Cowen Creek area. They were shooting docks with Bobby Garland baits. They reported no keepers in the first 2 hours as the fish were laid up in the mud. They found dark colors to work the best as they caught around 60 fish on the day, with 30 of them being keepers.
A Georgia team claimed the third-place spot in the Amateur Division. Philip Sinyard from Douglasville and Randy Jenkins from Cartersville had a bag that weighed 8.89 pounds to earn the third-place money of $600. Their bag included the 2nd Big Fish at 2.47 pounds.
The team experienced a slow bite early while spider rigging with jigs on the upper lake. They switched to slow pitching banks with Southern Pro baits tipped with minnows. Around 30 Weiss Lake crappies came to the boat on tournament day.
A Kentucky team brought home the fourth-place spot. Wayne Adams from Berea and Richard Wright from Irvine teamed up to bring 7.81 pounds to the scales and earn a check for $400.
The fifth-place team was Max and Knox Wilson from Centre, AL The local team had a tournament weight of 7.42 pounds to claim the 5th spot and earn $300.
The team fished the upper lake with live bait and Southern Pro jigs. They also experienced difficult fishing conditions because of the wind, but adjusted and came in the money.
When asked what technique they used, Max replied, “Just tried to hold the baits in the water.”
Big Fish of the Tournament
Dennis Robison and Ronald Smith brought in the Big Fish of the tournament. They caught a 2.48 pound Weiss Lake slab while slow trolling a chartreuse and black jig.
Tournament Director Shane Mansel sent thanks to the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce for all their support in hosting the event.
“We had a great group of youngsters at the Weiss Lake Kids Rodeo,” added Mansel. “It’s always great to see the kids fishing and having fun.”
CUSA Operations Manager Darrell Van Vactor put in a special thank you to Teresa Hulgan, Executive Director of the Cherokee County Alabama Chamber of Commerce for her support and to Bay Springs Lodge and Campground as the housing host.
“Thanks to the city of Leesburg for the use of the new Leesburg Landing and Campground area for our weigh-in,” concluded Van Vactor. “It was great to see how all the hard work paid off with the beautiful facility improvements at Leesburg Landing. It certainly has become one of the premier tournament sites in the nation with all the parking, new ramps, and all the other amenities.”
The 2021 CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 14th – 16th at Lake Hartwell, SC at Anderson, SC. The 2021 Crappie USA Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s features a guaranteed payout of $165,000 in cash and prizes.
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Crappie Magnet, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, Freaky Franks Tackle, EZ Drift, Pro Controll, Bubba Blade, Flambeau, Smooth Moves Seats, Rejuvenade, and Millennium Marine.
For more information on the Classic and other CUSA events visit the website at www.crappieusa.com and Crappie USA Tournament Trail Facebook Page. The CUSA office is available by phone at 502-384-5924.