Fishermen have a dilemma this time of year. Its hard to decide whether to go fishing for crappie or bass. Both bite good during March and you can usually catch a good many of either species. Its hard to decide which to try to catch.
Last week I got to go with experts at catching both. They don’t have to decide, each of them concentrates on one species only all year. I met Mark Collins at Weiss for crappie fishing and Mike Morris for at West Point for bass. Each of them will be featured in articles in both Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News April issues.
Mark Collins has been guiding full time for Lake Weiss crappie for 23 years. He knows how to catch crappie there year round and spring is one of his best times for catching large numbers of fish as well as big fish. This time of year he is trolling for them from his center console boat that will hold up to four fishermen and he runs three rods per fisherman, including himself, the legal limit on Weiss.
Driving into the area around Lake Weiss you will see signs proclaiming Weiss is the “Crappie Fishing Capital of the World.” It has long been known for producing a lot of very big crappie. The lake has perfect habitat for crappie and local businesses, Alabama Power and the state of Alabama all work to keep it good and make it better.
Statewide in Alabama there is a nine inch size limit on crappie to protect the smaller fish and let them grow. On two lakes, Weiss and Logan Martin, the next lake downstream on the Coosa River, both have ten inch limits to help produce quality fish.
Mark is a board member of the Weiss Lake Improvement Association, an organization that works to improve habitat for crappie and other fish on the lake and promotes fishing there. One of the things they have done is put out brush piles made of cane. The GPS co-ordinates for them can be found on his website: http://www.markcollinsguideservice.com/habitat-sites-locations.html. Not only do those brush piles give fishermen a good place to fish, they offer crappie and other species a place to live, feed and grow.
Mark scared me but impressed me at the same time. I was to meet him at noon Monday and ride along that afternoon with him and a guide client. About the time I go to Carrollton he called and said there was no reason to come, the fish were not biting and he had canceled his guide trips.
His website says “No fish, no pay,” one of the few guides that will do that. But he says he wants happy clients that will come back for repeat business so he will call them if the fish aren’t biting.
Fortunately for me, he was out fishing trying to figure out what to do to catch fish. I met him at Little River Landing and Resort, the only full service marina on the lake. They even have rooms to rent and a small restaurant. He had caught about eight crappie that morning, a couple of them over two pounds, so we had fish for pictures for the article.
Eight crappie over ten inches long sounds like a decent catch to me but Mark expects to have 30 fish per person limits each day for his clients. If you want to go out with one of the best guides on the lake you can contact him through his website or call him at 256-779-3387.