CUSA Pro Division Victory at Weiss Lake, AL goes to Team Mann

CUSA Pro Division Victory at Weiss Lake, AL goes to Team Mann
Pruitt and Pentecost take Amateur Division.

Crappie anglers from several states traveled to Weiss Lake at Centre, AL to participate in a Crappie USA (CUSA) event. October 5, 2019 event was presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Local and traveling anglers fished for cash, prizes, and an opportunity to compete at the 2019 CUSA Classic which will feature a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.

Crappie USA resumed tournament crappie fishing just a few weeks before the Classic coming up on Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee.The air temperature at Centre was in the 90’s with winds 10 to 20 and gusting from several different directions. Rain and storms moved in around weigh-in time to challenge the anglers further. The water level at Weiss was at winter pool.

“The fish were a little slow with the lower water level,” reported tournament director Darrell Van Vactor. “Even with the inclement weather, it is easy to see why Weiss is called the Crappie Capital of the World. It truly is a fantastic fishery.”

A total of 31 boats fished the Centre, AL event—11 in the Pro Division and 21 in the Amateur Division. A total of $6,325 was distributed to the winners.

Pro Division Results

crappie, tournament, Crappie USA

The Mt Sterling, KY team of Kris Mann and Terry Mann claimed top honors at Weiss Lake with a total weight of 7.45 pounds. The father/son team earned a check for $1400 for first place and added the Ranger Cup Bonus of $500.

Fishing conditions were very tough due to high winds and high water temps. The B’n’M prostaff team reported that practice fishing was much better than tourney day, but they made the necessary adjustments to not only claim first place in the tourney, they also wrapped up the 2019 points race.

“We were blessed to win it,”  reported a happy Kris Mann. “And most importantly we were blessed to lock up the points championship in the process, which was our main goal going in.”

The team fished from the power lines to the bridge in the main lake where thy caught 20-25 keepers at various depths in deep water.

“We targeted 12-21 feet of water,” offered Kris. “We used B’n’M poles to vertical jig structure on channel breaks. We used black/chartreuse Crappie Magnets and black/blue Trout Magnets to catch our fish.”

“We caught one weigh-in fish shooting docks,” Concluded Kris. “But the rest of our crappie were caught vertical jigging.”

The runner-up spot went to Tony Thomas from Section, AL and Jamie Heflin from Clanton AL. They teamed up to bring 7.35 pounds to the scales and earn a check for $600.

Thomas and Heflin fished the lower end of the lake. They were pushing Bobby Garland,  monkey milk colored jigs in 12 feet of water. They caught 45-50 Weiss Lake crappie to claim their spot.

“We tied on a lot of hooks today,” reported Thomas. “That tells you just how tight to the cover the fish were holding.”

Adam Mobbs and Carlton Teague from Gaylesville, AL took the third spot with 7.14 pounds. They earned a check for $ 400.

Spider rigging was the name of the game for Mobbs and Teaque. They were pushing live bait from the Power House area to Little River. They caught more than 50 fish from 7-21 feet of water.

“The crappie were very scattered,”  reported Mobbs. “Our fish came anywhere from shallow to deep.”

The Cave Springs, GA team of Stanley Steed and Leonard Steed brought in 6.83 pounds to claim the fourth spot in the Pro Division while Shawn Gore and Joey Peck from Almo, KY rounded out the top five.

Gore and Peck had a total bag of 5.23 pounds that included the 2nd Big Fish worth $180.00. They found their fish while spider rigging in the upper end of the lake. They caught fish at various depth using blue/chartreuse feather jigs.

Gore and Peck had a very good year in 2019. They went into Saturday’s competition tied in the points race with Team Mann but lost out in the end when Team Mann pulled out the win.

Amateur Division Results

crappie, tournament, Crappie USA

First place in the Amateur Division went to local anglers Avery Pruitt and Tim Pentecost. The Leesburg, AL team brought a total weight of 7.52 pounds to the scales to claimed the top spot. Their bag included Big Fish of the tournament at 1.92 pounds. They earned a first-place check for $900 and Big Fish check of $420. They added the Jenko Bonus of $100, and the Driftmaster Rod Holders Bonus of $125.

Pruitt and Pentecost spider rigged the main river area in 15-20 feet of water using live bait. They found the fish were very tight to cover.

“We were pushing minnows in 15 to 20 feet of water,” reported Pentecost. “We fished the main channel out from Riverside Campground and caught our first crappie at 6:33 am. It was short. We fished another hour or so in that same spot and caught 3 keepers before moving about 100 yards and catching 6 more keepers.

“They were very tight on the brush,” continued Pentecost. “We probably tied on 2 dozen or more minnow rigs the cover was so thick.”

After 9:30 am the team didn’t catch another crappie. By 11:30 am they were headed to the scales with weak fish.

“At 10:00 am we noticed our 2 big fish were turning up,” concluded Pentecost. “We tried 2 more spots and didn’t have any luck. We added an aerator to the live well and ice but it didn’t seem to help the fish so we got them to the weigh-in by 11:30. It was very tough fishing. I’m still amazed we pulled it off.”

Another local team took the second spot. Jason Lawless and Jeff Baker from Centre, AL weighed  7.27 pounds to earn the runner-up spot and a check for $500.

Lawless and Baker fished the Power House area shooting docks. They used pink jigs in various depths of water to boat more than 100 fish on the day.

Phillip Sinyard from Douglasville, GA and Randy Jenkins from Cartersville, GA teamed up to weigh 7.22 pounds and earn the third-place check of $400.

Sinyard and Jenkins fished live bait on a drop shot rig to catch about 25 crappie on the day. They were fishing in the old river channel ledges around the middle of the lake.

The fourth spot at Weiss went to James Causey from Pell City, AL and Tom Gant from Riverside AL. They teamed up to bring 7.12 pounds to the scales and earn a check for $300.

They chose the Yellow Creek and Little River area to shoot docks. They used clear jigs to catch 35-40 fish for the day. 

Epilogue

Darrell Van Vactor, CUSA Operations Manager, sent special thanks to Teresa Hulgan for all her help and for hosting the event through the Cherokee County Chamber.

“We always feel welcome coming to Weiss Lake,” said Van Vactor. “We always receive super hospitality at Bay Spring Lodge and Marina and all the businesses around Centre AL.”

Van Vactor extended his thank you to Jerry Baker with WEIS Radio. “Jerry did a fantastic job promoting the event as always and we appreciate his stations support very much.”

Finally, Van Vactor recognized Jerry Culberson with the Coosa River Crappie Club for the opportunity to work with their club in a combo event.

“Coosa River Crappie Club has been around since 1996 with a membership of over 60 avid anglers,” said Van Vactor. “It was great to work with them today.”

The CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 23 – 26, 2019 on Old Hickory Lake, Gallatin, TN. It features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.

National Sponsors

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, Xtreme Bait Systems, Cumberland Crappie Double Seats, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Church Tackle Co., Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Lake Cumberland CVB, Crappie Magnet, AWD Baits, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, WavePro, and Freaky Franks Tackle.

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.