Captain Fred Duncan's Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing Articles
Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing TackleMany times, I've been asked about the various tackle I use for Lake Allatoona striper fishing. As a Live Bait man, It always starts with a good, 7 ft, fiberglass rod with a soft tip, but with a good backbone. IMO, there aren't that many good fiberglass rods in commerce today, but the tried and true Shakespeare Ugly Stik is hard to beat. Fiberglass is softer and more durable than graphite rods. For Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing, it is the only one I recommend. Now I personally make my own. But this is very time consuming and takes years to learn how to do properly. For throwing lures, I like spinning rods. I use 6 1/2 ft traditional graphite Bass Fishing rods, most any good name brand will do. I have two of these on board and use them for casting to fish I see on topwater, or fish I see thick on the fishfinder. My favorite topwater plug is the Bass Pro XPS Slim Dog in texas shad color, which is almost identical to the more expensive Sammy topwater plug. I also like the Zara Super Spook Jr in any shad color. I use the bucktail w/fluke or just a 3/8 once jighead with a albino colored fluke for deep fish.
The Fishing Line I like is the Suffix Elite, clear, 15 lb test. I also like the Fluorocarbon coated mono,Cuda, hard to find but very good stuff. The Suffix Elite is new to me and is really good line. On my downrods, I use leader material of Stren Fluorocarbon, clear, in 14 lb and 12 lb test. I have found Stren, IMO, to be the best fluorocarbon on the market. Really good stuff and have landed many 30 lb + fish on the 14 lb. I use the 12 when the fish seems finicky and primarily for hybrids. But when I know there are big hawgs around, I put the 14 on quick. The hooks I use on Lake Allatoona are Gamakatsu and Owner. For downrods I like the Gamakatsu circle hook, 1/0. The circle hooks greatly reduce the number of gut hooked fish. If your in a hybrid frenzy and are having two or more rods going off at a time, you waste a lot of time tying on new hooks not to mention the potential harm you do to the fish. I also use the Gamakatsu octopus J hook, 1/0, as a multipurpose hook. When using the big gizzard shad for bait, I like the 2/0 and 3/0 Owner J hooks. I like the penetration I get with the Owner hooks. Big Allatoona Stripers have tough mouths and the owner hooks stop at nothing! Downrod weights should have at least one barrel swivel attached, preferably on both ends and should weigh 1 1/2 ounces. Tie your leader to the barrel swivel end. I make my own downrod weights but many trolling type inline weights can be utilized for downrod weights.
Reels for Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing... there are many, but for me, I have found the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500C to be the best. I like to replace the drag washers with a good upgrade of either teflon or silicone impregnated speed washers. You get a smooth drag that will not bind while fighting a Lake Allatoona Striped Bass. Once you replace the factory washers, it solves the biggest complaint most anglers have with this reel.
- Good Fishing! Cap'n Fred Duncan
Lake Allatoona Live Bait Tactics for Stripers
Freelines & Planer Boards
When I speak of live bait, I primarily refer to shad, both Threadfin and Gizzard. In the winter months, live trout and jumbo shiners are a close second best. How you present these baits for Allatoona striped bass depends on water temperature. In the cold winter months on Lake Allatoona, you want to present your baits high in the water column. You use the freeline, planerboard freeline, and the balloon rig. All three have no weight whatsoever, however, we sometimes use a weighted freeline which is a freeline with a medium size splitshot. A freeline is nothing but a hook with a bait, fished or pulled behind the boat at slow speed with your trolling motor. Planer boards act like outriggers and pull the freelines out. The distances of these presentations vary from 20 yrds (short) or up to 40-50 yds (long) in some cases. I usually use a combination of all four freeline presentation. I always keep at least one ballon out the center long and run 2 freelines just short of the balloon. Then off the side of my console, I throw out 2 planerboard freelines with the bait abround 20 ft behind the planer board. These rods are placed in complete vertical rodholders, keeping the line off the surface of the water (drag) which inhibits their pulling power. These will go out off the side, one starboard, one port and properly employed, give you a nice spread covering a large suface area. For the midrange water column, I'll dump off each side two weighted freelines short, to get any mid range fish. Striper fishing on Lake Allatoona in the winter months can be a challenge, but it can also be pure gold, for winter is the time that you stand to catch a big Lake Allatoona striped bass. Not to mention some of the larger hybrids.
The downrod probably accounts for more Lake allatoona striped bass and hybrid striped bass than any other method. The downrod is a way to fish a live bait in a pure vertical fashion. With good live bait, the downrod is extremely deadly. Rarely will you ever need to fish a downrod at any other depth than 24 ft. There are times in mid summer where you have to pull them up for the shad to survive better, in order to stay in better oxygen, but almost always, 24 ft is a safe bet. For starters, I use a 6 foot leader and a 1/0 Gamakatsu circle hook. A good downrod weight will weigh at least 1 once and should weigh around 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 once. Once again, use the trolling motor and move very slow. Lake allatoona striper fishing is not rocket science. The striper and hybrid love the shad and most all other live bait if in good condition. Good horizontal rod holders are a must for this fishing. I keep my reels engaged with a medium to light drag. When the fish hits, they basically hook themselves. I look for good points, humps and flats during the warmer months. It is during the summer that the downrod reigns supreme and catches the most fish. Lake Allatoona fishing is a challenge. Live bait fishing will catch you more fish on allatoona. Look for more of my articles to follow as I have barely scratched the surface.
- Good Fishing! Cap'n Fred Duncan
Catching and Care of Live Bait
Gizzard Shad and Threadfin Shad on Lake Allatoona
No other specific aspect of Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing is treated with so much secrecy than this one. I will cover some of the basics and leave the rest to the hard work, that will follow anyone that heads down this road. Gizzard shad and threadfin shad are abundant in Lake Allatoona. Lake Allatoona is a very fertile lake. At times, the threadfin shad populations literally explode to numbers better left to a quantum physicist! Basically, on Lake Allatoona, we have two types of shad covered in this web site. The gizzard shad on Lake Allatoona lives most abundantly in places where the water runoff from rains flow habitually into Lake Allatoona, month in, month out. They are not, for the most part, deep, open water fish. But prefer the heavily silted creeks and backwaters of Lake Allatoona. They are usually caught by Lake Allatoona Striper fishermen in 10 ft of water or less. Cast nets of varying sizes are used to catch shad on Lake Allatoona. I prefer myself a 9 ft. Many throws usually have to be made to fill a good size bait tank. Thats why I do not throw a bigger, heavier net. In the end, whatever size cast net a person can throw effectively is the best way to go. Its an individual choice. However, it is true that the bigger the net, the more effective. But if a person throws a 12 ft, and can only get that net to open and capture 7 ft, then why kill yourself. Bigger is not always better. Perfect envelopement is the goal. Attain that with whatever size you can master.
Threadfin shad are a more numerous and smaller shad that inhabits the open lake. Often found in giant schools or slicks, when found concentrated, they are a Lake Allatoona Striper Guides best friend. Usually found on your fishfinder, you throw the net and let it sink, sometimes to 35 ft. Threadfin are good to use in winter on Lake Allatoona. They are the primary forage for both Hybrid Striped Bass and the regular Striped Bass. Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing done well, includes these two types of baitfish. Hybrid Striped Bass on Lake Allatoona feed almost exclusively on threadfin. Same thing for Allatoona Stripers.
Once caught, you need a good bait tank to keep these delicate baitfish in. Most Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing Guides use a good quality bait tank that areates the water well. On Lake Allatoona, you'll find most striper fisherman use at least a 20 gallon and 30 gallon shad tank.. Shad are not long term investments! Once in captivity, you need to use them rather quickly. Most Lake Allatoona Fishing Guides also add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of rock salt to the water in their bait tanks. This will help prolong their shelf life. In summer, cool the water down on hot days with ice. One bag usually does it. Just keep the water cool to the touch, no more...Live shad are considered the holy grail of Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing.
Nothing but hard work will suffice to their capture, treatment and employment. As a Lake Allatoona Striper Fishing Guide, most of my time is consumed by the pursuit of these baitfish. Hybrid Striped Bass and regular Striped Bass feed almost exclusively on shad. Lake Allatoona Fishing is less tough with them, than without them.
- Good Fishing! Cap'n Fred Duncan
Lake Allatoona Fishing Guides