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
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