10 January Holes For Allatoona Spotted Bass

Jody Samples marks your map for deep-water spotted bass.

Ronnie Garrison | January 15, 2005

Spotted bass are known for being aggressive, and that is true even during the cold, winter days of January. This month, Jody Samples fishes deep for Lake Allatoona’s plentiful spotted bass.

With the increased possibility of bad weather this time of year, it is great to have a lake almost in your back yard for a quick, cold-weather trip. It is even better if that lake is full of spotted bass willing to hit in the winter. Atlanta fishermen are lucky to have just that kind of lake in Allatoona.

Allatoona is close for many metro-area fishermen, and the spots in this lake usually bite better than largemouths in the winter. The lake is almost unfishable during warm weather because of boat traffic, but this time of year fishermen don’t have to dodge skidoos and rock with offshore yachts. We can just fish — and catch bass.

With 12,010 acres to fish in two major arms, an angler can find a lot of varied cover and structure. Most points and coves have some wood cover, either man-made or fallen trees. The winter drawdown pulls water from most shallow cover, but bluffs and deep coves are everywhere on Allatoona.

The drawdown affects fishermen more than it does the bass. It is disconcerting to pull up at a ramp and see it extend what looks like a football field’s length to the water. You have to be careful backing that far. The lake was already down about 15 feet the middle of last month, and it will drop farther, but the bass still bite.

Jody Samples lives a few minutes from the Kellogg Creek ramp on Allatoona, a ramp that extends to deep water and is usable all winter. And he uses it. Jody works at night at Lockheed, and that allows him to fish most days. He is usually on the lake up to five days a week.

Although only 28 years old, Jody says he has been bass fishing for about 20 years with his father and friends. He got started tournament fishing a few years ago and joined the Cumming Bass Club.

Wins in several pot tournaments have been highlights for Jody, and consistently finishing in the top 10 is something he is proud of. Jody has caught some big Allatoona spots — in one Saturday tournament he weighed in a 5-4 and a 6-2.

Jody has a simple pattern for spots in January — fish deep. He says he often catches spots out of more than 40 feet of water this time of year, so he looks for bluff banks that drop off fast. A rock bottom is just about as critical, and wood cover on it helps a lot.

To fish that deep, Jody uses tools that are appropriate. A jig ’n pig, jighead worm and a Texas-rigged worm are his staples, and he will add a drop-shot worm at times. He likes a 3/8- to 1/2-oz. Terminator jig tipped with half a Zoom Baby Brush Hog. A black or brown jig tipped with a green pumpkin Baby Brush Hog is best, and he also likes to dip the tails in chartreuse dye.

For worms, Jody sticks with the green pumpkin color most of the time, sometimes using the one with green glitter. He likes a Zoom Finesse or Trick Worm for Texas rigs, jigheads and drop-shot rigging. A Gamakatsu 1/4-oz. ball jig is his choice for the jighead worm. He fishes the jig and Texas rig on 10- or 12-lb. Trilene Big Game line and drops down to 8-lb. Big Game for his drop-shot rig.

Shad in an area helps make it more productive, but there is often a major shad die-off at Allatoona. Threadfin shad don’t survive well in cold water, and fishing gets tough when large numbers of them die in January. But the bass still have to eat, and you can catch them even during a major shad die-off.

Jody took me fishing the second week in December to show me the following 10 spots. Bass were on several of them, and we caught six keepers in about five hours that morning. The bass were down about 20 feet then and will be even deeper now. Check out these areas for an idea of the kinds of places Jody catches Allatoona winter bass.

No. 1: N 34º 10.101 – W 84º 42.394 — The big, main-lake point that makes up Red Top Mountain State Park right at the dam has several good spots on it. Jody’s favorite is the point at channel marker 4E, a point covered with chunk rock. It is on some of the deepest water in the lake.

Jody starts at the point just downstream of the channel marker and fishes upstream past the old channel-marker pole. He keeps his boat out a good cast from the bank and fishes from the bank out to 45-feet deep. Cast your jig or worm up near the bank, and let it fall to the bottom. Fish it very slowly down the slope until it is almost under the boat.

Shake your bait in place, but don’t move it across the bottom much. Jody says the bass often take a while to hit this time of year, so give them a good look at the bait you are fishing.

No. 2: N 34º 08.813 – W 84º 41.316 — The creek at Allatoona Yacht Club has some good points on the left as you enter the creek. Jody likes to idle past the mouth of the first small creek on the left to the next point and start fishing there. He will fish the next couple of points going into the creek.

These points drop off fast, and your boat will be sitting in 40 feet of water a short cast off the points. Cast up toward the bank, and work back out to directly under the boat. Try to note where you get bites. Fish tend to be at the same depth on a hole — and from hole to hole, too. If you consistently get bit at 30 feet, concentrate your fishing around that depth.

I missed two bites here — I have a hard time with spots sometimes — but I  caught a largemouth. Jody got a couple of fish here, including our biggest fish of the day, a 2-lb. plus spot. We fished into the creek, working the points as well as the mouths of the pockets.

No. 3: N 34º 08.891 – W 84º 41.187 — The upstream breakwater at Allatoona Yacht Club is another good place to fish. Jody will work it from the bank out to where the breakwater is sitting over 50 feet of water. Fish all along the breakwater, casting to it like it was the bank, but letting your bait fall vertically from it. Twitch your bait in one place when it hits the bottom. You should be fishing almost vertically here. Jody likes the jighead worm best on this spot.

No. 4: N 34º 08.512 – W 84º 40.822 — Head up the river to just downstream of marker 12E. There will be some big houses on the bank here, and you want to start fishing at the first dock going upstream. It is on the point of a small cove that has six docks around it. Fish them all.

A couple of the docks have brush under them, and all are on steep, rocky banks. The water in the cove was 60-feet deep when we were there. Cast up around the docks, and let your bait sink to the bottom. Probe for brush, and work your bait slowly on the bottom. The bass will use the shade of the dock as cover on bright days, too.

No. 5: N 34º 08.296 – W 84º 40.497 — This spot is an excellent winter hole. Start at the point in front of channel marker 12E, and fish upstream to the point with the old pole and 12E marker on it. You can just barely make out the 12E on this pole sign.

There is brush in the pocket between the two points and a huge brushpile on the upstream point with the old marker. Jody likes to swim his jig over this brush since it is so thick. He tries to attract the bass up and out of the brush and get them to hit. Fish the bottom on the points like the other spots, but concentrate on the brushpiles.

No. 6: N 34º 09.157 – W 84º 39.970 — Go to the mouth of Illinois Creek, and fish the upstream point. The bottom here is rock with sand on it. Jody starts out on the point just inside the mouth of the creek and works out and up the main point, not into the creek itself. When you start fishing, you should be facing the Illinois Creek sign.

There is a brushpile that was just starting to show here when we fished it, and there are more brushpiles out in deeper water. Fish all around this point, and concentrate on the brushpiles. Jody said that lots of keeper-sized spots live on this point.

No. 7: N 34º 08.773 – W 84º 39.766 — Straight across the river there is a steep, rock-bluff bank from the point running a long way upstream. Jody likes to start on this point just upstream of the second small cut in the bank, and he fishes upstream to the round, sandy and rocky point at the next cove. The bank flattens out some near the point and does not drop off as fast, and there are brushpiles on the point.

If the wind is blowing upstream, this is a good spot to let it move you along and keep your bait on the bottom under the boat. If you have caught fish at a consistent depth, put your boat over that depth and cast into the wind. Let your bait sink to the bottom and let the wind move you along slowly, using your trolling motor to keep you over the right depth.

This wind drift will keep your bait in the best depth of water longer than casting and retrieving it will, and you can control your depth better. This works on many of the places where the bank is fairly straight if the wind is blowing up or down it, rather than into the bank.

No. 8: N 34º 07.634 – W 84º 37.815 — Start fishing at channel marker 20E just downstream of the mouth of Kellogg Creek. Fish upstream all the way to the point at the mouth of the creek. The bluff bank at the channel marker gradually flattens out toward the point, and the point has more sand on it. There are some big rocks on this point.

Work it like the others, probing different depths until the fish let you know where they are holding. You may be able to drift this bank with the wind, or use your trolling motor to slowly move along as you fish your bait on the bottom almost directly under the boat.

No. 9: N 34º 07.972 – W 84º 37.349 — The upstream point at the mouth of Kellogg Creek is another good spot. You will see a steep red-clay bluff that drops straight down, then flattens and changes to sand and rock toward the water. Channel marker 22E is out on the end of this point.

Jody likes to start in the middle of the inside part of the point and fish out and around it. There is a lot of pea gravel here as well as sand and some big rocks. Fish all the way around the point to the upstream side going up the river.

No. 10: N 34º 08.271 – W 84º 36.976 — Go upstream past the coves on your right to the round rip-rap point on your right. There are two docks on it, both with benches around the upper level. The one on the downstream side of the point is newer and brown and the next dock upstream has weathered to a gray color. The rock all around this point is also gray.

Start at the downstream dock and fish up the point past the next dock to the small dock up on the bank. It was already out of the water when we were there. Fish slowly and carefully, this is the spot where Jody landed the two big spots, the 5-4 and the 6-2, and those giant spots hit on almost back-to-back casts.

Fish all around the docks, but also fish the bottom between the docks. Remember to keep your bait on the bottom, and work it slowly. If you hit any kind of cover, slow down even more and shake your bait right in the bass’s face. It may take some time to get them to hit in the cold water.

Fishing very slowly is a key to Jody’s success. He seems to take forever to get a bait back to the boat, spending a lot of time shaking his rod tip to make the bait twitch in one place. It is impossible to fish too slowly this time of year.

These are just a few of many similar spots on Allatoona that hold bass this month. As you ride between them, you will see others that look similar, and they probably hold bass, too. Fish these, get a feel for where the bass are holding that day, and you should be able to locate many more similar spots all over the lake.

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