Picking Pockets For Allatoona April Bass

Forget the high-tech strategies. April on Lake Allatoona is all about fun fishing and lots of catching.

Daryl Kirby | April 3, 2005

A pick-pocket artist is a master of a disreputable craft. There’s nothing disreputable about catching bass, but when it’s this easy it should dang near be illegal. The bass fishing on Lake Allatoona this month is great because the fish are up shallow and feeding heavily, and to catch them an angler doesn’t have to be an artist or master of this often high-tech game of bass angling.

April, more so than any other month, is when the average fisherman or even a green-gilled beginner can go to Allatoona and catch good numbers of bass and even the occasional line-singer.

Craig Miller of Canton, an Allatoona regular, bass-club angler, and employee of the Dugout, Allatoona’s go-to tackle and bait store, deals with a lot of beginning anglers while behind the counter at the Dugout.

“What I really like about this time of year is that even someone who doesn’t know a whole lot, I can show them a few things that are easy to fish and will catch spotted bass and largemouths this month,” Craig said.

His top choice for April bass fishing on Allatoona is a Zoom Trick Worm, and Craig said just about any shoreline — from bluff walls to white-rock points to the backs of the pockets —will likely be holding some April bass that are more than willing to eat a Trick Worm.

If you want to get bit in April, throw a Trick Worm in the blowdowns and wood trash that can be found in the backs of most of the pockets from one end of Allatoona to the other. Watching a bass eat a Trick Worm is an exciting way to catch them.

Craig and I fished Allatoona on Friday, March 18, putting in at Galts Ferry. The first two hours of daylight it was 35 degrees and too foggy for a run up the lake, so we poked around the rip-rap near the Galts Ferry ramp, then motored across to the Atlanta Yacht Club creek, aka Sailboat Cove, aka Goldmine.

Craig stuck with a crankbait most of the morning, either a Bomber Flat A or a medium-running Mimic crankbait, a handmade wooden plug that is a hot seller at the Dugout right now. Craig quickly caught a 2 1/2-lb. spotted bass while bringing the Mimic along the side of a boat dock.

The water color had an early-spring stain, and Craig was throwing a firetiger-colored crankbait.

“I really like a firetiger this time of year, and I’ll sometimes throw a red crankbait or a solid chartreuse,” he said. “Allatoona tends to a be good cold-water lake, but the fish are real scattered. A crankbait is great because you can cover a lot of water and pick up those aggressive fish. They’ll be scattered on those nothing-looking banks and points, and a crankbait lets you fish fast. That’s a real basic pattern on this lake when the water’s in the high 40s and low 50s — fish the crankbaits and cover lots of water, and then also throw a jig on any wood cover along the banks.”

Craig likes a Conquest jig, and he usually throws a black and blue jig on Allatoona, or sometimes a straight brown jig, either tipped with a green pumpkin or a flipping blue Zoom Super Chunk Jr.

The water temperature that morning started out at 48 degrees — remember it was March 18! The lakes have been slow to warm this spring, but in past years when it’s been cold like this and then there’s a quick warm-up, the April fishing is fantastic as lots of bass move up at the same time.

As the sun burned through the fog, we found water temperatures in the 51- to 53-degree range, and Craig even coaxed a bite on a slow-rolled spinnerbait later in the day. A couple of other bass hit a jig ‘n pig around wood cover. The lake is down a couple of feet, and you can find Christmas trees and little brushpiles on some of the flats and points. Take the time to hit this wood structure with a jig.

Allatoona typically has a good spinnerbait bite in the spring when the water temperature hits about 53 degrees and there’s a decent stain to the water. A 3/8-oz. double willowleaf works well when slow-rolled right on the bottom, especially on pea-gravel secondary points. Also fish the blade through any brush and other wood.

By the second weekend in April, expect the water temperatures at Allatoona to have warmed into the 60s, and that means you’ll start to find a mix of prespawn, spawn, and even postspawn bass, especially spotted bass, which tend to spawn earlier than largemouths. It’s time for Craig’s primary April pattern, the Trick Worm.

“For the first hour or so, until the light gets up where you can sight fish the Trick Worm, I’ll start the first thing in the morning in April throwing a spinnerbait or a Pointer Minnow on the bluff walls,” Craig said. “I like the main-lake bluff walls from Galts up to Victoria. I know in April some people don’t think of a bluff wall as a place to find bass, but I have a lot of confidence in that. I can get a few good fish early. I think a lot of spotted bass spawn on stuff like that. Or they’re just up there on those steep banks feeding first thing in the morning.”

What’s for breakfast? We didn’t have to guess what this Allatoona spotted bass had been eating. A medium-running Mimic crankbait in a firetiger color caught the bass.

Craig likes a double willowleaf Booyah spinnerbait, either 3/8- or 1/2-oz. “A Booyah is cheap, and it’s good,” he said.

And don’t ignore the chance to tempt a big spot with a topwater plug.

“Topwater starts to become a factor, and more and more so as the month goes on,” Craig said. “On those bluff walls, usually one guy throws the spinnerbait or jerkbait, and the other guy will throw a topwater like a Sammy or Pop-R. By the end of the month, you’ll see a lot of really good spotted bass caught on topwater.”

Craig likes to fish a Trick Worm where he can see it, which is why he waits until the sun gets up.

“I usually keep it in sight. Now if a fish rolls on it or just peeks up there at it, a lot of times there will be a bed there, especially if it’s a largemouth. A female largemouth is bad about coming up and following a Trick Worm. If I see a bed, I might try to catch the bass on the Trick Worm, or sometimes I’ll try a white jig or a white five-inch lizard. Mainly I just want something I can see.”

The first part of the month, Craig prefers a bubblegum Trick Worm. As the month progresses, he’ll start to fish a white Trick Worm.

“Later in the month I want something that looks more natural, more like what the bass are feeding on,” he said. “When it’s dark or cloudy, I fish a black one. They’ll eat a black one up on an overcast day.”

Craig rigs the Trick Worm Texas-style on a 3/0 Gamakatsu extra-wide-gap hook. He fishes it on a spinning outfit with 8-lb. P-Line.

Craig said that a Carolina-rig fished on the points and secondary points will produce plenty of spotted bass in April, but it’s often overlooked by anglers who are fishing floating worms and topwater. For his Carolina-rig on Allatoona, Craig likes to use a three-inch Yum Wooly Hawgtail in the Carolina pumpkin/chartreuse color.

“P-Line is pretty strong, and the smaller line makes a difference on the fall of the bait, and it doesn’t look like rope. I’ve always felt 8- or 10-lb. line gets a lot more bites. Now, I wouldn’t use 8-lb. if it wasn’t P-Line.”

Where to fish a Trick Worm? Just about anywhere. The bass could be along any shoreline from main-lake, flat clay banks to the very backs of the pockets. The spotted bass seem to be less picky this time of year, while if you want largemouths you’ll need to concentrate more in the pockets.

“When you fish a pocket, stay way out and make a real long cast,” Craig said. “They’ll spook easy.

“Another thing I did last year was throw a Senko a lot. It’s heavier than a Trick Worm, so you can throw it far, and it sinks more so you just kind of hop it. Fish it in the same places you’re fishing the Trick Worm.”

There’s one other pattern that Craig said catches good numbers of fish in April, and it’s one that seems to get overlooked this time of year when all the “fun” baits like floating worms and topwater are producing.

“Not many people seem to fish a Carolina-rig in April, but you can catch a lot of 2- to 3-lb. spotted bass on them this month. It’s a limit getter. You can catch a lot of fish. Concentrate on the points or the little secondary points. As the month goes on, the fish may move out a little, but you can catch them for two months like this, and anytime during the day.”

On the Carolina-rig, Craig uses the standard, a green pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm. He also loves a Yum Wooly Hawgtail, which is a three-inch grub with a split curly tail. Craig said the key for Allatoona spots is a chartreuse tail.

The quick warm-up last week got the springtime bass action up to speed in a hurry. If you head to Allatoona right now, expect plenty of bass to already be up on the banks. And they could be on the bluff walls, nothing-looking shorelines, white-rock points, and of course in the pockets. For Allatoona bass, April is pocket-picking time, in more ways than one.

For the latest updates on Allatoona fishing, or to get the hot Allatoona lures that are hard to find, call Craig and the guys at the Dugout at (770) 428-7406.

Craig said that a Carolina-rig fished on the points and secondary points will produce plenty of spotted bass in April, but it’s often overlooked by anglers who are fishing floating worms and topwater.

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