Summer Bass On Lake Allatoona

David Millsaps has won it all on Allatoona, from the pot tournaments to the Moby. Here he marks your map for nighttime fishing.

Ronnie Garrison | August 7, 2002

Pansy and David Millsaps didn’t pull any punches when marking our Map-of-the-Month. Some of these holes are where they’ve earned some big tournament checks, including the spot where they caught their first-place sack in the Moby tournament last year.

Although Allatoona can be a very tough lake, it can also come alive late on an August afternoon. It can be tough to catch fish on Allatoona, but bass are feeding if you know where to go and what to use. Spend some time on the lake and you can have a decent catch for this time of year, especially if you use the advice and tactics of David Millsaps.

Located in the Atlanta suburbs, Allatoona gets tremendous pleasure-boat traffic. It can be a miserable lake to fish even on weekdays because of the skidoos and runabouts. During the winter, fall and early spring, Allatoona is an excellent spotted-bass lake, but during the summer you have to adapt to the crowds to catch bass.

Fishing at night is a good way to get away from the traffic. The fish respond by feeding, and it is a lot more peaceful for you, too. There are three night tournaments each week. You can fish one of them if you want to try it, but fishing all night rather than the 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. time frame of the tournaments will give you a better chance to catch fish.

The early part of July was extremely tough on Allatoona. Many night tournaments were being won with six or seven pounds of fish. Even the spots seemed to turn off for about three weeks. The good news is they should be set up on their hot-weather holes now and easier to catch.

There is a good population of largemouths on Allatoona that many people ignore. They are not as plentiful as spotted bass, but if you know where to fish for them, you can often get a solid kicker for your bag.

Anyone familiar with the tournament trails will recognize the name David Millsaps. On Allatoona, someone with the last name of Millsaps is usually in the “I’m waiting on a check” line after a bass tournament. David qualified through the Guys and Dolls trail for the Ranger Cup Tournament this past spring. He placed second on the no-boater side in that tournament which was the highest paying bass tournament even held. David has been fishing all his life with his brothers and stepfather.

David won the Moby tournament at Allatoona last year with a catch weighing 15.34 pounds, beating out all the other teams in a 250-boat field.

I met David at 5 p.m. the second Sunday in July, and he showed me the patterns he likes for August bass at Allatoona. He also showed me 10 spots they fish. David said it was fine to mark them on a map, since there were no secret holes on the lake. Allatoona is too small and too well-fished for that!

Although fishing had been extremely tough, the David and his wife Pansy managed to land nine bass in the four hours I was with them. They had five keepers that would have weighed between 7 and 8 pounds, enough to win a lot of the night tournaments during that time. The best three fish hit the last half hour we fished, and we were off the lake just after 9:30 p.m., so they may have caught more if we had stayed longer.

David likes to start fishing for largemouths before dark in some creeks and areas with no-wake zones. That allows him to fish without too much hassle from pleasure boaters, and he can often catch a kicker fish. After about 7 p.m. the boat traffic dies, and they head out to the spotted-bass holes to try to finish out a limit.

Largemouths will hit in shallow water even this time of year at Allatoona. David likes the backs of the creeks and says Little River above the bridge at Little River Marina is largemouth territory. He tries to find a ditch running into the creek, and he fishes the ditch and any nearby point.

A jig ’n pig is the bait David counts on for fishing at Allatoona this time of year. He ties a 1/8-oz. Strike King Bitsy Bug on 15-lb. Big Game line and tips it with an FLW trailer made by Mann’s.

The jig is green pumpkin and the trailer is pumpkinseed. That is his best bait, and he backs it up with a Norman’s crankbait.

Pansy fishes a Zoom U-Tail in green pumpkin on a Texas- or Carolina-rig on 15-lb. Big Game line. She likes to catch numbers of fish and this works for lots of bites. She often catches more bass than David and helps fill the limit. When they have a limit, she will switch to a Zoom Old Monster worm to try for bigger bass.

After the boat traffic dies, they head out on the main lake below the bridge to try to catch spots. They fish the same baits, but David will put on a smaller Zoom Chunk, and they look for deeper points. The ditches and channels are still important for spotted bass. David says the pattern is real simple, find a place where a channel or ditch hits a point, and fish it thoroughly.

The following 10 spots are places David catches bass in August. He says by the time you read this article, these places will be even better than they were in mid July when they were shown to me.

1. N 34 08.796 W 84 34.565 — The back of Rose Creek is one of David’s best big-fish holes. He likes to start here since it is a no-wake area, and he can fish it in peace. It also produces big largemouths for David. With the water down a couple of feet, you can see the tops of brushpiles to fish.

Start fishing the right bank past the no-wake buoys going in. This bank has some brush on it and will be shady in the late afternoon. Keep your boat a long cast out from the bank and work your jig along the bottom, feeling for brush if you can not see any. Fish it slowly and carefully.

There is a channel running back into this creek that is about 15-feet deep with five-foot flats on both sides. The water will be a green color from the plankton, since there is a sewage treatment plant up Rose Creek. This color to the water helps, and it is rich in nutrients so it draws baitfish.

2. N 34 09.108 W 84 34.414 — The upstream point of Rose Creek is a good place to check while you are in this area. David told me this is where Greg Rymer caught the lake-record 16-lb., 9-oz. bass in 1982. It is a rocky point that runs out to the old river channel, and the Rose Creek channel swings in by it.

David starts on the creek side of the point and fishes his jig on the rocks while Pansy fishes her worm. He will work around the end of the point to where it turns into clay then go back around with the crankbait to check for fish that might prefer the faster-moving plug.

3. N 34 09.661 W 84 33.420 —Run up Little River and into the mouth of Blankets Creek. A small pocket on your left has a road bed crossing it, and David says this is one of their best holes for numbers of bass. He has seldom caught a 3-pounder here, but it is usually good for some small, keeper-sized largemouths. They caught four fish here in July, but only two of them were keepers.

Start on the right side of the pocket where the road bed enters the water. It is clay and rock, and it runs out from the bank and drops off. Stay a long cast off the bank and work the rocks on the road. It crosses the cove and comes out on the other side, and David fishes that side, too, but the right side going in is his best place.

4. N 34 09.952 W 84 34.914 — We headed out to the main lake to try for spotted bass after fishing those three largemouth holes. The shoal marker just past the small creek that runs in right by Little River Marina is a good spot. David and his brother Jimmy won 12 tournaments in a row here a few years ago.

Sit in the middle of the creek channel in about 12 feet of water even with the shoal marker and cast up into the creek. The edge of the channel has stumps on it where the channel hits the point. This is a good place to run a deep-diving crankbait like a DD22 along the drop after fishing it with jigs and worms. This spot is a good example of the kinds of places David and Pansy look for. The channel runs out right by the shallow point and creates a good drop for the bass. David says this simple structure of a ditch hitting a point is what he likes to find.

5. N 34 11.606 W 84 34.449 — David’s next stop is the area just above Sweetwater Campground. There is a ditch that runs in near the bank here, and lots of driftwood washes in and hangs on the bottom, attracting bass. The shoreline is sandy and there is an osprey nest platform on a pole on the bank.

Start with your boat out in 20 feet of water straight out from the nest platform, and cast toward the pole. Work your jig and worm down the slope while feeling for any kind of wood cover. When you hit cover, fish it hard. There should be fish on it. This cover changes and moves with the currents and water-level fluctuations, but there is almost always some here.

“There is nothing like an old log jam,” David said.

Take some time here checking out the drop and working to find the wood. It should pay off.

6. N 34 12.255 W 84 34.024 —Upstream of the Cherokee County Park boat ramp is a steep, rocky bank on the right side going up. David likes to sit out in 20 feet of water and cast to the bank, working the jig and worm down this rocky drop. You have to work the bait slowly, since it drops off so fast.

Start on the clay point with rocks on the upstream side and fish it. There is a pocket just upstream of this point that is full of logs and washed-in trash that also holds fish. The next point above the pocket is clay changing to rock as you go upstream. Work this bank all the way up to the pocket with the 46E channel marker on the bank.

“Bass will pull in here right on the bank to feed at night,” David told me.

Keep your boat out where you can cast right on the edge of the water then work your bait slowly down the drop. Be sure to cast into a few inches of water on every cast to get the ones that have moved in very shallow.

7. N 34 09.494 W 84 36.653 —Time for a run down the lake to the “S” turns just above Victoria Landing. A rocky point with dead pines on it is on the upstream side of a small creek. It has some boat docks to its left and a red-and-white sign on the bank with the numbers 153 and 154 on it. The rocky point the sign is on runs out parallel to the small creek and then drops off. David says it is a place he can usually count on catching a bass.

Fish the point thoroughly, working across it from both sides. Then look to your left while facing the point. There is a ditch running out between two boat docks. It is worth your time to fish that ditch before leaving this spot.

8. N 34 08.693 W 84 38.563 —Head downstream to where the 19E channel marker sits on a rocky point and go into the cove just downstream of the point. As you enter the cove you will see a clay point on your right and a narrow point on your left with small rocks and a big bush on it. Fish both of these points, casting up onto them and working your bait back out.

The narrow point is worth a few casts where it runs out deep. It has a white sign on it with “61-62” in red. You can also work into the creek fishing the steep bank and blowdowns on it that runs back from this point.

9. (GPS not available) — The bank and rocky areas from the cove you just fished up to the 19E channel marker can be good. David caught two spots off this area when we fished, including the biggest one of the night. Both hit crankbaits right at 9:00 p.m., but he said this bank was an excellent place to fish with jigs and worms, too.

Start at the mouth of the cove in hole No. 8 and fish up to the point at the 19E channel marker. David said the point at the channel marker was one of his son Cody’s favorite places. Stay well out from the bank and fish it with jigs, worms and crankbaits.

10. N 34 07.918 W 84 38.266 —Across the lake the Harbor Town Marina breakwater runs in on a steep rocky bank on the downstream side of the marina. David said this was one of the best places at night for big spots on the lake. Pansy caught the second biggest fish of the night here just before we quit at 9:30 p.m. Start where the tire breakwater hits the point and fish all around it. Work down the bank and fish the first few docks, too. Crankbaits, worms and jigs will all catch fish in this spot, and it is worth spending some time fishing back and forth since the fish hold out in deeper water but run in to feed after dark.

These 10 spots give you a good idea of the kinds of places David and Pansy catch their tournament-winning fish. Check them out and then look for similar spots. Remember the key, a ditch hitting a point. There are many other places like these, and along with the Millsaps plan, they can turn Allatoona from a Dead Sea into a good place to catch spots and largemouths in August.

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