Obviously nobody knows where the next state record largemouth will be caught. Heck, the record may never be broken at all! But if I had to take a guess, here are 10 public bodies of water where I could see it happening.
- AEP Recreation Lands – The AEP ponds are numerous and remote. They are full of deep clear water, vegetation and wood. A 10lber was taken from an AEP pond a couple of weeks ago, and I have caught and seen my fair share of 6lbers from these lightly-pressured lakes. I am also aware of a verified 8.4lber that was taken several years ago. Here is a picture of a 6lber taken from AEP last November…not even half the weight of the record.
- Rocky Fork Lake (1,992 acres) – Rocky Fork is an awesome lake, with deep water and great weeds. 7 and 8lbers have been taken during Spring tournaments on this lake. A lot of tournament guys think this is one of the best big-bass fisheries in Ohio.
- Lake Logan (333 acres) – Lake Logan has a lot going for it. Tons of weeds and wood cover, and it is located in the southern part of the state. I have seen pictures of 18 pound tournament bags from this lake.
- Clear Fork Reservoir (971 acres) – I’ve already given my thoughts on Clear Fork in previous blogs. This place is awesome. The lake has several types of weeds, clear water, great offshore structure, and several decent-sized creeks running into it. For Spring tournaments on Clear Fork, it often takes a 6lber to win the big bass pot. A good friend of mine lost a fish that was in the 8lb range two years ago. It was so big he thought it was a musky and didn’t play it out properly!
- Ross Lake (127 acres) – Although I’ve never fished this lake, I have heard good things. I’ve also heard a story of a 13.5lb bass caught 5 years ago in a cast-net by a guy who was cast-netting for shad. The fish was allegedly weighed and then released unharmed. Although the story was not verified, it came from a guy who had no reason to lie. Take it for what it’s worth!
- Deer Creek Reservoir (314 acres) – This is another lake that I have never fished. In fact, the guys who fish this lake stay pretty tight-lipped about it…and for good reason! I’ve seen tournament results where a 20lb bag didn’t win the tournament. So clearly the lake has big fish genetics.
- Dow Lake (Stroud’s Run) (171 acres) – Stroud’s Run is an incredible lake for its size. 5 and 6 pounders are fairly common. My largest from this lake went just under 5 pounds, but the lake has all of the right ingredients. Weeds, wood, and a southern location.
- Wolf Run Lake (201 acres) – A 10lber was weighed during a club tournament several years ago on Wolf Run. I also know a guy who bass fishes more than anyone I know, and he thinks that this is the lake where the next true-giant could be caught.
- Tycoon Lake (183 acres) – Tycoon Lake has a history of pumping out giants…5’s and 6’s are taken every Spring, with some regularity. This is another lake that is located in the southern part of Ohio. From what I’ve heard, there are some absolute giants in the lake. The downside may be that the lake has received a lot of pressure over the past few years.
- Burr Oak Lake (632 acres) – Burr Oak may be the best all-around big-bass fishery in Ohio. The lake has deep water, good weeds, and awesome wood cover. This is another lake where 18 pound bags are not uncommon in the Spring. Believe it or not, bass of the size pictured are fairly common from Burr Oak.
Lakes that just missed the list include Lake Erie, Alum Creek Reservoir and Hoover Reservoir.
My guess is that the next Ohio state record largemouth will be taken in March, April, May or November. It will probably be taken on a day when the weather is really nasty…rain, snow, wind and cloud cover will be part of the equation…the giants love it when the weather is wicked. If I had to guess, the fish will probably be taken working a jig and pig through heavy wood or on a spinnerbait. My hope is that the person who catches it has put their time in, and truly appreciates the magnitude of their accomplishment. After all, it would be the fish of all our lifetimes.