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This past weekend I was lucky enough to fly fish at The Wilds, outside of Zanesville. (http://www.madriveroutfitters.com/TheWilds.htm) We got in six 4-hour fishing sessions from Friday noon to Sunday noon. The ‘gill were on beds and the Bass were in pre-spawn. The ‘gills were hitting stuff twice the size of their mouths. Next to the dock at the lodge was a set of over 20 beds. I watched a guy catch between 40 & 45 inches of Bluegill in 5 casts. I once again set my PB for ‘gills – it was 9.5” long x 6” deep x 2.5” thick! I got it on my 3-wt.

Over the weekend I am guessing that I caught close to 170 Bass and over 80 ‘gill. The majority of Bass were in the 12 to 15 inch range with not a lot of fish under 12. Sunday morning I hooked and lost a 4+ and other than Saturday afternoon, I landed 10-12 fish in the 2 to 2.5 range. Then came Saturday afternoon.

I have been waiting all of my fishing life to hit a body of water right at the peak of Largemouth pre-spawn and it finally happened. The body of water was a large pond, and 3 of us were fishing it, 2 guys in tubes and George the guide paddling me in a canoe. I had my 5-wt. with a tippet of 2x fluro and tied on one of my Wilds Hammers. That’s a sub-surface fly with a strip of Rabbit Zonker as a tail (chartreuse) and another strip wrapped around the shank (white). It undulated beautifully and was very easy to see in the gin clear water. As we started around the first shore I caught a couple of 14-15” Bass and was having a great time with my 5-wt. Around the edge was a collection of floating leaves and weeds forming an overhang of shade about a foot wide. I dropped the fly 2” from this edging at one spot and made 3 strips – the submarine left the dock at that point. This big shadow came screaming from under the mat and the white fly just disappeared into darkness. I set the hook and it was on! It bulldogged me for awhile and made one jump. I was able to get it on the reel and had an incredible fight. George estimated it between 5.5 and 6, making it the biggest Largemouth I have ever caught. George stopped counting at 20 Bass and we hadn’t made it around the lake once. I estimate that I landed between 40 and 50 Bass. I saw every strike and even started pulling the fly away from smaller fish. Sometimes there would be 5+ fish following the fly. I hooked 7 and landed 6 fish over 3.5 lbs. On some of the big fish I literally stopped the fly in front of their noses and watched them open and close their maws.
The weather was great, the company was great, and the fishing was superb. What else is there?
 

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Workin' is for Suckers
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Pre-Spawn....I actually think u might be in post. I'm in northern Ohio and the bass in my lakes spawned already. Have seen males guarding babies. My Res. water temp is at 74.
 

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I'm sorry but I just can see myself paying $400 for a bass fishing trip in Ohio, when I can go another 20 minutes south to AEP and do it for free and catch the same numbers. I do understand that you need to know AEP to catch those kind of #'s, and I do. I guess that all that matters is you had fun, and thats what its all about. I do believe bass are post spawn now, local quary temp @72.
 

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the wilds is a little different than a typical lake or pit in ohio, i would love to fish them, probably the only place in ohio you can catch #'s of fish over 3lbs on the fly and have a good shot at fish up 5-7lbs maybe bigger. he also caught 170 fish over the weekend, theres alot of people that would pay $400 for that
 

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I fished those ponds, caught hog gills on flower petals, bass on everycast. 7 1/2 pounder on the wall. Didn't have to pay a dime. 1980.:)
 

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the wilds is a little different than a typical lake or pit in ohio, i would love to fish them, probably the only place in ohio you can catch #'s of fish over 3lbs on the fly and have a good shot at fish up 5-7lbs maybe bigger. he also caught 170 fish over the weekend, theres alot of people that would pay $400 for that
Thats it I'm starting my own guide service to AEP. For $100(and beer) I can more than likly get you half of that # of fish. Also a good shot at 4-6lber.lol I've been to the wilds and these are the same pits as AEP(wilds was once part of AEP). I'm not knocking it at all, I'm just saying I would not pay $400 for that. I would pay that down in Flordia. Also, if you've got the cash and thats how you want to spend it, to each there own. happy fishing
 

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Mad SOT YAKER!
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Those are pretty little ponds at the wilds, the one you get to walk to on the bus has hundreds of cats that get fed from people paying a quarter for feed, like fishing for carp at the zoo. I want to try AEP this year, need to design a cart for my yak that will come apart so I can store in the yak because I can't carry it that far, and I hear you need to do some walking to get to the good ponds. I'll supply the beer...
 

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sounds like a plan mike, I also rent out my extra tube so you wont need your yak.lol If you do build a cart for the yak you would not need to break it down, you can just leave it at the shore.

evan
 

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Mad SOT YAKER!
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kewl, I have 2 yaks now(If anyone wants to go with me this summer, PM me, you can use the other yak and fish the local rivers) and the new one is a fishing sit on top type, very stable with alot of storage, love it. Found a cart at gander for about $70, might just buy it and be done with it. I also have a 30 foot travel trailer that I might bring down to AEP, thats how I like to rough it anymore, I can sleep 5 each with own bed, or 8 sharing(not my bed though,lol). I'm dying to get down there but being family guy with 3 kids one infant I need to plan in advance, no more spur of the moment deals.
 

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I would guess you were catching postspawn bass, especially in ponds right now, although I could be totally wrong. Nice #'s of fish though, must of been awesome with all the topwater explosions!
 
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