Getting reeled in by the tug

If you are an angler, you’ve got to love the tug.

Whether you fish for bass or bluegills, crappies or catfish, walleyes or whatever, the tug is what gets your heart pumping.

The fishing part of a day on the water is fun. But the tug is the sign that the fun is about to intensify.

Regardless of the species you chase or the style of fishing you prefer, most bites are signaled by a telltale tug that reverberates up your line into the palm of your rod-holding hand.

I love the tug.

It’s the reward for a lure well-placed. It means a fish has decided my presentation is too good to resist.

When the tug comes, it sets in motion a reflex action that a savvy angler has perfected over the years.

Live-bait fishermen wait for a few moments to make sure their nightcrawler or minnow is situated in the perfect place in their quarry’s mouth, and then they sweep their rods to set their hooks.

Same goes for a bass angler fishing a plastic worm or jig. The tug is the sign a largemouth or smallmouth has sucked in the lure and deciding whether to spit or expel. Set too soon or too late and we haul water. Set at the perfect count and the fight is on.

This spring’s overall tug count in Northeast Ohio has been enormous.

The fishing has been good for walleyes and crappies at Mosquito, Berlin and Milton. Catfish are happening, as well, and the bass fishing is still on the upswing throughout the region.

Good weather, plenty of rain and a noticeable gain in anglers’ knowledge all are contributors to the great fishing anglers have been reporting.

I enjoyed lots of tugs the past two weekends at Lake Milton.

My favorite kind of fishing is short-line pitching to shallow cover for largemouth bass.

Milton’s upriver reaches were my destination during my most recent trips, and the bass were hunkered in the cover with spawning and foraging as top priorities.

Carefully dipped, plastic creature baits got lots of attention both weekends. Largemouths up to 4 pounds tugged and I jerked.

That’s what I call fun.

Equally as interesting were the two oversized yellow perch I plucked from largemouth lairs.

I guess they were in the neighborhood to feast on bass fry, but the fact is the last species one would expect in water only a foot deep is the yellow perch.

The two I caught were jumbos for sure and would be welcomed in any Lake Erie perchers’ cooler.

I also bagged a 15-inch crappie during one Milton junket and set up on a muskie that made short work of my fluorocarbon line as it surged for freedom.

It’s fun when the fishing is fast and you never are exactly sure what you’re going to pull from the cover.

Ah, the tug. You have got to love it.

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