Not a bad month

Few things are finer than May in Youngstown, especially if you are a person who loves fishing.

If weather is the measurement, today and tomorrow may not make my list of top May days in my life, but I’ll be fishing this weekend, so it won’t make the bottom of the list either.

May fishing is pretty good regardless of the species you prefer. Walleyes, crappies and bass are in top form this month. Not far behind are other local favorites like muskies, bluegills, northern pike and perch.

From Lake Erie to our inland reservoirs, it’s not hard to get bit in May.

As has been my preference for as far back as my fishing memory goes, May is my favorite month on Mosquito.

When Barb and I bought our first boat 40 years ago, we spent pretty much every opportunity possible on the Trumbull County reservoir chasing walleyes. We learned a lot, too, about plucking crappies from the flooded willows and buck brush. The green buds of May were the sure-fire sign that it was time to visit the brushy cover.

May also is prime time for largemouth bass at Mosquito. The aquatic vegetation typically hasn’t topped out during most Mays, allowing flippers and pitchers like me to maneuver in and out of the coves to wrestle stubborn bass from the shoreline tangles.

Recent trips this year have fortified my belief that darn few waters with 100 miles of Youngstown are as good as Mosquito for largemouth bass. I visited there last weekend with Rich Carter, executive administrator of Ohio Division of Wildlife’s fish management and research, and we were not disappointed by the shallow water action.

A couple of weeks ago, walleye pro Sammy Cappelli of Poland and I fished Mosquito. The weather was nasty, but Cappelli still managed to show his prowess with the big reservoir’s walleyes, as well as some dandy northern pike and a few jumbo yellow perch.

But Mosquito isn’t the only local hot spot in May. West Branch has some pretty good bass fishing and the muskies there are legendary. A number of dedicated muskie pros work West Branch hard and enjoy excellent action once May rolls up on us.

One doesn’t need to target muskies specifically to cash in on the fishing. I’ve had dozens of bass outings at West Branch interrupted by monster muskie bites.

In May 2015, while enjoying steady success throughout my day of pitching creature baits to flooded willows at West Branch, I set the hook on a fish that was definitely no ordinary specimen.

I felt the tick, jerked and held on as a particularly acrobatic muskie bolted from the bush like a train heading to Chicago. The 20-pound fluorocarbon line stretched to the limit as it cut a spray-tossing wake behind the fleeing fish, only to split under the weight of the muskie’s second showery leap.

Days like that are not uncommon in May.

Anglers who love the bass, muskie and walleye fishing at Mosquito and West Branch also like nearby Pymatuning for a spring time change-up. Whatever we do at the closer-to-home waters works just as well at Pymatuning, but with the added advantage of 10,000 more acres to explore.

This also is a great time to hit the harbors of Lake Erie for whatever might be biting. Perch, sunfish, rock bass and crappies move in and out of the rocks of the breakwalls all along Ohio’s North Coast.

Yeah, I admit today’s forecast is a lot less appealing as I stack up the years, but with May being only 31 days in duration, I will be out there loving every minute of my fishing time today.

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