In saltwater or fresh, no matter what the species of fish, a fisherman with a bluefish hooked on light tackle feels as if he has hold of a bag of wildcats. When you first get your hook set on him, he’s absolutely beyond the control on a rod and reel. His runs are so violent that the reel handle is sometimes snatched from out of your fingers time and again. Maybe the line gets bitten off several feet above the bait and if the fish doesn’t succeed in biting the line off after two or three minutes, he becomes sulky and doesn’t fight unless you yank on the line. Then he makes another mad dash.
Really, the bluefish can be the most brutish, disagreeable, ill tempered, and cantankerous game fish to have on a rod and reel that I know of. If you want to land one from the surf, you’d better brace yourself. He doesn’t make long runs like the rockfish or the channel bass, and has to be literally teased into action after the first few rushes. He’ll even sulk if you give him the opportunity. He’s simply a bad-tempered rascal that isn’t afraid to give you a knock down, drag out fight.
But the small mouth black bass is a another one to seek after if you like a scrappy fish. He fights in the air just as well as he does in the water. He takes the initiative from the get go and so long as there’s an ounce of strength left in his body, he continues to know he’s been there. When first hooked he will rush to the surface and fly repeatedly in an attempt to shake the hook out of his mouth. At any stage of the battle he’ll take all the line the fisherman will give him and then fight for some more. He’ll take live bait, rise to a fly or attack a plug. He is a clean, hard fighter throughout and plays the game like a true opponent.