Once your prized fish feels that hook stuck it its mouth, it inevitably struggles to break free. This typically is demonstrated by the fish swimming against the line, making long runs, jumping and wiggling about. Interestingly, each different species of fish has a different style in their fight to get free. Some will swim around obstacles and some will thrash wildly about. So bass fishing can be very different from crappie fishing.
Fish that have been hooked in somewhat shallow water are far more likely to leap and act frantic than the fish that are caught in deeper water as deep water fish tend to head straight for the bottom of the lake or ocean.
However, it is possible to hook quite a few smaller fish by just reeling them right in. Sure, they will fight, but the fight that they are capable of is usually not strong enough to have any effect on the line or the rod. Using light tackle can get many fish to put up a fight no matter how small they are.
If you prefer to catch your fish and then release them back into the water, be sure that you are not fighting with the fish for very long as these creatures can die from wearing themselves out.
If you are fishing for bigger fish and it decides to run, do not try and reel in once your fish begins to swim away from the line. Once the hook has been set all you have to do is set your drag. If you are working with test of around 12 pounds, you will want to use 4 drag pounds. Keep your rod at a 45 degree angle in relation to the water, aiming right at your fish.
Once the fish begins to slow down and less line is being taken out, you will now want to pull the rod gently up and, as you lower it, the reel down with a pumping motion. Do this in smooth, small strokes instead of abrupt or large ones. Doing this will ensure that your line is tight and will also keep your fish more calm.
If the fish happens to run again, let him do so. This time you will notice his run is somewhat slower and shorter. However, you do not want to let your fish rest and then be able to take off again. If your drag is not being used you should be reeling in.