I fish in my ponds with a Shakespere Ultralight 4.5 foot rod, ultralight spinning reel and 4 pound test line. Since I feed the bluegill I can hook a piece of floating fish food on a #6 hook and catch a fish on every cast. I catch many bluegill in the 12 to 16 ounce range (this was the biggest at the time the article was done, in 1998, before I started feeding them) and my biggest so far was a beautiful fish that weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces.
I also catch bass on that outfit. I have had them hit a piece of the food as it sank and I sometimes throw a small beetle spin on it. Many times I have caught one pound bass and one pound bluegill on back to back casts.
In my opinion a one pound bass will fight harder than a one pound bluegill. The bluegill makes strong runs and darts around but the bass will bulldog down and pull harder. And the bass will jump, making the fight more exciting.
One reason people think bluegill pull so hard is they use light tackle for them and heavier tackle for bass. Catching them on the same outfit on back to back casts gives me a better understanding of how both fight, I think.
Many people disagree with my opinion.
I tried to find information on this, to see if anyone had done any kind of test to check the pulling power of bass and bluegill. I could not find anything on it.
I called Kevin Dallmier, Georgia state fisheries biologist and author of "Fishing Georgia." He not only studies and works with fish in his job, he loves fishing, too.
Kevin said he did not know any studies on this subject but I should remember that bluegill are built to run and escape from bass. But bass are built to be able to catch them and eat them. So, a bass probalby can pull harder than a bluegill.
Since bluegill do not get to five pounds and bass commonly do, I guess there is no easy way to know. I base my opinion on catching one pound bass and one pound bluegill, something that is much easier to do. Maybe someone working on a masters in fisheries biology can do a test of relative strengths for a thesis!