This section is from the book "Frank Forrester's Fishermens' Guide", by Frank Forrester.
This is a sea-fish found only in Northern waters chiefly those of New York and Massachusetts. The head and back is of dark brown color, with a greenish tinge. The sides are of a faint silvery hue, with dusky specks, and the belly is white. Some people suppose the name (weak-fish) to have originated in the apathy of the fish after being hooked, but this is not so, for he frequently makes the most determined and energetic struggles to escape. It is either a perversion of wheat-fish - which name originated in the fact that harvest time is the period to fish them, or else in the peculiar weakness of the muscles of his mouth. He is usually handsome looking, and is excellent eating, but his flesh is softer than that of some of the best of our pan-fish, which is an objection. The common size of this fish is twelve to fifteen inches in length, though in some instances he grows larger. His feeding ground is the same as the striped bass in salt water, and they are often caught with the bass; but the weak-fish never goes into fresh water. An angler for bass, if not successful, has only to arrange his tackle, and drop his line a little deeper to catch this fish.
The bait used for weak-fish is the shedder-crab and the shrimp, and sometimes he will bite freely at a clam bait. You should fish them at evening tide, when the tide is pretty well in, two hours before sunset. A large No. 1 light Kirby hook, or a slightly curbed Limerick, are the kind used. Tackle similar to that used for bass. Weak-fish are taken very easily, and in great abundance in New York bay, and the water adjacent. Also in the inlets of New Jersey, and in those of Massachusetts.