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Rooster Fishing in Costa Rica

One of the favorite thing to do while in Costa Rica is Rooster Fish.

Costa Rica Fishing Seasons for Roosterfish

All day all year!!

The Roosterfish in Costa Rica fishing waters can be caught all year. So if Roosterfish is what you want to catch there is no wrong time. Now just since there isn’t an official season that doesn’t mean there are not better times of the year to catch them. Just like the tourism season of Costa Rica December through April is the high season for Roosterfish. They are a bit more uncommon during September and October.

What is a Roosterfish?

As stated the Roosterfish is very popular when it comes to Costa Rica Sports Fishing. They are called a Roosterfish due to the “rooster’s comb” dorsal fin that is made of the seven long spines making up their trademark dorsal fin. The “rooster comb” is most noticeable when the Roosterfish is out of the water. Oddly the dorsal fin is almost always completely flat when in the water.  So what’s that say to you. To truly enjoy the beauty of the Roosterfish you need to come and get one in the boat.

On the Pacific side of Costa Rica, this shiny silver body with a light aqua blue accent on its back makes the Roosterfish a beauty with or without it’s “rooster comb.” Then to top it off it has dark racing stripes accenting both sides. So “rooster comb” or not the Roosterfish is always ready to make for a great photo op. They are a prize inshore game fish.  The RoosterFish averages anywhere from 20 to 50 lbs and it’s no rare to be catching 80 pounders. The standing world record is 114 pounds. So if 80 is common, then there is a good chance a world record could be in your Roosterfishing future if your fishing for Roosterfish in Costa Rica.

How to catch Roosterfish in Costa Rica.

Okay so now you want in on the best fishing in Costa Rica. Well, Roosterishing is one of the best Costa Rica fishing trips you can take. You can hire some of the best Costa Rica fishing guides for the best sports fishing in Costa Rica. You can also use some of the Costa Rica Fishing Charters as well. However, you decide to do some Roosterfish fishing you will need to know some of the do’s and don’ts of catching Rooster Fish.

What is the best bait?

Lookdowns seem to be the best for some, and then others will swear that Sardines are the best. One thing all the guides will agree on is the fact that they do their best sports fishing in Costa Rica with live bait. Especially when it comes to the Roosterfish, Roosterfish readily eat, google eyes, herring, sardines, blue runners, and I am sure I missed some of their favorites, but these are their normal meals. So fishing with live bait is excellent. Most guides will either go out to catch some live bait: small bonito, ladyfish or rainbow runner are special baits. I know some guides will take you for a short while before going to deeper water. 

What if we can’ t Catch any Live Bait?

Genaro Mendez at Papagayo Sports Fishing says then try with a dead bonito with the “butterfly” cut! “Butterly” Cut?  This is when you cut the bonito fish starting at its tail then cut it to the head side by side. You are trying to remove all its bone. Just like you would make a fillet. This technique is used successfully when sports fishing Costa Rica waters. It is an excellent rooster fishing technique. The Roosterfish also love Tuna odor like fishing for catfish. A stinky bait is a better bait. So the more your dead bait smells like Tuna, the better. 

Roosterfishing with lures

 With lookdowns and sardines being the top live baits for Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica, then one of the go to’s would be a chrome Ranger. Rangers with a white/red color or a blue/chrome are some of the favs by the guides. If the Ranger is not working out for you, then try trolling with a Rapala or use a topwater popper. They will attack these and give you a show. Use lures, only if live bait is not available. So it will be worth spending a little more time trying to catch some baitfish before going out. You will not be sorry. 

Where do you find them?

Now we know what kind of tackle we need to catch a Roosterfish. Now we need to know where to find them. Roosterfish like to inhabit rocky points, ledges, and pinnacles close to the shore. They can also be found where you will find lots of baitfish. So look for beaches with river mouths. Always remember to look for rocky areas.

Shore fishing for roosterfish in Costa Rica is fun. However, if you want to catch the bigger sized Roosterfish, you will need to go far from the beaches, where there are more abundant large Roosterfish. You can usually find Roosterfish in waters no deeper than 200 feet but never more shallow than 10 feet.  Roosterfish like water that is not too cool nor to warm so Sportsfishing Costa Rica waters are perfect for the species.  While your out looking for a good spot also look at the water. Roosterfish love water that is just a little cloudy.  They like the water just clear enough that they can see the bait fish but not so clear that they can be seen. 

A good thing about the Roosterfish is that they are not a migratory species. So that is what makes Roosterfishing in Costa Rica a Sportsfishing treasure. The other good part of it is they are also very territorial.  So when you finally find that spot where they are biting you know your good close to that spot for a few days.

Best Rooster Fishing techniques:

If you’re still on the fence about Roosterfishing in Costa Rica, you still have some of the best sports fishing in Costa Rica like other sailfish and Marlin.  With the average weight of a Roosterfish being around 50 to 80 pounds the Roosterfish is a challenge for amateur and professional fisherman. Pound for pound a Roosterfish is a better fighter than any sailfish of equal size.

The Catch.

Now we have caught all the live bait we need, we have found the best spot now how do I get them in the boat.

Roosterfish are prolific fighters. The Roosterfish is an ambush predator, and are extremely tough fighters. So be prepared.

So you have the pole tipping, and you think you have a fish playing with that live bait that you caught earlier, and the excitement is building. You have read articles like these, got all the right gear and now it’s time to get this Roosterfish in the boat. The camera is ready??? Pause…. breath…slowly count to 5. This will allow them to get the big bait in their mouths. You want to give them time to get the bait and get the hook set as the Roosterfish is turning away. This will allow for a more secure hook set.

Once you get the hook set to get ready because the Roosterfish is an extremely strong fighter, these fish are true fighters and hate to be caught. Sometimes the battle can take up to an hour. So this is not a fishing trip for the faint of heart. Smaller Rooster occasionally will jump when you get the hookset so don’t jerk cause you risk throwing the hook. This jerking motion causes them to fight harder and shake their head.

The Roosterfish does not like to give up at all. So just as you think you have him (or her) beat the Rooster will run hard and deep. They will do this over and over trying to shake the hook loose. So take your time and don’t try to muscle them. Ease the rod tip up again DON’T JERK.  Be careful because the fish will spool you if you don’t stay attentive. Ease them up and to the boat. Get the camera out and take the photo you have been waiting for.

Catch and Release

One of the big reasons for there being such good Roosterfishing in Costa Rica is simply due to the catch and release program most everyone uses. The Roosterfish is in the Jack family with horse eyes, amberjack as well as crevalles. These type of fish are not considered good eating. So catch and release is always practiced to keep the sport alive.

Another reason for the abundance of this fish is that there is a large area of good fertile grounds where the roosterfish live in Papagayo (Bat Islands), and this area has been incorporated into a protected area called the Santa Rosa National Park.

Who are your top charters?

* Post created with pictures from Gear Patrol.


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