The Roosterfish is a game fish found in the warmer water of the East Pacific Ocean. It stands out because of the seven long spines of the dorsal fin, also called its rooster comb. The extremely photogenic fish has two dark blue or black bands along its sides, a sloping forehead and a very strong, bone-like jaw. It is also unusual because the swim bladder penetrates its brain through a large passage that makes contact with the inner ear, allowing the swim bladder to amplify sounds.
The Roosterfish feeds on small fish like mullet and sardines. They chase baitfish by traveling in large schools. They can grow to over five feet in length and can weigh over 100 pounds. The average Roosterfish is about thirty to forty pounds which makes Rooster fishing a very popular type of sportfishing. It is not uncommon to hook one around fifty pounds. The world record is 114 pounds. It was caught in La Paz, Baja, California. Many believe that this record will be broken soon in Costa Rica. The Roosterfish is not considered a tasty fish and is usually caught and released.
How do you snag a Roosterfish on your next sportfishing trip to Costa Rica?
1. Don’t Go Deep
Roosterfish generally feed close to the shore, sometimes coming close to beaching itself. If you prefer deep sea fishing, this may not be your target fish. Although it is normally found near rocky outcrops and islands, some of the larger ones have been found on the shore. When planning your trip, don’t be dismayed if your charter service does not take you more than a few miles from the shore. This is ideal for sport fishers who may be apprehensive about going out into the ocean. It can make an enjoyable experience for a young person’s first excursion.
2. Know Where to Look
Roosterfish are generally found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Even though they are likely to be found near rocky areas, they do not generally go into the rocks which makes them easier to lure. As an in-shore species, they have a tendency to chase baitfish near the surface at depths less than 200 feet. Do not be fooled into thinking they will be easy to catch but they can be easy to find. The catch and release nature of the species ensures the population will continue to grow in the region. It is not uncommon for a fisher to catch two or three in a half day, if you are in a good spot.
3. Timing Is Everything
Although Roosterfish can be caught in Costa Rica all year around from the southern to northern coasts of Costa Rica, the slowest months are September and October. The peak season is considered January through April.
When planning your sportfishing Costa Rica trip, make sure you have a passport. It takes about two to three weeks to gather the information needed for the application and an additional four to six weeks for processing. Even though you don’t need a visa to get into Costa Rica, you need to be sure you have your exit ticket already purchased.
4. Be Ready for a Fight
Because the Roosterfish can average between thirty and forty pounds, they are popular for sportfishing because of the fight needed to catch them. These fish will not go down or come up, easily. When hooked, they will raise their dorsal fin like a flag and leap repeatedly, making them one of the harder to catch species. Be prepared to exert a little muscle power to catch one. Your effort will be rewarded with great photographs of your catch. Some Roosterfish have been known to fight for thirty to forty-five minutes. If this is your target species, don’t be afraid to lift some weights in preparation for your big catch.
5. Have the Right Equipment
Roosterfish are much easier to catch using live bait. They are rarely attracted to dead bait but seem to prefer the skipjack fish, rainbow runners, or mullet fish. Their ideal bait is typically in the three- to four-pound range. You can also use poppers and spinners, but sport fishers have the most luck with live bait. Fishers have also found that it is best to wait until the Roosterfish have engulfed the bait before attempting to reel it. They seem to like to play with their bait before they get on the hook which can easily cause you to lose the catch.
The ideal fishing rod will be graphite composite medium to medium-heavy action rod. The rod should be between ten and thirteen feet long with a high capacity spinning reel. The spinning reel should be spooled with 300 yards of braided line.
Roosterfish are not one of the tastiest fish to catch, however, they are very popular for sportfishing in the East Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica. Many fishers are not only attracted to them because of their photogenic nature but also because of their size. Ranging from thirty to forty pounds, they make great souvenir photographs. They can add a high level of excitement to your excursion because of the fight they are sure to put up when trying to catch them. A little extra muscle power will go a long way to get them on the boat but using the right bait is also key. Remember to bring along some live bait and resist the temptation to take the easy way out with fake lures.
Using these five tricks will surely make your next sportfishing adventure in Costa Rica a success. Who knows? You could break the world record and find the Roosterfish over 114 pounds!