Roosterfish are arguably the ultimate inshore trophy fish. They are aggressive, show incredible fighting power, and make for beautiful pictures. About the only thing negative to say about them is that they aren’t very tasty, but that is also a good thing as it ensures their release and ultimate survival for future anglers. Most roosters in Central America are in the 30-50 lb range, but several times a year we see 80-90 lb monsters. The world record is a 114 pounder caught back in 1960 in Mexico.
It would be stating the obvious to say that the defining characteristic of the roosterfish is their unique dorsal fin. The majority of the time the dorsal fin remains at rest in a deep groove along the top of the rooster’s back, but when excited it will raise the seven fins to appear larger. Roosterfish feature two dark bands along their flanks that range in color from dark blue to purple to black. When hooked roosterfish usually don’t take to the air but prefer long, powerful runs. Just when you think you have this inshore bruiser beat it will see the boat for the first time and take off on another scorching run peeling off all that hard-fought line you just gained on him.
WHAT THEY EAT: Roosterfish are an aggressive and predatory inshore species. They primarily feed on other small fish like sardines, mullet fish, small bonito, and rainbow runners. They’ve been known to chase bait for a long time as if trying to herd them towards a reef or beach. They can be caught on poppers or with spoons, but the tried and true method is trolling with live bait like rainbow runners or lookdowns.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Roosterfish are unique in that they are only found in the warm Eastern Pacific waters. Their range is from southern California to Peru, which means Central America is their backyard and they can be caught year round. Roosterfish are caught in the surf and over sandy bottoms, but they seem to love rocky islands and reefs the most. Roosterfish are not migratory, typically they travel less than 300 miles in their lifetime, so good catch and release practices will ensure their survival and a long lasting bite for years to come.