Crocodile Bay Resort – Costa Rica Fishing Report
Greetings from the Tropics – October 2019 Fishing Report
The Kiss of the Mighty Roosterfish
Roosterfish, or Nematistius Pectoralis as their Latin name goes, is a hard-fighting and widely sought after gamefish here in Costa Rica. Anglers come from all over the world to Crocodile Bay Resort in search of this prized species. And almost all of our guests have roosterfish at the top of their wish list.In Central America, the roosterfish can only be found on the Pacific side, and they range from southern California down to Peru. They average 20-30 pound with numerous trophies being landed in the 50-60lb range weekly. But roosterfish can get up to the current IGFA World record of 114lbs. Luckily Crocodile Bay is centrally located in the roosterfish’s range, and they are abundant here year-round. They are generally green or olive on their backs and have four black bars evenly spaced along their bodies. They run from the top of the fish down to its midsection, with the final bar running parallel to the fish’s tail. Their skin has a pearlescent sheen to it that is very pretty when reflected in the sunlight. But their most distinctive feature is their iconic seven-stranded dorsal fin — like the rooster’s comb from which the species gets its name. This “crest” of fins when extended, stands straight up similar to the top of a roosterfish’s head. It is widely believed that roosterfish raise their crest to help coral bait (much like a sailfish uses its sail) and to make themselves appear larger when predators are near. It has also been observed, that when feeding on the surface, roosters extend their crest out of the water (up to a foot or more into the air) to help discourage birds from swooping in and stealing their prey.
Roosterfish feed on a variety of baits including blue runners, goggle eyes, sardines, moonfish, mullet and bonita. They can be caught using many different lures including poppers, twitch baits, jigs, plugs or even fast trolling with dead baits. By far the most effective technique for catching roosterfish (especially big ones) is the slow trolling with live bait. The baits can run at different depths by using varying size sinkers and allows the angler to cover more of the water column. One way to increase the odds of a hookup is to troll with live baits off the back of the boat while casting poppers or plugs from the bow. As the boat slowly trolls along the beach, you can cast into the surf line or work the many rocky outcroppings just in front of the beach. Sometimes the fish that is holding close to cover will not leave to chase a bait, but will take a popper or lure if cast directly in front of them.
Once you hook a roosterfish, watch out, as they are famous for their powerful runs. They do not make super long runs but instead make multiple short and medium bursts. Some fish will jump or shake their heads like largemouth bass, while others will stay down during the entire fight. After several minutes of the roosterfish “bulldogging” on the line, you will start to feel the fish coming toward the boat. But this is usually when they dig in, often turning on their side, making it as difficult as possible for you to lift them. When you finally have the fish close to the boat, and the mate is just reaching for the leader, be careful! It is very common for roosterfish to make one last bulldogged attempt to escape your clutch.
It has always impressed me how tenacious these fighters are, and the fact they never give up. If you combine their prowess as great fighters, their limited range and their beautiful and exotic features, it is no wonder the roosterfish are so highly sought here at Crocodile Bay Resort.
Capt. Allan Smith