Costa Rica Rooster FishingOther than sail and marlin roosterfish is the target best appreciated by sports-fishermen who come to this region looking for a fishing adventure. With an average weight between 50 and 80 pounds, rooster fish is a great opponent for any professional or amateur fisherman. An 80 lb rooster fish is a better fighter than a 80 lb sailfish.
Rooster fish is not a migratory specie, it is rather a territorial one and it is present year round. However, a higher number of fishes are caught when water conditions are especially good, no matter what time of the year it is. One of the main reasons for the abundance of this species is the fishing technique that is used to catch it (circle hook to catch this variety of fish) plus the catch and release technique shared by all of the Gulf of Papagayo fishermen.. Another reason for the abundance of this fish is that there is a large area of good fertile grounds where the rooster fish live in Papagayo (Bat Islands) and this area has been incorporated into a protected area called the Santa Rosa National Park.
We use to catch rooster fish close to the shore, near to beaches such as Coco Beach, Playa Panama, Playa Potrero, Playa Tamarindo and several others in the Gulf of Papagayo. However, there are other well known areas, far from beaches, where this species is more abundant and with bigger size such as the Catalina Islands located on the south side of the gulf and near Bat Islands and Playa Blanca on the gulf of Papagayo north side. Rooster fish in the Gulf of Papagayo can be found in waters no deeper than 100 to 200 feet and as shallow as 10 to 15 feet close to the shore. Their habitat in the tropics is not too cool nor too warm waters thus making fishing conditions especially favorable when the water is a bit cloudy where they can see the bait and bite instead of very clear or dirty water. You can catch many rooster fish when conditions in the day are favorable.
Many year of experience fishing in gulf of Papagayo say that to catch this powerful depredator using lures is some difficult, in other hand, bait is excellent to catch someone, specially live bait: small bonito, lady fish or rainbow runner are special bait, but if live bait is not possible then try with a dead bonito with the "butterfly" cut (to cut the bonito fish beginning from its tail to the head side by side trying to remove all its bone, like to make fillet, this technique is used successfully on these waters), it is an excellent rooster fishing technique. Tuna odor and how it move make this kind of bait especially attractive for Rooster.
Here in the golfo de Papagayo, we as local sports-fishermen practice the catch and release technique in order to preserve the species. We ask our clients not to keep any roosterfish but you can take as many photos as possible but return them to the sea so we can keep the species for the future and for our children.