Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica is an absolute thrill for all anglers. If you’re on the search for an exciting, intense fight with a tropical vibe, this is the place to be and the activity to participate in! Take one look at the picture below and you can’t help falling in love. But I’m here today to make sure you’re head over heels.
By the time we’re finished with this article, you’ll be itching to go Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica. Why? Well, I’ll first let you in on everything that makes this species special. I’ll then go on to tell you how to land one – trust me, it’s worth trying. Finally, I’ll talk about some spots and some regulations to bear in mind. Then it’ll be over to you. Let’s get started!
A Guide to Identifying Roosterfish
You can see for yourself that Roosterfish are a very cool-looking species. They get their name from their unique dorsal fin that resembles a rooster’s comb. Their seven long spines help them maneuver throughout the water and reach high speeds. They’re also able to turn very quickly, which makes them excellent swimmers.
Roosterfish are large and can reach over 100 pounds. They have a thick build, similar to a Jack Crevalle but a bit longer. They have a white-silverish tone with a couple of black stripes fading along their body. A slight yellowish hue can be seen on their body, usually within the fins. Short rigid fins follow towards the tail to further increase agility and speed.
Typically, when you see this species, you already know it’s a Roosterfish. But for those just learning about this species, now you know. Let’s continue!
When to Go Roosterfish Fishing in Costa Rica
If you’re interested in planning a fishing trip to Costa Rica, it’s beneficial to know the best times to go Roosterfish fishing.
Roosterfish are actually pretty active year-round. You can come anytime of the year and find some, but the most productive season is spring. During the spring season, the tropical waters are the perfect temperature for Roosterfish. They make their way close to the shorelines, making them an easy target for anglers.
As Costa Rica is close to the equator, the area has year-round warm temperatures which make it suitable for Roosterfish to stay. The water does get a bit too hot for them in summer, and they may make their way a bit offshore, but they still remain close.
With regard to the time of day, Roosterfish in Costa Rica are known to bite throughout the day. However, the most productive times will be early mornings and later in the evenings. This is when the sun is away and the water conditions are optimal for them.
The last factor to add is the tide. The best tide to go fishing for Roosterfish in Costa Rica will be high tide because it gives them more opportunities to come closer inshore. Once inshore, they can find more prey to snack on.
Best Roosterfish Fishing Bait
Now it’s time to talk bait. The best option for bait when Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica is live bait. With live bait actively swimming around, it captures the predator’s attention. They can maneuver around by themselves as well, which also means less work for you.
Some of the best live bait choices that Roosterfish favor include bonito, scad, blue runners, mullet, ladyfish, skipjacks, and more. You want to have larger bait, generally around the 8-inch mark, because Roosterfish have large mouths. When it comes to dead or cut bait, they sometimes eat them, but some days they won’t bite that at all.
Live bait isn’t the only option for Roosterfish fishing though. Sometimes you may not have any access to live bait. This is where artificial lures come in handy.
The most common lures recommended by experienced anglers are topwater lures and plugs. Lures that move along the surface and make noise are the best at enticing Roosterfish to bite. The Thorn GT popper saltwater surface plug is popular, for example. Jigs and jerk baits also work when trying to get Roosterfish to bite, but topwater lures are always a better choice.
Best Roosterfish Fishing Gear
Moving onto our next section, we have the best gear for Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica. Roosterfish are a strong and quick species, and they’re tough fighters. Having sturdy gear is essential for your success of bringing them in.
Whatever type of fishing equipment you prefer, just ensure it’s reliable and heavy-duty. Let’s look at a common spinning setup, for example. A medium-heavy action rod paired with a 5000 spinning reel is a good start. I recommend using heavier braid, such as 40 pounds. Following the braid, adding a fluorocarbon leader of 60 pounds is a good medium. It’s not too light but not too heavy either.
Roosterfish don’t really run to structure, but you don’t want to take any chances with all the underwater rocks. Anyway, this is just an idea for a common Roosterfish fishing setup but you can always alter it to your liking.
Where to Go Roosterfish Fishing in Costa Rica
Now that you’ve got your bait and your gear figured out, it’s time to locate some hotspots. You can go Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica in two ways – by land or by boat. I’ll give you some insights on both, as well as share a couple of prime roosterfishing locations.
When fishing by boat, you certainly have an advantage as you can fish the same areas a land fisherman can reach – and more. You have access to points offshore where schools of Roosterfish may be strolling by. I recommended fishing deep waters, up to 150 feet deep, and targeting any area with a lot of structure.
Land fishing for Roosterfish in Costa Rica is not as hard as it may seem. This is because they enjoy traveling inshore and strolling along the sandy bottoms of beaches. This is especially true during high tide, when they chase schools of bait close to the shoreline.
Top Roosterfishing Spots
Now that you have an idea of what type of area to try for both land and boat fishing, see below for a couple of key hotspots for Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica:
- Quepos gives anglers opportunities to catch Roosterfish from both land and boat. Create memorable times on the beach as you reel in some hefty Roosterfish or hit the deeper waters for an action-filled adventure.
- Osa Peninsula. From Drake Bay in the north to Matapalo Beach in the south, this is an angling haven. The peninsula is a great place for anglers to fish for Roosterfish, both from shore and on boat. The beaches allow land-based fishermen to get in on the action, while offshore anglers can head to Matapalo Rock where big Roosterfish hang around.
- Bat Islands. Near the Nicaraguan Border, there’s a group of uninhabited islands, where the land and surrounding water are protected. A part of Santa Rosa National Park, this area is booming with marine life. And, since it’s protected, the fish are given the chance to repopulate and thrive without overfishing issues.
- Catalinas Islands. This beautiful stretch of islands offers gorgeous scenery where tons of tourists and locals spend time shopping, dining, and enjoying nature. Opportunities to fish both on land and on boat are present for eager anglers searching for Roosterfish.
These are just a few popular locations that tourists and locals flock to year-round for some awesome Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica. There are various other hotspots around the country, but these are good places to start!
How to Go Roosterfish Fishing in Costa Rica
Now let’s move on to the techniques used for Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica. There are a couple of prominent methods that are proven to be successful at bringing in Roosterfish. Let’s get into it!
First up, we have freelining live bait. This is a favorite technique for many anglers, as Roosterfish tend to prefer live bait the most. Drop your bait near an area with structure or sandy bottoms, and keep the bail open with your finger slightly on the line. Sometimes the Roosterfish will eat at the surface but other times they’ll be further. In this case, you can add a sinker. Once you feel a thump, give it a few seconds before you close your bail and begin the fight.
Next, we have trolling. Trolling can be done with live bait, dead bait, or artificial lures. For Roosterfish, you should troll the bait behind the boat at a slower and let the Roosterfish come up to you. Trolling can be done near shorelines or you can hunt around rocky structures. This is not the most prominent method for landing Roosterfish, but you can often find one on the end of your line when going after other fish.
One thing to keep in mind – no matter the method you use – is that Roosterfish tend to shake aggressively and make a lot of runs. So, once you get your hook set, be prepared for a lengthy and challenging fight. Give them time to run when they need it, so you don’t increase tension, and reel them in quickly when they give a break. The reward is worth the challenge!
Costa Rica Roosterfish Fishing Regulations
Before we wrap up, there’s just some housekeeping in order. Costa Rica has made an effort to keep Roosterfish protected in local waters. Conservation efforts are high, and harvesting is forbidden. Patrol boats are often found strolling the sea, making sure anglers are appropriately fishing for Roosterfish.
As mentioned previously, a couple of locations that Roosterfish inhabit in Costa Rica are also protected areas, therefore the rules are often even stricter here.
One important rule to follow when fishing in Costa Rica is to have a fishing license. This requirement further helps the protection of the marine species in Costa Rica and funds their conservation efforts. Get yours from the INCOPESCA website or ask your captain to get yours.
So ultimately, Roosterfish are a catch-and-release species in Costa Rica. That’s okay, as many have said their meat isn’t that good anyway. There are plenty of other species available for harvest if you’re looking to bring dinner to the table.
Costa Rica Roosterfish: Tropical, Exotic, and More
By now you should have a solid understanding of how to go Roosterfish fishing in Costa Rica. It’s a challenging yet thrilling adventure that will get your heart racing and fuel your passion for fishing even more. This stunning country is full of surprises and Roosterfish is one of its best. It’s time for you to get out there and make the most of your next vacation.
Have you ever landed a Roosterfish? How taken aback were you? Share your experiences with us and your fellow anglers in the comments below!