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The Biggest Fish I’ve Ever Caught From Shore

Ryan Collins

The air temp was warm and the wind was calm. The scene reminded me of a pleasant July or August morning back on the Cape.

I waded into the tepid water of the Pacific Ocean and made my first cast. Little did I know I was about to catch to catch my biggest fish ever from shore.

I spotted several mullet streaking through the shallows and disappearing into the whitewash of the waves. Beyond the breakers an adult bonito went airborne.

About 10 or 15 casts later I receive my first bite of the morning. The fish pulled hard and fought well for its size, but I soon identified it as a Jack Crevalle-not the monster Roosterfish which I was targeting.​


I released the Jack and got right back to casting. There was life in the area and I felt as if a big fish could appear at any moment. 

Frigates pass high overhead on their way out to sea, while flocks of Pelicans coasted in the air, inches above the breakers. I was fishing in the middle of a healthy, active and flourishing ecosystem.

"The Fish Of A Lifetime"

My next cast took off like a missile and sailed high into the sky, landing further beyond the breakers than usual. I began a slow retrieve and watched my white slow-sinking "Canal swimmer" from slither seductively just beneath the surface.

Once again I saw the huge Roosterfish an instant before he engulfed the plug. My heart skipped a beat as the rod doubled over. Seconds later 30 pound test braid is ripping from my reel ​and the drag is singing.

I caught the entire experience on camera. Click play below to watch the full 13+ minute video of the experience.

Tackle & Equipment:

The fight was like a cross between a big striped bass and small bluefin tuna. There were big head shakes on the surface and 75 yard drag peeling runs.

The fish was beat and so was I!

seventy pound roosterfish caught from a beach in Costa Rica

One of the hooks was embedded in the Rooster's gills and a pool of blood began to form in the sand. Once beached the fish didn't struggle, and it was clear to me the Rooster was exhausted.

huge shore caught roosterfish from beach in Costa Rica

The night before I had met a Tico named Mono who said his neighbors would really appreciate fresh Roosterfish fillets. Most of these folks earn less than the equivalent of $5,000/year, so I knew they would benefit greatly from this fish.

giant roosterfish caught from shore in Costa Rica

So after successfully releasing my first and second Roosterfish of this Costa Rica adventure, I decided I would keep this much larger Rooster and share the meat with Mono and his neighbors.​

surf caught roosterfish in Costa Rica

The next day I delivered the fillets via bicycle to Mono and other members of the community. I was amazed at how quickly the fillets went, and how appreciative everyone was of the big catch.

Later I showed photos of the fish to several locals who know Roosterfish and have caught plenty of them over the years. Based off the photos they think the Rooster probably weighed around 70 pounds, which would make this the largest fish I have ever caught from shore.

In Conclusion

man woman couple at costa rica waterfall

Our time here in Costa Rica is dwindling. As I write this post we have less than 24 hours left in the country. God willing, Lauren and I will be back in the USA just in time for Christmas. 

As we prepare to head home from Costa Rica, I can't help but feel extreme gratitude. Out of all the places in the world we just so happened to pick a beach that would produce world class surfcasting, and so much more.

April 2019 Update

Since first publishing this post, my wife Lauren and I have returned several times to Costa Rica. In addition, in 2017 and 2019 we guided a total of 13 people from MFCC in Costa Rica, taking them on hiking trips, fishing trips and much more. In March of 2019 we teamed up with our Costa Rica friends in an effort to help them market an eco-village and wildlife reserve which is located 250 steps from the beach where I've caught roosterfish, jacks, Spanish mackerel and more. Lots start at just $35K. You can learn more about the project by going to ?

Lauren and I would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas! We would also like to thank you for following along on this journey to Costa Rica.

We have so much more in store for MFCC in 2016 and beyond, and we are excited to have you as part of the adventure.

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

Leave a Comment

  1. Love too go there but do not like venomous snakes!

    1. Yeah there sure are plenty of those in Costa Rica!

  2. Hello Ryan,
    I was at the RISAA Meeting tonight and thought your presentation was amazing. I didn’t get a chance to chat with you afterwards, but I’m heading to Costa Rica on march 5, and I would love to ask you a few questions. My email is attached to this comment.

    1. I had a great time presenting at RISAA last night David. You guys have a great organization!

      I will shoot you an email about Costa Rica right now.

  3. Ryan
    I just got a chance to see the video of the rooster ! Amazing catch i think it was a good thing you hAd the VS to fight that fish , keep the videos comming enjoy them alot and all the info ! Cant wait to get out there in about 5 more weeks !
    Tight lines

    1. Oh yeah the Van Staal was a necessity during this trip. I would of been lost without it.

      I will definitely keep the videos coming. 2016 is shaping up to be a great season!

  4. Congrats to you Ryan ! That was one amazing roosterfish you landed. I just watched the video, an epic surf catch. Your one heck of a fisherman, Ryan. Feeding many in need, very cool too.
    Happy New Year !

    1. It was definitely an unreal experience Mark!

      So fortunate to have been there when that big Rooster decided to come within casting range.

  5. Ryan, sounds like you had a great trip, and the fishing was outstanding. Now that you have had a chance to reflect on your trip was there any equipment that you wish you had brought with you that you didn’t, or was there stuff that you brought that you wish you didn’t? I’m headed down that way in March and deciding on tackle.

    1. I would definitely bring another Offshore Angler travel rod (I mention the rod specs below in the comments). I think having a backup would of been good. I kept thinking, what would I do if this rod was to break?

      I would also bring a cast net and a seine net (however I would have to do some research and make sure there are no regulations against seine nets). With a net I could of caught mullet and then tried live-lining them.

      Next time I will also bring hand-lines. I think catching a big Rooster from shore using a handline would be something!

      Here’s a link to PDF which outlines the gear I brought. I wrote this on the airplane ride to Costa Rica, and haven’t had a chance to edit/proofread, so just keep that in mind while reading:

      Hope that helps and definitely let us know how your trip goes! I would like to hear more about it.

  6. Great Adventure for you two and we all got to enjoy it too.

    1. Very happy you enjoyed the trip Mark! Can’t wait to go on another.

  7. Very enjoyable reads. Thank you. Glad you got home safely and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks Frank, much appreciated. Pumped you enjoyed reading about the trip.

      Hope you had a good Xmas and happy early New Year!

  8. Merry Christmas
    What model Van Staal did you use?

    1. Merry Christmas!

      I was using a Van Staal 150 sealed drag reel.

      Big thanks to MFCC member Matt Bach for letting me borrow this reel for this trip to Costa Rica.

  9. Selfishly, I’m sorry to see this adventure come to an end. I looked forward to the latest catch of the day. Your writing really brings your experiences to life for everyone and the videos and still shots are outstanding. Thanks for sharing.
    Welcome home and have a Very Merry Christmas.

    1. God willing there will be another adventure soon Tony. I am really happy to hear you enjoyed this one so much. It’s been great having you following and commenting on the posts and videos.

      Have a great Christmas and hopefully see you soon!

  10. Thanks for shareing. I was captivated from the moment you both got on the plane. Lauren’s thoughts on everything that happened were great. Thanks again. Bob in the Berkshires. Merry Christmas

    1. Very pumped to hear you enjoyed the adventure so much Bob. That is awesome and we can’t wait to go another.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours and enjoy the Berkshires!

  11. The fish arrived right on queue, the exciting ending to a wonderful trip! Bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos tambien! Feliz Navidad!

    1. So fortunate to have those big fish around, that is for sure. And we arrived home safely.

      Feliz Navidad to you, Tom and the family!

  12. Ryan and Lauren What a team you two make. Charlie Moore has nothing on you two . Great job landing that HUGE Rooster fish and Lauren I enjoyed the Video Footage of your trip immensely. Have a safe trip home and Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

    1. Lauren is a terrific teammate. I would be pretty lost without her!

      Maybe we can put together some sort of program/documentary covering this Costa Rica trip. There’s a lot we have not yet shared.

      Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas to you and yours Patrick!

  13. what amazes me is that you used only 30 lbs line to bring in that monster. Job well done! Happy holidays!

    1. I agree Emil, I thought it would be too light at first, but it seems the 30 lb braid connected to 30 lb fluoro is perfect for Roosters …. at least when fishing in sandy areas. Happy Holidays to you too!

  14. Merry Christmas Ryan … looking forward to a great season on the Caoe 2016 !

    1. Merry Christmas to you and the entire Conroy clan John!

      I have a feeling 2016 will be a great season on Cape Cod. I plan on trying for a holdover striper right after the New Year.

  15. Ryan, great trip and great reports – glad you could feed the village, a wonderful holiday treat for them. Have a safe trip home and the best of holidays to you and Lauren.

    1. Very happy you enjoyed it all Lori, as always great having you as part of MFCC.

      The meat went quick! Felt good giving it away, and the best of holidays to you and your family.

  16. Praise The Lord for such a wonderful adventure. It seams like the fish just got bigger and bigger and you helped out the locals at the end.
    What kind of: rod and leader did you use? How often did you tie new knots?
    Traveling mercies in Jesus’s name.

    1. Very grateful that things turned out so well. The fish cooperated and we met some great people too.

      I used four feet of 30 pound Seagur fluorocarbon as a leader, connected to 300 yards of 30 pound Power Pro braided line. I tied new knots and replaced the leader whenever I found fray or knicks…..probably twice per week.

      The rod is built by Offshore Angler and it is a 3 piece “Ocean Master Travel Series” from Bass Pro Shops in Foxboro. Here are the specs:

      Model #: OMXTMS
      Length: 7ft
      Rated for 5/8 to 2-1/4 oz lures and 12-20lb line
      Power: Medium

      The rod worked incredibly well and I could not recommend it more highly for travel.

  17. A most wonderful adventure! Thanks for sharing in order that we might vicariously experience your piscatorial exploits. Merry Christmas to you and your families! And Best Fishes in the New Year!

    1. Pretty pumped you enjoyed the journey Peter! Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours as well.

      2016 ought to be a terrific year for fishing.

  18. WOW! That’s a bigga fish!!!! Did you keep and cook one of the filets?
    I wonder how rooster fish tastes.
    Travel safe! Happy Holidays to you and Lauren!


    1. We did eat some of the Rooster. I would say the “nape” section which is all white, and pretty much the “neck” of the fish (if fish had necks lol) was the tastiest on the grill.

      The actual red fillet of the fish was nothing to get excited about, at least cooked on the grill the way we did it.

      However I have since received a few messages from people praising Roosterfish as great sashimi. So maybe the best way to serve the deep red fillet is raw. Something worth investigating further.

      Happy Holidays to you and yours Gene!

  19. Ryan, awesome fish of a lifetime and amazing trip! Thank you both for sharing the experience. Merry Christmas!

    1. Pumped to hear you enjoyed the trip Chris! More journeys like this to come in the near future I am sure.

      Merry Christmas to you and the fam!

  20. Hello Ryan and Lauren welcome home! and Happy Holidays!
    i enjoyed every video and report from Costa Rica,glad you have a blast! thanks for sharing all the good times! cheers! Emmerson Torres

    1. Cheers to you as well Emmerson!

      We definitely fell in love with Costa Rica, the fish, animals, jungle and the people were all terrific.

      Happy Holidays!

  21. I don’t know Ryan, I’m starting to have second thoughts about going to Costa Rica now. With our 60 degree winters I think we will have all the rooster fish we want right from the shores of Buzzards Bay next summer!
    Not north of The Cape of course, much too cold there….

    Welcome home and Merry Christmas!

    1. LOL yeah no kidding, pretty mild back here in Massachusetts right now!

      You just never know what might be swimming in Buzzard’s Bay – such as that sailfish that was caught in the Canal a few years back.

      Great having you following along with MFCC and Merry Christmas to you, Hin Mui and the family!


    1. Thanks buddy! They fight like hell!

  23. Another riveting video, Ryan. And congrats on your largest fish from shore ever. Did you yourself eat any of the roosterfish? Did it taste like chicken?

    1. We did eat some of the Roosterfish and it was not as “bad” as many people post about online.

      Most of the fish is a deep red which was not all that great on the grill. However I am being told that it makes for great sashimi.

      The part I definitely enjoyed was the white meat of the Rooster’s “nape” which is the neck section of the fish (if fish had necks lol).

      I am sure there is a traditional Costa Rican way of cooking/eating Rooster. Perhaps someone who knows will read this comment and post below with more information.

  24. Awsome Fish!!!! Ur a Lucky Guy, Beautiful Fish and a Beautiful Girlfriend. “Happy Holidays” How do I join?

    1. It sure was an awesome fish and a great fight! Very lucky to have hit those fish and met Lauren 6+ years ago.

      Happy Holidays to you as well Daniel and thanks for following the Costa Rica adventure.

      I see you asked in your comment > “How do I join?”

      Are you looking to join MFCC as a member? Let me know and thanks!

  25. That is one heck of a fish! The time spent fishing clearly paid off! Congrats

    1. Fishing for Roosters from shore is actually very similar to tuna fishing.

      I probably cast well over 1,000 times and spent dozens of hours in the water to get those 3 Roosterfish.

      Definitely worth the time and effort though!

  26. sounds like quite the trip! I’m chopping at the bit to try rooster fishing from the shore next time I’m in Cabo visiting the wife’s family. Thanks for sharing

    1. Awesome! I hear Cabo is a good spot. Never been there but I’ve heard good things. I would definitely be interested in hearing how things go for you.

  27. What a great experience for you and Lauren. I may take a trip to C.R.with Mum, but stay at a resort. The videos, and stories have prompted this old guy to get out of the house this winter. Merry Christmas to all at MFCC.

    1. Sounds good.

      I will see you, Mom and Katelyn in just a little bit at the airport.

      Ought to be a fun Christmas!

  28. Thank you for sharing the trip with us and the fish with your new friends.. It was been great seeing the videos of the fish being caught and Lauren’s reports have been wonderful insights about the trip and the locale. You made some great memories and your sharing them with us has been a real treat. Best wishes for safe travels.

    1. Been great having you following along Richard. I always enjoy reading your comments.

      I’m also really looking forward to publishing your Cape Cod shellfishing report. Nicely done!

  29. It is obvious that this experience has made a huge impact on you and Lauren, both personally and professionally. Thank you for sharing with all of us and enjoy your homecoming with your family.

    1. Absolutely Dex. Been a great experience and I can’t wait to go somewhere else and fish for some new species.

      Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

      1. It has been great watching you catch those big Roosters and Jacks. Very cool. We kept the Cape warm to ease your acclimatization. Great videos.

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