December 23

The Biggest Fish I’ve Ever Caught From Shore

59  comments

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.​

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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 ? arenaalta.com

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.

About the author 

Ryan Collins

I'm fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I've been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!


  • 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.

  • 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
    Chuck

    • 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!

  • 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 !

  • 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.

    • 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: https://myfishingcapecod.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Travel-Gear-Equipment.pdf

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

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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

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

  • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

    Gene

    • 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!

  • 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!