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Roosterfish in Costa Rica | Insane Kayak Fishing

Ryan Collins

This past winter my wife Lauren and I guided two awesome groups of MFCC anglers and their wives in Costa Rica. We explored the jungle together, saw sloths and monkeys, and of course went fishing!

If you'd like to learn more about the area of Costa Rica we visited, then please head over to 👉 https://arenaalta.com.

The fishing from the beach in the days leading up to this kayak trip had been unusually slow. However, when I woke up on the morning of February 4th 2019, I saw huge topwater explosions about a mile offshore. 

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I hustled to get my gear together, and within minutes I was dragging a small $5/hour rental kayak down to the beach.

I paddled offshore and encountered what was arguably the most heart-pounding fishing experience of my entire life.

Giant roosterfish and monster jack crevalles were smashing sardines all over the surface. The roosterfish were all huge.

At times I could actually see them cruising beneath my kayak.

The fish would erupt on sardines, then settle and relax for 15 minutes, before erupting and crashing on sardines on again. IT WAS WILD!

About a dozen frigate birds were circling in the sky above, watching the roosterfish and the sardines. I paddled hard to keep up with the frigates and the fish, which were traveling at a good clip. 


Heart-Pounding Rooster Blitz
Full-Length Video

The roosterfish moved so fast that keeping up proved to be quite the challenge. I would paddle like a maniac in order to get a cast into the fish, only to have them disappear and pop up a half mile away.

In between feeds the roosters would "relax" and mill about my kayak, sometimes even swimming circles around me. It was surreal seeing giant roosterfish calmly swimming just a yard or two away.

I could almost touch them!

Finally, at the 18:14 mark in the video below, I was able to place my popper into the middle of a blitz. I pumped and chugged the popper through the water, and elicited a monstrous topwater hit from a roosterfish which I'm guessing weighed around 50 pounds. 

The fight was incredible, and I did as good a job as possible reviving and releasing the fish. I hope, and have a good feeling, that she survived ✌🏻

You can watch the full 40 minute video below, or you can watch a quick 60 second recap here.

Timestamps:

  • 09:30 - shot of the Halco Roosta popper
  • 10:22 - bubble trail action retrieve technique
  • 10:39 - popping action retrieve technique
  • 12:39 - first confirmed sighting of roosterfish
  • 13:08 - underwater footage of roosterfish
  • 16:45 - second sighting of roosterfish
  • 17:28 - huge topwater explosions of roosterfish
  • 18:13 - big hit and crazy hookup!
  • 21:52 - getting pulled all over the place by the big rooster
  • 25:43 - roosterfish comes to the surface
  • 27:31 - unhooking the roosterfish
  • 31:20 - underwater shots of roosterfish next to the kayak
  • 34:48 - really nice underwater shot
  • 38:10 - roosterfish swims away

Equipment:


In Conclusion

One roosterfish was sufficient for me.

Roosters are incredible creatures and unbelievable sport fish. I'm confident I could of hooked up several more times, but I was content, and saw no point in harming another rooster.

But you can bet a million dollars I was back out there the next morning!

The next day I paddled back out and experienced action which was just as intense - but I'll save that for next Saturday's video...

If you'd like to learn more about the area of Costa Rica we visited, then please head over to 👉 arenaalta.com.

Tight lines!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Hey Ryan–After watching that video I plan on coming down again and finding a near shore blitz with you like that one. Roosters will be on top of my bucket list ’till then—– Tom

    Reply
    1. Hey Tom! 👋Has the snow finally melted in your area? LOL.

      That sounds like a good idea to me. Next time we all just need to keep our eyes peeled on the horizon and watch for big roosterfish explosions. They seem to show up without much warning.

      I hope you and Patti are doing well!

      Reply
      1. Ryan,
        We had an inch of snow yesterday on my steelhead stream
        with windchill below freezing—just nuts! If we get a lot at Arenaalta, maybe we’ll stay there ’till mid May:)
        Looks like you’ve patterned those Roosters so can’t wait to get back down there. Hope you and Lauren enjoy a great summer back on the Cape —Tom

        Reply
  2. What a catch! had your hands (and feet) full for that one, Ryan. Might be time to pursue a Hobie sponsorship if you’re going to be catching monsters like that!?!?! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Doug. That was a crazy day for sure! Hobie would be nice but the Old Town Predator kayak has also recently caught my eye.

      Honestly though, I had no idea that a kayak fishery existed just off the beach where we go in Costa Rica. Unreal experience and I’m already chomping at the bit to get back down there and try again!

      Reply
  3. Amazing catch, Ryan! I’m very jealous. Nice job on the release too.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Chris. Roosterfish are amazing creatures. I got super lucky and I’m glad that fish swam away.

      Reply
  4. Nice work with the C.P.R. Amazing place.

    Reply
    1. Thank you. Can’t wait to go back!

      Reply
  5. Unbelievable! What an experience! So glad the fish was revived and lived! Great catch, super video to watch! Great job Ryan! I felt like I was right there with you! Exciting! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Costa Rica is a special place for sure 🎣

      Reply
      1. Hi Ryan,
        Looks like you had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. Ironically, I was in Costa Rica at the same time as you. We stayed a little north of you on the Papagayo Peninsula. I was able to charter a boat and caught a beautiful mahi-mahi , close to 40 lbs, on a dock plug close to shore. Costa Rica is a wonderful resort or fishing destination with great natural beauty and great people.
        Pura Vida!

        Reply

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