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Fishing for GIANT Roosterfish in Costa Rica from the Kayak

Ryan Collins

With the Cape Cod saltwater fishing season about to kick-off, this will be the last "Costa Rica Saturday" blog post for quite some time.

If you watched the roosterfish kayak video from last weekend, then you may of noticed how difficult of a time I had removing two sets of razor sharp treble hooks from deep in the mouth of a huge roosterfish which was thrashing at the side of my kayak.


When I prepared my tackle for Day #2, I made a decision to swap out the treble hooks with one big single hook.

In addition, I decided to use one big single circle hook on the tail end of the Halco Roosta Popper. I hoped this would make releasing the roosters much easier and far less dangerous for the fish, and for me!

I was not all that concerned about potentially missing a fish or two due to size 9/0 circle hook, because there were literally hundreds of roosterfish feeding off the beach.

Sure enough I would end up missing two giant roosterfish during this trip because I did not have treble hooks on the lure.

However, the third big rooster of the day got hooked perfectly in the corner of the jaw. Releasing that fish was 100x easier than dealing with the trebles, as you will see below. 👇

Giant Roosterfish Snaps Travel Rod In Half

Unfortunately, I had broken the tip off my 7'6"ft St. Croix travel rod while paddling into shore during my previous trip. This was devastating, because now my only option was my 9ft surf rod, which would be much more challenging to use from my kayak.

So what I (in hindsight) foolishly decided to do was take the tip section of the 9ft surf rod and electrical tape it to the 7ft travel rod. It actually looked good and the "Frankenstein" setup cast exceptionally well. It would be much easier to use from the kayak than the big surf rod. 

This second kayak trip for roosterfish was pretty much just as nutty as the first. Big roosters were exploding on sardines all around me, and I could see giant roosters cruising beneath my kayak. I even got the chance to follow a manta ray around for a few minutes.

At around 7:30am I hooked a monster roosterfish on my "Frankenstein" rod, which exploded in half about midway through the fight. Fortunately I was still able to land the fish, revive the big rooster, and enjoy a successful release despite the shattered rod!

You can watch it all unfold and learn more about how to catch roosterfish from a kayak by clicking play below. 👇


  • 01:07 - Halco Roosta popper with circle hook
  • 03:00 - video of the beach, and launching kayak
  • 05:45 - mantay ray sighting (underwater footage)
  • 07:28 - first roosterfish sighting
  • 09:00 - paddling into big roosterfish feeds
  • 11:52 - hook up #1 but roosterfish came loose
  • 14:51 - hook up #2 but roosterfish came loose again!
  • 16:34 - lure gets chased right to the kayak by several roosters
  • 16:52 - big hit and hooked up with another roosterfish!
  • 19:01 - rod snaps in half!
  • 21:20 - discovering the "upside down" reel technique
  • 22:51 - roosterfish surfaces next to kayak
  • 23:24 - rooster starts thrashing next to kayak!
  • 24:00 - easy hook removal
  • 25:35 - rooster almost takes my rod overboard as he swims away


In Conclusion

Chasing down full grown adult roosterfish from the kayak this past winter in Costa Rica was definitely one of the most exhilarating fishing experiences of my entire life.

Roosters are incredible creatures and unbelievable sport fish. Plus the people, the wildlife and the beach, make the Playa Zancudo area very special. It's really become a home away from home for Lauren and I.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, with the Cape Cod saltwater fishing season about to kick-off, this will be the last "Costa Rica Saturday" blog post for quite some time.

Thank you for following along with our 2019 adventure to Costa Rica!

Tight lines 🎣

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Unbelievable experience! Great job figuring it all out!

    1. It’s an awesome place and I’m looking forward to getting back 🎣

  2. That was wild. Whatever it takes. Old Man and the Sean, Hemingwayesque.

    1. Next challenge is to get one on the fly rod!

  3. Wow! Awesome battle. How did that line not break when that rod snapped? Just crazy!

    1. Hey Justin 👋Hope things are well bud!

      Well I definitely got lucky, but fortunately the sides of the kayak are pretty smooth, which helped prevent the braid from breaking.

      Turning the reel upside down worked surprisingly well. All I can say is kayak fishing for roosterfish is a wild experience!


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