Marlin and Roosterfish

"You are killing me, fish . . . But you have a right to. Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful or calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me".

Anyone who has witnessed a marlin lit up in a purple hue, its bill slicing through the surface like a mad swordsman, knows Ernest Heminway wrote from his heart Santiago's line from "The Old Man and the Sea."

Marlin are one of the most prized and sought after game fish in the world. Costa Rica is fortunate enough to have five different types of marlin roaming its cobalt seas. One unique thing about Costa Rica is that marlin can be taken any month of the year. For those set on fishing marlin in Costa Rica, go to the Pacific coast, but for the adventuresome, some operators on the Caribbean side offer blue water fishing for . . . Who really knows what's out there on the Caribbean side?

Pacific Marlin:
Pacific Blue The most frequent of the marlins taken here, three to five hundred pounders are frequently landed. Costa Rica has yet to see a grander, although several fish over 900 lbs have been taken and fish over 1000 lbs have been hooked and lost.
Black Also taken in the same waters. Several fish over 700 lbs. have been recorded and it has been reported that much larger fish have been hooked up.
Striped The fish that those lucky enough to have taken grand slams in this country are looking for. These brilliant fighters average around 150 to 200 lbs.

Atlantic Marlin:
Atlantic blue No one knows for sure the exact season because marlin fishing on the east coast has mostly been done experimentally, but February thru September seems to be more productive. One operator tried unsuccessfully in a location south of Limon but most sightings have been between Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado.
White marlin On a rare occasion a white marlin has been hooked by anglers fishing for sails or wahoo. A sailboat cruising 25 miles off the coast radioed the local lodges one day to say that white marlin were free jumping everywhere around his boat

Roosters of the Pacific
Roosterfish are one of the most sought after and exciting fishes of the inshore species that roam the entire west coast of Costa Rica. Averaging 15 to 20 pounds, forty pounds are common, and fish over 80 pounds have been taken in Costa Rican waters. Volcanic rock outcrops are one of their favorite hangouts, but they also roam behind the surflines and near the mouths of rivers that flow into the Pacific. There is no season that is better than another and roosters can be taken year round. A member of the jack family, they are edible but not considered a prime food fish.

Fishing Methods
Live bait such as a feisty blue runner or a hearty small mullet will produce the most roosters. It is best to free-line them with no weight on the line and give them a second or two after the take before setting the hook. Trolling Rapalas or similar lures will also take roosterfish as well as slow trolling belly baits on skirts. This usually produces the smaller fish in the 15 to 20 pound range. Roosterfish are one of the most difficult fish to fool on a fly. Usually a blue runner is free-lined without a hook and the roosterfish drawn to the boat and the fly presented. This can be an aggravating process because these intelligent fish will often turn their nose on a fly. When they take one, however, it is a battle to be remembered for a lifetime.

Favorite Locations For Roosterfish
Bat Islands Near the Nicaraguan border, this group of Islands are a reasonable run for boats leaving out of ports north of Flamingo. There are good numbers of roosters, snappers and wahoo to be taken here.
Catalina Islands A short run out of Flamingo, the Catalinas don't hold the same numbers of fish as the Bat Islands to the north but many a respectable catch has been taken here.
Matapalo Rock Located at the northern side of the mouth of Golfo Dulce, this area has left many a traveling angler returning home with many stories of giant roosterfish. Large cubera snapper, groupers, and amberjacks call Matapalo their home and occasionally a mako shark will surprise an angler when skyrockets 10 feet in the air after taking a bait.
Quepos The rock piles near Manuel Antonio produce good numbers of roosterfish as well as jacks, snapper and mackerel. The river mouths between Quepos and Dominical also produce good numbers of roosters as well as big black snook.
Drake Bay The endless structure that runs the coastline as well as the reef inside Cano Island make this one of the prime locations to look for roosterfish. There is less fishing pressure here than in other parts of the country due to the small number of boats and the difficulty in reaching this area. 

For information, reservations or to design a custom itinerary
Call the Tico Travel sportfishing desk toll free 1-800-493-8426

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