Everything you need to know about Roosterfish

The Roosterfish (Nematistius pectoralis) is a species that inhabits the warm waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, from Baja California to Peru, including the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Nayarit. Known for its distinctive appearance and aggressive fighting style, the Roosterfish is a popular target for anglers seeking an exciting challenge.

One of the most striking features of the Roosterfish is its dorsal fin, which consists of seven long, distinctive spines. When raised, these spines resemble the comb of a rooster, hence the fish’s name. This unique dorsal fin is one of the key identifying characteristics of the Roosterfish, making it easily recognizable to anglers and researchers alike.

Roosterfish are typically found in nearshore waters, often close to rocky outcrops, reefs, and other structures where they can ambush prey. They are known to feed on a variety of smaller fish species, including sardines, mullet, and anchovies, as well as squid and crustaceans. This varied diet, combined with their predatory nature, makes Roosterfish a challenging and rewarding target for anglers.


Rooster fish

Roosterfish can grow to impressive proportions, with specimens exceeding 100 pounds not uncommon in Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Nayarit. (see video here) However, most Roosterfish caught by anglers are in the 20 to 50-pound range, making them a formidable opponent on light tackle. Their powerful, fast-paced fights are one of the main reasons anglers are drawn to target Roosterfish, as they provide a thrilling challenge that requires skill and determination to overcome. At Puerto Vallarta Fishing Tours, we are able to find the roosterfish and take you to that spot, if you want a good fight, this is the way to go.

Roosterfish are known for their acrobatic displays when hooked, often leaping out of the water in an effort to shake the hook. This behavior, combined with their strong runs and sudden changes of direction, makes them a challenging fish to land. Anglers targeting Roosterfish must be prepared for a battle and must use strong tackle and proper techniques to successfully land these powerful fish.

How to catch a Roosterfish

In terms of fishing techniques, Roosterfish are often caught using live bait, such as sardines or mullet, which are fished near the surface or along the bottom. Artificial lures, such as poppers, jigs, and swimbaits, can also be effective when targeting Roosterfish, especially when casting to feeding fish or fishing around structure.

Roosterfish are not typically considered a commercially important species, as they are not widely sought after for food. However, they are highly prized by recreational anglers, who value them for their fighting ability, striking appearance, and the thrill of the chase. As a result, Roosterfish are often caught and released by anglers, who appreciate the opportunity to test their skills against this impressive species.

The Roosterfish is a remarkable fish that offers anglers a thrilling challenge and a memorable fishing experience. With its distinctive appearance, powerful fighting style, and impressive size, the Roosterfish is a prized catch for anglers in the Eastern Pacific and a species that is sure to continue captivating anglers for generations to come.

We’ve had great success with roosterfish at Puerto Vallarta fishing tours.  Here is a lonk to an absolutely massive roosterfish caught recently on one of our trips.  Video 

Rooster fish are not the best eating fish, so we usually release  them.  I will write an article soon on coocking and eating roosterfish.  Here is a video of us releasing a roosterfish. Releasing the Roosterfish

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