06 Feb

Tips and Tricks to Catching Roosterfish in Panama

The roosterfish is one of the most unique looking fish patrolling the world’s oceans. It gets its name from the giant, distinctive dorsal fin on the top of their powerful bodies. The tall, comb-like fin is distinctive and easily spotted when the fish breaks the surface on the hunt for baitfish. Typically, the roosterfish hunts close to the shore—so close, in fact, that they can beach themselves looking for food. It’s also not uncommon to catch one of these monsters from shore. Because the roosterfish prefers the warmer water temperatures of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, it’s no surprise that Panama rooster fishing is among the best in the world. Here, we share some tips and tricks to catching roosterfish in Panama, so you can land one of these beautiful predators.

Where to Find Them

Roosterfish prefer warmer water, so finding them on either coast of Panama is easy. They especially like sandy bottoms and rocky points with plenty of cover. Roosterfish follow schools of baitfish, so knowing where they will help in finding the roosterfish. They are migratory fish, following the food and covering hundreds of miles in the process. Areas full of roosterfish can become barren and devoid of them fast. Even though roosterfish are poor tasting, many fishermen still go after them due to their size and ability to put up a prolonged fight when hooked. Most will release the fish catching them, but not before snapping a few pictures.

Tackle and Techniques

Roosterfish are great for light tackle anglers because they max out around 100 pounds, and average around 60 pounds. They fight hard like all the members of the jack family, but they don’t run for the cover of rocks once hooked. You can land one of these fish because of this, so there’s no risk of breaking the line on jagged rocks. Roosterfish eagerly attack lures and bait, so a basic set up of a crank and live bait is best for attracting one. You’ll see their impressive dorsal fin breaking the surface while feeding, so they almost dare you to catch them.

Lures and Baits

Most roosterfish, especially the larger ones, aren’t easy to land on lures. They will take poppers from time to time if fishermen don’t retrieve them quickly. Most times, however, the fish will just follow it then turn away without striking. Lures that skip on the surface are tempting to a roosterfish when they are acting aggressively. What is irresistible to them though is live bait. Dead baits will work, but if you really want to bring in a monster, then live bait is the way to go. Slow trolling with large, live bait will get one for sure. The fish will play with the bait for a while, so you must be patient and make sure they have taken the whole bait before setting the hook. A live skipjack tuna in the three- to four-pound range is the best way to go.