Roosterfish fishing

Just by looking at a roosterfish (Nematistius pectoralis), you can immediately tell how they got their name. Their trademark dorsal fin resembles a giant mohawk or the comb of a rooster. Beyond the dorsal fins, the rest of the roosterfish body is unique as well.

Many roosterfish are taken on poppers and stickbaits worked along sandy beaches. But according to experienced fishing guides, large roosters are found more often in deeper waters and prefer live bait rigged with a circle hook.

Roosterfish are an endemic species of the warmer coastal waters of the East Pacific from Baja California to Peru. The biggest roosters weigh more than 60lb.

Roosterfish fishing

Top Roosterfish Fishing destinations

Roosterfish, thriving in warmer waters of the Pacific from Central America to California, are best found in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, and notably, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This Mexican hotspot is not only scenically beautiful but also ideal for anglers targeting roosterfish, thanks to its warm, nutrient-rich currents. Predominantly found in the Eastern Pacific, Cabo San Lucas stands out as a unique and sought-after destination for sportfishing enthusiasts eager to catch this distinctive species.

How to fish for Roosterfish

The best way to catch roosterfish is with live bait. Slowly troll a line with a larger baitfish on it. Roosterfish might apprehensively nibble at the fish before hooking on, so don’t reel in prematurely. A recommended bait is skipjack tuna, although any bait per the recommendation of the local bait shop will work.

If you prefer to use lures over live bait, many recommend using loud poppers on the backside of waves. Others recommend lures that skip along the top of the water. Lures aren’t the recommended way to catch roosters, but it’s possible and they will attack lures if they’re aggressive.

Good to eat Roosterfish

Roosterfish are generally accepted as only an okay fish to eat. Their meat is darker than most fish meat and can be tough, so it’s more of an acquired fish taste and not for those who are on the fence about eating live caught fish. Many people just opt to catch and release roosterfish.

Regulations for catching Roosterfish

Most state and national governments have loose restrictions, if any at all, on roosterfish since they are not an endangered or overfished population as of right now. Make sure to check local restrictions regardless.

Regulations vary by location, so make sure to stay up to date with the regulations in your area of fishing if you plan on fishing without a charter. 

Other Fish Species similar to Roosterfish

Best Roosterfish Fishing Charters


3 22,97 ft

Isla Parida, Panama (PA)

From $1200
Deposit non-refundable

Cabo Marlini 31

5 31,00 ft

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur (MX)

From $770
Deposit non-refundable


5 37,89 ft

San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur (MX)

From $375
Deposit non-refundable

Open Panga I

2 22,00 ft

La Paz, Baja California Sur (MX)

From $475
Deposit non-refundable

Worldcat 280 CCX

8 28,00 ft

Panama, Panama (PA)

From $1100
FREE Cancellation 7 days notice

Striped Marlin

6 34,00 ft

Mazatlan, Mexico (MX)

From $550
FREE Cancellation 14 days notice


10 36,09 ft

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (MX)

From $500
Deposit non-refundable

White Marlin

10 36,00 ft

Mazatlan, Mexico (MX)

From $600
FREE Cancellation 14 days notice

North Shore Sea Tours

4 18,00 ft

Porto Formoso, Azores (PT)

From $106
Deposit non-refundable