While just about any fish is great to catch, one of our favorite is the big rooster fish that live all along the mid-pacific beaches & reefs. Most places the rooster fish is a catch and release game fish, but they’ve been known to be eaten by locals. If you ever find yourself opposite the business end of a pole and a dead rooster at your feet, there is a supposedly delicious way to prepare the very red meat rooster.
This recipe on how to cook rooster fish was given to us by locals in Costa Rica:
Filet the fish like you would a snapper (See how to filet a mutton snapper here).
Clean the fish well, remove veins, and any other scraps hanging on to the meat
Next is to salt and dry the meat in the sun for 2 days
After that you can slice it thin and fry it (with or without breading), eat it plain as an appetizer or add it to sandwiches, wraps, tacos, etc.
Fortunately We haven’t had to give the recipe a test as recently the roosters have all managed to make it and swim away, if not a bit worse for the wear! Roosters put up quite a fight and small ones will come out of the water often, they have beautiful plumes in place of the dorsal fin which give them a unique look. They fight hard with head shakes and big runs. Its a must have picture in any anglers gallery (or better yet a video)!
You can snag these beauties in a variety of ways, they are ferocious eaters and can be snagged trolling lures or live bait, jigging, with top water poppers around rocks and baitballs, bottom dropping chunks of bait, or free-spooling live bait (sardines, blue runners, bonita, mullet, and anything else that wiggles). They are most often found around beaches and rocks in mostly shallower waters, though we’ve seen big ones in some deep water. The often travel is small groups, so be ready with a pitch bait or a popper when one hits, there are usually 2-3 around it! The bigger they get the smaller the group becomes with a big ones 80+lbs lurking around alone.
Here is a little compilation video of all the rooster catches over the past couple of months in Costa Rica, Check it out!