Roosterfish over 50 pounds  bite on live black Skipjack. I get them by trolling a live bait long off an outrigger, near shore where rocks are nearby creeks & rivers. Next best is a frigate mackerel dead or alive trolled off a rigger around a wash rock. After that drifting live bonitos over the same rocks I fish Cubera snapper over. 

Smaller roosters under 50 pounds are great catches with rapallas, strip baits, ballyhoo and poppers. Casting poppers has captured the most roosters of all on my boat.

When a rooster takes a live bait, a longer drop back is called for. Very often I’ve seen them fighting while holding a bait sideways in its mouth, not stuck on the hook at all. A long drop back and let the circle hook take hold by itself after pushing up the drag, so if it pulls you can drop the bait back more and he might pick it up again.

Roosters jump, they zig-zag, they change direction quickly and will swim quickly toward the boat only to run off line incredibly hard and fast once they feel the drag again. Big ones will fight themselves to near exhaustion, smaller ones come on board with too much high energy.  It’s of high importance to get the photograph quickly and get the fish back in the water alive and still strong.

It can take a hundred or more good top water casts before solidly hooking up a good sized rooster.  You might suffer through 8 jacks first. Once a rooster gets hooked the angler is ruined and will be waiting for any chance to start casting for another rooster again.  Boat a good rooster on a casting plug and you will be one proud fisherman.

Anytime of year Roosterfish are here, rainy season seems the best. But if I had to pick a month for the biggest ones, I’d guess February.




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