Existing only in the eastern Pacific, and in a relatively narrow band of latitude from Baja California down to Peru, the roosterfish has an extraordinary appearance, including broad diagonal stripes and a comb-like dorsal fin, along with a degree of fighting power that, frankly, doesn’t even make sense. As a result, this fish is universally lusted after by saltwater anglers. And though roosters are globally rare, they’re abundant on the Wild Coast, where they’ll hit live bait, jigs and poppers.
Above is Jamie Nelson, also from Denver, with the biggest rooster landed on our trip—a 20-pounder. But roosters can get a lot bigger, including a fish I hooked on live bait that might have been two, three- or perhaps even four-times bigger than Jamie’s. (For that story, you’ll have to check out the 2019 Winter issue of Outdoor Canada magazine).
Also, smaller roosters (above) often school up and can be caught in numbers, providing some unforgettable sport. For example, our group had about 10 of scrappers. Believe it or not, a five-pound rooster fights like a 30-pound lake trout—maybe harder, actually. As I said, it doesn’t seem to make sense, but that’s saltwater fishing.