Info on fly fishing for Roosterfish?


I am heading to the La Paz Baha Mexico for the Christmas break to do some Kayaking and hopefuly some fishing. We plan to spend much of the time kayaking around Isla de Espiritu Santos. Based on what I have read my best bet for fishing at this time of year is to go after Yellowtail and Roosterfish. As for the Yellowtail I figure my only chance is to troll while we are kayaking around and hope I get lucky. As for the Roosterfish I have read a few things about fishing for them but not much about fly fishing. They tend to feed on baitfish in the surf and most people fish for them from a boat on the outside of the break. Anyone had any luck with these beasts? Techniques? Flies? I tried fishing for them this summer while on the Coracovado Pennisula in Costa Rica. I was fishing in waist deep water in light surf when some little local kid ran me over with his kayak. This ripped the mouting bolts out of my Nautilus reel and busted the tip of my Sage XI2 rod:mad: . Fishing was done for the rest of this tripbawling: . After my gear was trashed I saw a number of Roosterfish and Snook taunting me!



Active Member
decievers and clousers, what more does a guy need :)

you should probably make these up in patterns that imitate the herring of the area. my favorite is white under with mouse gray over topped by peacock.

you should be using an intermediate line and perhaps a second spool with some heads of various densities. if you are really in the surf, these fish will be pretty shallow. the problem, as always, is predator fishes cruise the beaches so the real problem is just finding them.

i have successfully only fished from outside the surf line in a boat or over blue water reefs that were reachable with my head system.

have fun. these fish deserve the bull dog reputation they have earned. hard to imagine a tougher fish, # 4 #.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Here are a few sites to check out. All of these folks have extensive experience fishing Baja. Good selection of patterns to look at also. Enything that looks like a sardine will work. Also take some brown mullet patterns.
I've caught small roosters off the beaches in Cabo using clousers in all white or gray & white. They can be really spooky and tough to get to eat the fly. The bigger they get the harder you have to work for them. Stripping super fast while sitting in a kayak may be tough. There should also be some sierra and yellowtail around at that time not to mention other inshore species. The nice thing about Baja is that something is usually biting.
Also, watch out for the north wind at that time of year. It can get real nasty.
You should also post your questions about where you are going to fish on Dan Blanton's bulliten board. Great board with lots of folks that fish Baja on a regular basis.
Weekly Mexico fishing reports - New report posted every Monday and cool Fish ID photo gallery.
Hope this helps.
Dang, Tom, don't I wish I had lots of personal experience to give you recommendations. :rofl: One of these days! Have a great trip: report back on your trials and tribulations, and watch out for unlicensed kayakers.

One thing that the articles and books don't often say (but every experienced rooster angler knows) is that roosterfish are almost always a royal pain in the rear. They are snooty, smart fish that usually follow alot more than they bite. Don't be disappointed if this happens to you too. Just seeing them is a thrill though, and if you use a big, light colored saltwater streamer and strip it as fast as you possibly can, you just may get lucky. Throwing bait in the water certainly helps, but that isn't my idea of flyfishing. To each his own!

Have Fun,
Thanks for all the information. I have heard that these fish are quite a challenge, especially with fly gear. I agree with James about throwing baitfish, it just seems wrong to me somehow. This appears to be a common technique used by southeastern US anglers as well as guides in Mexico, Costa Rica ect. I gained quite a bit of respect for Roosterfish during my limited experience fishing in Costa Rica. Prior to my mishap with the Kayaker I had spent a couple of days fishing in a fresh water lagoon for Snook. On one day I was fishing the flooding tide casting to some disinterested snook when I saw a big fish rocket in to the lagoon from the ocean. There were some Mullet and Ladyfish milling around. This big fish started racing back in forth in the lagoon thrashing away at the baitfish. It came close enough for me to see the classic shape and dorsal fin of a Roosterfish. I cast a Clouser to this fish but by the time the fly hit the water the fish was already on the other side of the lagoon. This happened again and again over about 5 min. It was both pathetic and comical how ineffective I was in getting the fly in front of this fast moving fish. As quick as this fish came into the lagoon it was gone with me standing on shore slack jawed. Alpinetrout, where were you fishing in your attached picture? What was the key to your success?

Thanks again,



Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Chumming is a very acceptable practice in Mexico and other blue water fishing locations. You can be fishing and the sea may seem empty. Toss in a few sardines and things come alive. You don't have to chum, but it will greatly increase your odds of hooking up.
I feel your pain. It took me four trips to Mexico to finally catch a rooster. I had hooked a large rooster my second trip when it eat a pompano I was reeling in. That fight only lasted about 30 seconds. I caught four in one day fishing off the beach. I was pumped to hit the beach again the next morning. That night I got a severe case of Montazuma Revenge that lasted two days. A trip to the local ER ended of fishing for that vacation. Always fun to have mexican nurses speaking spanish really fast as they get ready to use the needle to get the IV started.


Banned or Parked
That fish was caught from the beach on the East Cape, Baja. There's definitely a big difference between beach fishing versus boat/chum fishing. I have nothing against chumming since I partake in it myself, but you get more style points for a sight-cast, beach-caught roosterfish than you do a chummed, boat-caught fish. If you really want to land one, go for the boat option.

I don't think there really is a "key" other than to get a perfect presentation with a perfect fly in front of as many fish as possible. I've had roosters chase the fly to my feet, literally, before refusing it. Fast retrieves seem to help, probably not only because they like fast moving prey, but also because it's that much harder for them to inspect and refuse the imperfections in your pattern. A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time. The craziest roosterfish feeding frenzy I have witnessed was this spring, not too far from La Paz. I probably saw close to 40 roosterfish crashing a bait school that afternoon. I went to the same spot the next day, the bait was there, the conditions were identical, but I only saw 3 roosterfish and they were all out of casting range. Of course, there's been plenty of other days when I haven't seen a single rooster, so it's all relative.

Chumming is acceptable in your opinion. For myself and many others, it is not our cup of tea in Mexico, blue water, or Puget Sound. What is flyfishing? That's up to the individual and his/her own sensibilities to decide.



Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Yes, I agree with you. It is acceptable to myself and many others. Chumming in Puget Sound, not sure how that came into the discussion? I won't consider Puget Sound a blue water destination, would you? Do you know folks who actually chum while fly fishing Puget Sound?
What is fly fishing you ask? You tell me. The line gets fuzzier all the time. Is trolling with a dead hookless bait to tease up a sailfish and then casting a fly to it fly fishing. Is fast trolling with a bucktail fly in the straits for silvers really fly fishing? Would Grant Hartman and his guides at Baja Anglers be better fisherman if they didn't use chum to help their fly fishing clients catch fish? I personally don't care how folks fish as long as they enjoy doing it.

My point to Tomfish was that chumming can help get you into fish. If the bite is off, you can spend lots of time blind casting without hooking up. If he decides to not use chum while fishing then that is his choice.

My "sensibilities" will stick with chumming. Thanks for your input.


Active Member
yah know chumming is something that many folks do to get fish up or within range. if you would prefer to blind cast for hours on end over a blank ocean, then by all means you should do so.

i have used a teaser on bill fish, guilty!
i have stunned herring and pitched them overboard in baja, guilty!
i have trolled feathers for dorado, guilty!
i have trolled feathers for salmon, guilty!

once the fish had come up or within range in the above scenarios, i have cast to them with flies of my own creation, guilty!

and for me, in all of those situations i have C&Rd some beautiful fishes, guilty!

go have some fun fishing your way, i don't mind at all.