Costa Rica: New Species, New Challenges

Prior to leaving I always like to read and speak to as many people as possible in order to get their tips, input, hear their experiences in order to be fully prepped and packed for the trip. Instagram and our Why Knot Fishing network are great ways to get good info, and things like this truly highlight the benefit for our extensive network of Team Captains and Team Members across the country.

Some of the key people I reached out to in this situation were Danny Guadagnoli, Crazy Alberto and one of our TeamWhyKnot Captains, Jeff Fetzcko.

After seeing some photos on instagram of Roosterfish, I reached out to Danny Guadagnoli from @surfcast_the_globe. Come to find out, Dan works with my cousin, and has fished Costa Rica a few times.

Heres a few things he had to say…

“I notice a lot of people who pursue roosters do not come from the school of thought of a New England surfcaster, so you’ll hear a lot of people emphasize the need to use poppers and Rangers and lures that skip on the surface. I would advocate to try a lot of subsurface stuff too. They commonly cruise the shallows and will crush a subsurface lure in the wash. Yes, they’re mostly out beyond the breakers so having a big top water plug can work wonders, but don’t limit yourself. The locals there catch them on bucktail jigs in the wash!


“Follow the bait like a mad man. I’ve gone with guides in Cabo who literally don’t stop moving until they’ve located a bait ball. Then they sit on that bait ball casting for hours and eventually a few roosters will come through. I’ve seen it time and time again. There’s a lot of bait where you’ll be so it should be a Rooster haven. Keep exploring and moving; eventually you’ll find fish.”

“Patience and persistence is taken to a whole new level with these fish. It takes a lot of casts sometimes to trigger a hit, but then it can explode.”

“If you’re fly fishing from shore, I recommend putting on a ranger or pencil popper (without a hook) on a spinning set up and casting it a mile. The guys in Baja do that to lure in the roosters within casting range. Great way to get a chance on a fly.”

“I use an 11 ft rod for this type of fishing. In Cabo the guys use 13′ rods haha. So it’s clearly important to cast a mile and to have some power. If you hook a big cubera snapper on a 9-10 ft striper rod you pretty much have no chance. A 50 lb Rooster will also make a striper setup look pretty childish.”

“I can’t stress this enough– stay on the move.”

Danny with a nice Rooster
 Jack Crevalle, aka Toro

Everyone knows who Alberto Knie is, and if you don’t he the founder of Tactical Anglers. I was lucky enough to catch up with Crazy Al at the Northeast Fishing Expo in Hartford, CT a couple weekends ago and come to find out,  he has fished the same spots in Costa Rica and has caught numerous trophy Roosters, Cubera and Pelagic species on fly.

His key points to think about are as follows:

  • Backup plugs, soft plastics, jig heads, hooks, split rings, leader, and line
  • 2-3+oz lures in order to cast as far as you can to breaking fish
  • Topwater plugs that will cause comotion – TA 2oz Bombpopper
  • Krocidile Spoons 2-3oz skipped across the surface as fast as you can
  • Constantly searching the beach’s for bait
  • After rain showers, the Roosters are always fired up
  • First light and evening for the best chances at Roosters on fly rods
  • 9-11′ Rods spooled with 50lb Braid / 80lb Fluro leader w/ 125# TA Power Clips
  • At night, using swim baits along the bottom near rocky structure for Cubera Snappers
  • Hammerheads are the most common shark species, hold on….
 125# Power Clips – Tactical Anglers
Alberto with a Cubera Snapper caught from SHORE!

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