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Exploring the Flavor of Roosterfish: What to Expect

The Roosterfish is a game fish found in an extensive range of water, from Peru right through to the Eastern Pacific. Anglers in Baja, California, can find this fierce fighting fish in their waters as well. But what does Roosterfish taste like?

Roosterfish does not taste particularly good. It’s meat is tough with an intense flavor. Rooster is an in-shore species and gives a good fight for enthusiastic anglers. Because the fish is not typically delicious (similarly to sturgeon), there are a few ways to cook it to ensure its palatability. 

Let’s learn more about Roosterfish as well as what does Roosterfish taste like.

What Are Roosterfish?

The Roosterfish gets its name from the long spines in its dorsal fins, also referred to as the rooster comb. The dorsal fin has seven long spines making up this trademark rooster comb. 

Many anglers find the fight this fish gives a challenge, and as such, will often target this ferocious species when sport fishing. Unfortunately, sportfishing is the primary reason for targeting this species as it is not generally a tasty fish. Many anglers have witnessed this trademark rooster comb firsthand. When this species gets excited, the long spindly spines that make up the dorsal fin rise, giving it its name. 

The roosterfish’ rooster comb is not the only physical attribute setting this fish apart from other gamefish. Unlike other fish, the Roosterfish has a swim bladder that comes into contact with the inner ear and actually penetrates the brain via the large foramen. Thanks to this odd arrangement, the swim bladder can be used to enhance the fish’s hearing

Author Note: The Roosterfish’s maximum length can top 5 feet and can weigh more than 110lb. The average Roosterfish that anglers catch, however, will generally only be around 20 lb. Because the Roosterfish is not a typically decent fish to eat, catch and release is the best option. 

Why Do Anglers Love to Catch Roosterfish?

Roosterfish caught

Anglers become hooked on Roosterfish after they hook this species for the first time. Their wild comb stands up like a mohawk when they are excited, and their shimmering blue scales are magnetic. 

For sport fishermen, the Roosterfish is a prize catch. They give a good fight and will make any angler fight for their prize catch. They are not the most graceful species. Instead, they make crazed movements that truly make them a wild species.

If you are not using the correct fishing equipment, your fishing line could snap under pressure, and these ferocious fighters could burn your drag. Roosterfish typically cannot be caught in the USA, and many anglers hunt these fighter fish in Central America. 

How to Cook Roosterfish?

Roosterfish are not easy prey for anglers, which is precisely why they are targeted. But is it tasty? Certainly not. 

But, there are some ways to cook Roosterfish so that it is more than a little palatable. But before you know how to cook Roosterfish, you’ll need to know how to fillet it. 


Use a sharp fillet knife to fillet the fish. Ensure you have a clean, flat surface to work on. As with most gamefish, you should slice the skin starting from the tail. Use your hand to hold the skin as you slice upwards, separating the skin from the meat. Roosterfish are known to have large bloodlines, which gives them a pungent and mostly unpleasant flavor. It is essential that you remove the bloodline as well as skin the fish. 

Author Note: After you have sliced the skin off the fillet, set the fillet aside with the bloodline facing upwards so that you can actually see it to separate it. To cut the bloodline out, make a cut approximately half an inch deep in a V shape. This should make it easy for you to remove the bloodline.

Once you have skinned the fish and removed the bloodline, you can begin to prepare the meat. There are many different ways to prepare the flesh. We will go other a few different ways to prepare the Roosterfish.

Roosterfish Recipe: Cubed Fish Fillets

Fried roosterfish

Cut the fillets into cubes and dust them with a dash of salt and pepper. Squeeze some fresh limes into a dish, and allow the fillets to soak in the juice with the salt and pepper. After 30 minutes, heat a pan over high heat and saute the fillets. The fillets will begin to turn a light brown color, after which you can reduce the heat and let the fish cook for approximately 5 minutes. You will know the fish is ready when the flesh feels firm to the touch. 

Is Rooster Fish the only fish you were able to catch for your dinner? Well, you might need a decent recipe to turn this fish into a tasty dish. You should not cook many delicately flavored fish with other pungent flavors, which can distract from the fish’s natural flavor. With a pungent tasting fish like the Roosterfish, however, strong flavors are exactly what you should use to hide Roosterfish’s natural nasty flavor. 

So, describing it as a nasty flavor might be a touch dramatic. But, here is a recipe that can change the taste from foul to finger-licking. 

Roosterfish Recipe: Crispy Roosterfish in Chilli and Herb Sauce

Here’s a list of ingredients for this recipe.

  • 2 x Tablespoons soy sauce (dark, if possible)
  • 3 x Tablespoons Vinegar (Red wine if possible)
  • 4 x Tablespoons raw honey
  • 8 x Roosterfish fillets
  • Some flour for dusting (rice flour works well, but any flour will do)
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

You can serve this crispy fish and spicy sauce with pasta if you like. Rice can also be used as an alternative accompaniment. 

Here’s what you’ll need for the tasty sauce.

If you can get your hands on some fresh herbs, your palate will love you! The fresher the herbs, the better. But, if you can only get store-bought herbs, that’s okay. Dried herbs can work too, but always opt for the fresh option when you can.

  • 2 x Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1x Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 x Tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 x Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • Half a tablespoon green chill, freshly chopped if possible
  • 1 x fresh clove of garlic
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 x Tablespoon yogurt, plain and unflavored
  • Salt to taste, just a pinch should do the trick


rooster fish before cooking

Here’s how to make these ingredients one of the best ingredients you’ll ever taste:

Grab a pan, and place the vinegar, honey, and soy sauce together in the pan. 

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Allow this mixture to reduce until just one-third of the mixture is left.

Remove from heat and allow the mixture to stand.

Turn the broiler on and allow it to preheat while you prepare the sauce. 

Take the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and blitz them in a blender. Once the mixture is smooth without any lumps, add some salt for seasoning. 

Now, it’s time to work with the fillets. Dust the fillets with the flour you have ready so that they do not stick. 

Add vegetable oil until it just covers the surface. Allow the oiled pan to get hot, and flash fry the fillets on the side with skin only. Once the skin has become golden brown, move the fillets to your oven dish. Place the side with the skin facing up towards the grill. 

Next up, it’s time to add the honey mixture. Using a spoon, add the mixture over the fillets in the oven dish. You can sprinkle the sesame seeds over the fillets for some extra flavor. 

Now your fillets are ready to be grilled. There is not necessarily a set time to cook the fillets under the grill, so watch the fillets until you see the coloring to indicate that they are ready. 

Author Note: Once you are satisfied, you can serve the fillets. Plate up the pasta with the sauce and the fillets, and dig in!

Catching Roosterfish

Now that you know how to turn Roosterfish into a delicious meal, you might be looking for some handy tips for landing this prized game fish.

Although Baja might have some Roosterfish, the best area to catch this trophy species is Central America’s Western coastline. Roosterfish love the warm tropical waters of Mexico right down to Ecuador. The best time of the year for Roosterfish is from April until August. This is because the water is at its clearest.

As for bait and lures, there are some considered the best lures for Roosterfish. If you get live bait, this will enhance your chances of landing this prized fish. If you aim for live bait, anglers should know that the Roosterfish has a large mouth that can easily swallow a whole bonito or even a large mullet.

For the highest chances of success, you can use a circle hook. While a small hook is generally considered ideal, the main priority should be a hook with a gape that can match these larger mouthed fish. 


Are you aiming for a large specimen of Roosterfish? The trick might lie in using a downrigger. Let the rig fish between 30 and 50 feet deep. Will this get you lots of bites? No, you will only be targeting the larger Roosterfish. But, this type of rig aims for quality over quantity. We hope you enjoyed this article on what does Roosterfish taste like.

Happy Hunting


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