Roosterfish
Pez Gallo
(Nematistius pectoralis)

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: The Roosterfish fish, characterized by its spectacular "rooster comb," is one of the world's most exotic fish species. Roosterfish identification is about as easy as it gets. No other fish looks anything like this true oddball.

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

The Roosterfish is widely distributed throughout all fishing waters of Mexico, including all offshore islands. It is viewed as a prized game fish that can generate an adrenaline rush as it chases live bait on the surface. Once hooked it is one of the strongest hombres in the sea. In Mexican sportfishing areas, it is called "pez gallo."

The Roosterfish is normally a “catch and release” species, as its food value is poor.

This fish species has been reported to reach over four feet in length and up to 114 pounds (the current I.G.F.A. Roosterfish world record, with the fish caught in Mexican waters), and is found along the beach, predominately during warm seasons with water temperatures in excess of 80 degrees, and at depths of up to 100 feet.

The Roosterfish is a true visual phenomenon. It feeds on sardines and other small silvery fishes and travels in packs chasing food onto the shore.

It is usually caught with slowly trolled mullet, ladyfish, or sardines just outside the surf line, outwards from shore to about a quarter-mile. It has also been caught with good regularity from shore using Ranger Plugs and Klassen Poppers, and can also be caught by fly casting

The Roosterfish is a member of the Carangidae or Jack Family, but it looks like no other jack.

Roosterfish fish picture

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: Caught during a fishing trip with Captain Pata in the panga Salome, at La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, midmorning in August 2002, on the surface in 84-degree water, 100 yards from shore, utilizing 30-pound test line and size 7/0 hook baited with a live mullet, 20 miles north of La Playita. Size approximately 20 inches, and 15 pounds. A strong hombre that makes long runs. Viewed by locals as marginal table fare and this is normally released. One of the true exotics of the world. Description and photo courtesy John Snow.

Roosterfish fish picture

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: A specimen unofficially weighed at 110 pounds. Photo courtesy Pisces Fleet, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Roosterfish fish picture

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: Yvonne Graham of Baja On The Fly with an East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico, roosterfish caught while fishing on fly tackle. Courtesy Gary Graham.

Roosterfish fish picture

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: Jeff Klassen with big surf roosterfish caught during fishing near Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Photo courtesy Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas.

Roosterfish fish picture

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: A roosterfish caught while fishing on the fly at East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Photo courtesy Gary Graham, Baja On The Fly.

Roosterfish fish picture

Roosterfish, Nematistius pectoralis: A 100-pound class roosterfish caught at East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico, 2003. Photo courtesy Werner Hradecky.

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