Our host and guide Chia Zeng Juang with the first roosterfish of the trip.
Roger Mortimore travels 12,000 miles to target El Salvador's silver predators - the stunning rooster fish.
Let’s get one thing straight, my work involves fishing and writing about fishing and my holidays are arranged around fishing-trips – if there are no fish there - I don’t go! The term holidays is perhaps a misnomer, I used to have holidays when I was young but now I have fishing adventures and my latest adventure was a 12,000 mile round trip to El Salvador in central America. It came about through my old friend Nick Meyer, president of Texas-based Breakwayusa and TSF’s US correspondent. Nick sold some of his tackle to a guy called Chia Zeng Juang in El Salvador who invited him down to fish the area in the spring of 2011, when I saw the result of his catches, I just had to join him on his next trip. The roosterfish is a species I’d wanted to add to my list for years and here was my chance, this exotic fish only lives in the warm waters from Mexico down to north western South America and El Salvador is one of the hotspots. With flights booked and gear packed I set off full off excitement and I wasn’t disappointed, our first session produced loads of jack crevalle and a new personal best 22lb black snook for me plus two roosters for Chia Zeng, Nick and I missed out as we had follows that didn’t take. All our fishing was with big topwater lures and to me, it’s the most exciting way to fish. Our next few sessions gave jacks and snook and snappers but no roosters, we have to get one! The best fishing is either at high tide or dead low so we set off one afternoon two hours before low to get on the mark ready to fish the first of the flood, we arrived to see the water exploding with baitfish and tackled up as quick as we could. For almost an hour we hooked-up every cast with hard-fighting jack crevalle, these fish will wear you down as I used the same gear I’d use for UK bassing, it took at least 10 minutes to land a fish, then you had to sit down to recover. When this blitz had finished we sat on a log to rest and drink water and prepare for the first of the flood tide. Thirty minutes after low it kicked off big style, mullet were flying out of the water everywhere and we could see the huge dorsal fins of the roosters as they chased the bait. We ran down to the waters-edge and started casting our lures and Nick was in first with a rooster of around 25lb that gave him one hell-of-a-fight. I was testing a Daiwa Tournament Global Travel rod and blasted a lure out about 100 metres and started winding-in fast, a huge fin appeared behind the lure and began chasing it, this is when you forget about being tired and keep winding as fast as you can. Words cannot explain the feeling of when a roosterfish hits your lure and line melts off the reel – Awesome is the nearest I can get! It may have only taken 10 minutes to tame the fish but when 35lb of rooster was cradled in my arms, It was mission accomplished and a lifetime ambition achieved! It was an incredible trip to a wonderful country and I’ll be back for more next year but you can read the full story of this exciting trip in the February 2012 issue of TSF – don’t miss it! Roger Mortimore