Roosterfish are prized for their stubbornness on the hook and, perhaps above all else, their beautiful shape and coloration.
But a large roosterfish caught Sunday in Baja California’s East Cape region looked as though it had survived an oil spill. Its flesh was covered with dark blotches, its stripes were missing, and its tail-fin was worn.
The 40- to 50-pound roosterfish was caught by crew members aboard Jen Wren, which is operated by Mark and Jennifer Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing.
Rayor said the fish ate a Spanish mackerel and was hooked east of Rancho Leonero Resort, in about 60 feet of water. His crew said the blotches were the result of odd pigmentation, and that there were no growths on the fish.
They could not explain the worn tail-fin and said the fish was safely released.
Interestingly, a roosterfish with similar markings was caught in the same area a few years ago.
Fly-fishing guide Lance Peterson posted a photo of that fish recently on his Facebook page, stating:
“Truly the oddest looking roosterfish I've ever seen. This solid specimen fought hard and swam away strong. However, its appearance would indicate it wasn't in the best of health. Note the unusual blotches on it's head and body...ranging in color from black to turquoise. What could cause this odd coloration and damage to the dorsal and caudal fins?”
Rayor, on the Jen Wren Sportfishing Facebook page, named roosterfish caught Sunday "Pigpen."
We’ve sent photos to experts and will update this post if we get any valid explanations.
–Photos show the blotched roosterfish caught aboard Jen Wren, and what a clean-looking and healthy roosterfish looks like. Credit: Jen Wren Sportfishing and Rancho Leonero Resort