Ross prefers an incoming tide and full moon, claiming the stronger tides result in cleaner water, which makes it easier for the sailfish to see their prey and for anglers to spot them.
“Throughout the day, these fish move up onto the patches and feed aggressively in blitzes that last for 45 minutes or an hour,” explains Ross. “Then they’ll retreat into deeper water, around that 110- to 120-foot range. I’ll be in the tower and see them working as a group as they move in. Some will be high, some down low. They corral the ballyhoo and feed on them in an organized manner.
“When the sails slide out deep, we’ll either kite-fish while waiting on their return to the patches, or slowly ride along in 60 feet, looking for them as they begin staging for their move to the shallows. When we see them here, they may not be quite as aggressive. Sometimes it takes live-chumming to get them going.”
Ross explains that the peak rally is generally late afternoon, usually between 4 and 5 p.m. Outside of that, it’s all about watching for periodic blitzes throughout the day.