Long Island might be The Bahamas’ road less traveled, but for those who have stumbled across this island gem that’s one of its most alluring charms. Strikingly beautiful, off the beaten path, and uncluttered, Long Island lies within easy reach of some of the best billfishing in The Bahamas. Add to that untold miles of virtually untouched bonefish flats that see almost no fishing pressure, and this destination quickly joins an angler’s bucket list.
A narrow spit of land— about 80 miles long from north to south, and up to 4 miles wide—Long Island sits on the eastern edge of the Bahama Bank a short run from Crooked Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay—where marlin, monster dolphin and wahoo roam.
Toward the island’s south end, Clarence Town’s harbor and the recently expanded Flying Fish Marina serve as the hub for the offshore fishing crowd. Long known as a reliable fuel stop for traveling sport-fishing boats, the marina now offers a much wider range of services.
The new two-story marina building sits at the end of a small peninsula and currently offers 21 permanent slips behind a protective seawall with plans for further expansion. Also on site: a marine store, fresh fuel, ice, Baitmaster baits and a small assortment of big-game tackle and rigging supplies.
Managed by Wendy and Jason Edler, an accomplished sportfish captain, the marina staff keeps up on all the current fishing action. A short walk away, Rowdy Boys restaurant on the beach serves up locally caught seafood and island cuisine. (Don’t miss the Friday night pig roast.) A little farther down the road and up the hill lies Nana’s Bakery, where you can get fresh island breads and wonderful homemade sandwiches.
According to Edler, the best wahoo fishing occurs October thru mid-March, and nearby Columbus Bank consistently produces ’hoos to 90 pounds. Yellowfin tuna migrate here from March through May, white marlin in April and May, and blue marlin from May through early July.
Only 6 miles from port, Simms Bar, also called The Finger, produces a lot of wahoo and a surprising number of marlin. Anglers bottomfish and deep-drop year-round for the typical Bahamian fare of snappers, groupers and wreckfish.
Long Island’s proximity to so many remote fishing spots keeps serious bluewater fishermen coming back. Pick a direction and you can be on prime fishing grounds in no time. You can make day trips or overnighters to Conception Island, Rum Cay, Crooked Island and the Acklins.
The Diana Bank, an awesome seamount, lies nearby and offers some of the most consistent fishing for pelagic species anywhere in The Bahamas. The upwellings it creates when the current strikes it start the whole circle of life with plankton blooms, bait, small predators and then the tuna and billfish, and it’s only a 28-mile run from the marina.
A favored overnight destination—Samana Cay, about 70 miles ESE—usually produces tuna, and big blue marlin are frequently in residence. Blues to more than 600-pounds have been caught there in recent years. You can always find a leeward anchorage to spend a restful night enjoying your catch of the day and sipping your favorite rum drinks.
The flats-fishing community centers around the Long Island Bonefish Lodge on Deadman’s Cay. The lodge offers accommodations and guided bonefish packages with fishing that rivals any of the more famous islands.
Long Island’s remote location means you will rarely see another angler. As the tide recedes, bonefish gather in the deeper channels that feed water onto the flats.
About eight miles north of Clarence Town on Queens Road, Lloyd’s Restaurant lies across the street from the turn-off for Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest inland blue hole in the world, plunging to more than 650 feet. It hosts the Vertical Blue Free Diving International Competition each July, but it’s worthy of a visit any time of year to take a dip in the crystalline azure waters.
Further north another community clusters around the Stella Maris Airport and includes several restaurants, a secluded hideaway called Tiny’s Hurricane Hole, and the oceanfront Stella Maris Beach Resort.
At the extreme end of the island, Cape Santa Maria Beach—considered one of the 10 most spectacular beaches in the world—features soft white sand that stretches for miles. Amid this tropical beauty lies the ultra-secluded Cape Santa Maria Resort.
If you choose to sightsee on your trip, you’ll find numerous historic churches, some dating back to the 1800s and still in use. Others like St. Mary’s, thought to be the oldest church in The Bahamas dating to 1799, stand in stark ruins, the walls and altar still erect but open to the sky.
To tap Long Island’s greatest information resource, contact Ernest Major, who offers taxi service, guided tours, and boat-provisioning services, and is the island historian. His nickname is “Dat Guy,” and he should be on your speed dial for sightseeing, finding the best restaurants and the prettiest beaches, hooking up with bonefish guides, or getting you to the right places to provision your boat. Call or text him at 242 472-3365.
Long Island is an adventurer’s getaway where there are no crowds, no cruise ships and some of the finest bluewater and flats fishing to be found anywhere in the world. Once you experience it you’ll forever want to return.