Long Island, Bahamas is a narrow spit of land which sits astride the eastern edge of the Bahama Bank, a few miles from Crooked Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay, where blue and white marlin, big dolphin and giant wahoo roam. It is on the road much less traveled, but for those who have stumbled across this island gem, that is one of its most alluring charms: strikingly beautiful and situated within easy reach of some of the best billfishing in The Bahamas.
Long Island is approximately 80 miles from north to south, and about 4 miles at its widest point. The eastern shoreline is comprised of rugged coastline—and some of The Bahamas’ most stunningly beautiful beaches—while the west is dotted with cays, coral heads and bonefish flats that stretch to the horizon. The center of offshore fishing is the harbor at Clarence Town and Flying Fish Marina. Long recognized as a reliable fuel stop for sport-fishing boats headed to or from the Caribbean, the marina offers a much wider range of services. The harbor is tranquil with beautiful houses on the surrounding hills and wide sand beaches nearby. A short walk from the marina is the Rowdy Boys restaurant on the beach, serving up locally caught seafood and island cuisine; the Friday night pig roast is not to be missed. A little further up the hill is Nana’s Bakery, where you can get fresh island breads and wonderful homemade sandwiches.
According to Flying Fish manager Jason Edler, an accomplished sport-fish captain in his own right, the best wahoo fishing is October through mid-March, and nearby Columbus Bank consistently produces fish to 90 pounds. Yellowfin tuna are in abundance March through May, white marlin in April and May, and blue marlin from May through early July. Simms Bar, also called the Finger, produces a lot of wahoo and a surprising number of marlin and is only six miles from the marina. Bottom and deep-drop fishing are available year-round with the typical Bahamian fare of snappers, grouper and wreckfish.
The thing about Long Island that keeps serious bluewater fishermen coming back is its proximity to so many remote places to fish. Pick a direction and you can be on prime marlin fishing grounds quickly, with day trips or overnighters to Conception Island, Rum Cay, Crooked Island and the Acklins. The Diana Bank offers some of the most consistent fishing for pelagic species anywhere in The Bahamas. The upwellings it creates when the current is striking it starts the whole circle of life with plankton blooms, bait, small predators and then the tuna and billfish, and its only a 28-mile run from the marina.
A favorite overnight trip is to Samana Cay, about 70 miles east-southeast, where the tuna almost always oblige, and big blue marlin are frequently in residence. Blues to over 600 pounds have been taken there in recent years.
About eight miles north of Clarence Town on Queen’s Road is Lloyds Restaurant, located across the street from the turn-off for Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest inland blue hole in the world, plunging to over 650 feet. Further north is another community centered around the Stella Maris airport. There are several restaurants, a secluded hideaway called Tiny’s Hurricane Hole, and the beautiful Stella Maris Beach Resort that is situated on the oceanfront. At the extreme end of the island is the Cape Santa Maria Beach, considered one of the ten most spectacular beaches in the world where the sand is soft and white as snow and stretches for miles. The Cape Santa Maria Resort is on that beach and is about as secluded as anywhere on earth, so if getting away from it all is on your agenda this could be the place for you.
Long Island is an adventurer’s getaway with no crowds or cruise ships and some of the finest bluewater and flats fishing to be found anywhere in the world.