Friday, March 4, 2011

Trip Report: Long Island, Bahamas

In April 2006 Katie Mackey and I traveled to Long Island, the Bahamas, to fish for bonefish. We spent our first three nights at Stella Maris Resort at the north end of the island. Stella Maris is a very nice resort that caters to divers, fishermen, and families. We had a room with a great view of the Atlantic side of the island. The lodge had great food, with a different dinner menu every night.

On our first full day at Stella Maris Resort we fished with guide Docky Smith. He has a great reputation and we quickly discovered that he comes by it rightly. Docky is a total professional. He is a great communicator and was able to get Katie, a beginner at bonefishing, into quite a few bonefish. She hooked about ten and landed two. I did about the same. We mainly fished from the boat, but also spent some time wading. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with Docky. Docky also has a fly shop where you can get a wide variety of flies, quality fly fishing gear, and souvenirs.

After we left Stella Maris we rented a car and headed down to Clarence Town, at the south end of the island. We rented a lovely seaside cottage for four nights. With our car, we were easily able to explore the entire island. We visited many beaches, snorkeling spots, and roadside bonefish flats. I fished four spots on my own and did very well. Long Island has a variety of flats that can be accessed on foot, and I was very impressed with the fishing. We were fortunate to have excellent weather the entire trip. We were also consistently surprised to have beautiful beaches, flats, and sight-seeing spots all to ourselves.

We spent another day fishing with guide Colin Cartwright out of the town of Cartwrights, just south of Deadman's Cay. Colin worked very hard for us. We started out wading a huge flat that was loaded with bonefish. They were in small schools. I found them to be very spooky and picky, but hooked five or so by lunch time. Katie also had two hookups while wading, which was a first for her. After lunch we motored out to the ocean flats, where we found an abundance of small lemon sharks. Colin tied on a wire leader and a big fly and Katie cast to at least five different sharks. After about twenty minutes one of the sharks ate her fly. The 15 lb shark ran off her whole fly line and jumped clear out of the water. Katie lost the shark when it turned back towards the boat, but it was the most exciting hookup I've seen in a long time! We finished the day with some more wading, and a couple more fish for me.

Colin owns a small lodge that can sleep four. It's well appointed with a full kitchen and is right on the water where Colin keeps his boat. Just down the road is Colin's restaurant, called Ounce's Hot Spot. This place had the best food on the south end of Long Island. We particularly enjoyed the ribs and the cracked conch.

Katie and I really enjoyed Long Island and would like to go back again someday. If you're planning a trip I would be happy to talk to you about this destination.

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