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Top Lodge and Guide Recommendations
Stella Maris Resort – Update coming soon
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort – Update coming soon
Winter Haven Inn, Clarence Town
This is our top choice for staying in the Clarence Town area, which is the perfect location to relax, and to enjoy the areas wonderful fishing. The Inn has 8 spacious rooms, all with ocean views, and some overlooking the pool. The on-site Rowdy Boy’s Bar and Grill serves the breakfast, lunch and dinner, authentic Bahamian fare at reasonable prices, though the lobster and steak dishes are expensive. The owners are friendly and helpful, and they can book anything you need…..fly fishing guides, car rentals, island tours, all you have to do is ask.
Chez Pierre Bahamas
DIY anglers, this is a nice spot to hang out, and you can bring the spouse, or the entire family. Six elevated cottages with spacious bedrooms, bath, and airy screened porches line this secluded Millers Bay beach location, halfway between Stella Maris and Deadman’s Cay. Chef Pierre whips up fresh innovative dishes with homegrown ingredients and daily caught seafood in the relaxing oceanfront restaurant. Explore nearby cays in sea kayaks, wade the adjacent flats for bonefish, or schedule a diving adventure through the Stella Maris marina. Fly fishing guides, car rentals, and airport transfers can be arranged. If you really want to cover the island, visit remote Atlantic beaches, and access the best southern flats, you need to rent a car.
Operated by top guide Docky Smith, is our choice as the best fly fishing guide to fish with on Long Island. Please visit Docky’s web site, which is a wealth of information on fishing in Long Island. Here you can book Docky directly, learn more about his operation and experience, see his tackle recommendations, and look at some great photos. Great bonefishing and check out the permit shots. Wow.
Additional Lodges and DIY
About 610 sq ft. of comfortable living space, w/air conditioning and King Bed in master bedroom. Views abound from the numerous windows and french doors located in the full kitchen/living room and many more windows in the master bedroom with en suite full bath/shower. Situated on one floor, set high among the treetops, accessed with a spacious deck for sunning and relaxing, with gorgeous views overlooking Lochabar Harbor which is an area known for its beauty and its safe harbor, and excellent wade fishing for bonefish. A mile of sandy beach is out front; ideal for swimming, snorkeling and exploring. Also you can sea kayak to 3 nearby uninhabited islands and to a nearby blue hole. Nearby Clarence Town has supplies and groceries and several restaurants. You need to rent a car to stay here. If you love DIY fishing and vacationing, this is an idyllic spot, a true paradise for adventure lovers.
Long Island Bonefishing Lodge – Deadman’s Cay.
This new lodge is operated by Nevin “Pinky” Knowles and while they have a traditional guided fishing program, they really want to promote “assisted” DIY. So your guide takes you to the flats, drops you off, picks you up at lunch, take you to another flat, drops you off, and then picks you up at the end of the day to return to the lodge. Other DIY highlights include kayak trips into the mangrove creek areas. Conact Pinky directly through their web site or call him at: 1-242-472-2609.
Updated Note: Good reports from returning anglers who fished with guide Loxley Cartwright. Loxley can be booked through Anne at Chez Pierre.
For anglers looking for a combination of fishing with a guides a few days, then fishing on their own, there are a number of good options, including the Lochabar Beach Lodge, which is located just south of Clarence Town. Lochabar offers 3 rooms, and is situated on a white sand beach and a blue hole. Good wade fishing is right out front. Anglers staying at Lochabar need to rent a car, as the lodge is 15 to 20 minutes drive away from Mangrove Bush, and Deadman’s Cay. The Forest Restaurant, on the main highway near the turn-off to Lochabar, is a reastaurant we recommend. Lochabar can be booked through Nancy and Judy Knowles, plus Judy has a number of homes and villas for rent as well in the areas around Clarence Town and Deadman’s Cay. Email Judy for more information.
A nice facility adjacent to Clarence Town, on the hillside overlooking the beach and bay, is Gems at Paradise Resort. The resort has one bedroom condos with kitchens, regular hotel suites, and a stunning beachfront location. Gems also includes the use of a Boston Whaler for cruising around and fishing on your own, plus the resort owns a 31′ Bertram for offshore fishing. Anglers and adventure travelers booking trips to the Deadman’s Cay and Clarence Town areas need to be self-sufficient and able to cope with plenty of little things that can go wrong. This is a laid-back location, and not for travelers looking for resort facilities or lots of attention.
The marina in Clarence Town, Flying Fish Marina, is is the only full service marina in this southern zone of the Bahamas, making it a very important stop-over for boaters going south to Crooked, Acklins, and Turk and Caicos. This is an ideal location to spend some time, as it offers nearby access to productive wading flats for bonefish, and some of the best offshore fishing in the world is no more than a quarter mile from the marina. The Outer Edge grill is a good place for fresh seafood and libations, plus they have WiFi.
FLATS FLY FISHING
Fly fishing the southern Bahamas, including Long Island, is a way to play the odds against tricky weather patterns, and in the spring, summer and fall the weather is almost always gorgeous. March through July and October through November are prime months, with December through February having a good chance of nice weather. Hurricane season runs from June to mid-November.
STELLA MARIS/CAPE SANTA MARIA
Stella Maris Resort head guide, Docky Smith, is our favorite guide in the area. He fishes out of a perfectly-maintained Maverick Mirage 16′ flats skiff with a poling platform and 90 hp Yamaha outboard. Running times to the flats are short, from 5 to 15 minutes. Docky is also exploring a number of new flats to the south of Stella Maris with good results, and in good weather he can head out to Sandy Cay, a nice spot for permit.
The guides out of Cape Santa Maria fish out of Florida Flats skiffs with similar running times. Many of the flats from both resorts are within walking or biking distance and anglers can wade these flats on their own. Docky Smith will also guide guests staying at Cape Santa Maria. Our favorite flies include #4-6 Gotchas, #4-6 Clouser Minnows, #6-8 Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp, #4 Borski Bonefish Critters and #4-6 Beck’s Sililegs. These are ideal resorts for couples, families and serious anglers alike.
An independent guide for this northern area is Ken “eagleeyes” Capron. His guide service is located in Burnt Ground. Web site: Ken Eagleeyes Bonefishing.
DEADMAN’S CAY/CLARENCE TOWN
An hour’s drive south of Stella Maris is the island’s largest settlement, Deadman’s Cay. The entire western coast off Deadman’s Cay is a vast protected area that includes more than 80 miles of wadable flats. We really like fishing the outside flats in the Sandy Cays and Conch Cay areas. This is a vast area of white sand flats laced with blue channels. It’s common for large schools of bones to move over the shallow white bars, making them very easy to see. There is also a decent chance to see permit in this area. Many of the guides, including Sammy Knowles, Loxley Cartwright, Bradley Knowles, Frank and Jerry Cartwright are exploring this area more and more.
This is our top choice for staying in the Clarence Town area, which is the perfect location to relax, and to enjoy the areas wonderful fishing. The Inn has 8 spacious rooms, all with ocean views, and some overlooking the pool. The on-site Rowdy Boy’s Bar and Grill serves the breakfast, lunch and dinner, authentic Bahamian fare at reasonable prices, though the lobster and steak dishes are expensive. The owners are friendly and helpful, and they can book anything you need…..fishing guides, car rentals, island tours, all you have to do is ask.
Colin Cartwright has a good bonefishing operation under way….The Triple Seas Bonefish Lodgeis located on the waterfront near the Deadman’s Cay Sound. The lodge can accommodate four anglers, and is just minutes away by boat from the inland flats. All rooms have a/c and private baths. The Hot Spot restaurant and bar is a short walk away. Anglers fly into Deadman’s Cay Airport. Colin is also available as an independent guide if you are staying somewhere else. For more information contact Colin Cartwright at 242-357-1067 (cell), or 242-337-0443 (home). Email: Colin Cartwright.
Cecile Knowles is a good guide option in the Deadman’s Cay area. Cecile has been a commercial fisherman, and a fly fishing guide for many years, and knows the fishing grounds extremely well. Guide rates are $300 half day, $500 full day. Cecile’s wife, Judy, is a real estate broker with ERA Dupuch Real Estate, and she has nice rental properties for anglers and vacationers, and properties for sale. You can contact them directly at: (242) 337-1555, or cell phone: (242) 472-8316. Email:email@example.com
Other recommended guides in the Deadman’s Cay area: Capt. Phillip Cartwright; you can contact him at: 242-337-0143. Dwayne Knowles; contact him through is web sitewww.bonefishparadise.com.
Some of our favorite bonefish flies: #6 Tan Yarn Crabs, #6 Kwan’s, #6-8 Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp, #4-6 Miheve’s Flats Fly, #6 Pink Bonefish Puffs, #4-8 Pink and Tan Bone Shrimp/Rubber Legs, #4-8 Gotchas, #4-8 Darting Coral Shrimp, and #4 Borski’s Bonefish Critters.
Fly Fishing Tip: If the fish are being particularly spooky, present your fly at least 20 feet in front of the cruising bones and let the fly sit on the bottom. Keep the slack out of your line, and when the fish approach give your fly just a slight twitch. At times you won’t even need to twitch the fly, the fish will just tail down on it and all you have to do is set with a line strip.
Local guides usually work out of Rahming flats skiffs. Running times to most flats are 5 to 20 minutes, though a 45 minute run will put you out into the Sandy Cay area, which is one of the most beautiful and extensive flats systems in the Bahamas.
REEF/OFFSHORE: Good fishing for dorado, tuna and marlin off the deep drops just outside from Fly Fish Marina. Both Cape Santa Maria and Stella Maris Resort offer reef and offshore fishing in a variety of boats from 26’; center console Mako’s to 31’ Bertram’s. Packages are available that include flats, reef, and offshore fishing, or you can choose the type of fishing you like best.