How To: Fishing Long Island, Bahamas with Chris Connelly

How To: Fishing Long Island, Bahamas with Chris Connelly

We caught up with Chris Connelly who escapes the cold and the New England off-season with annual trips down to Long Island, Bahamas, not to be confused with New York.

Given its remote location, anglers can expect tricky flights and puddle jumpers from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau but it’s all worth it to escape the cold and get on some good fishing.

Due to it’s limited accessibility, tackle and gear can be hard to come by but every year, Chris puts together a “Hogy Lure Reef Kit” that includes 1oz Pro Tail Paddles in bone and olive, Heavy Minnow Jigs, Epoxy Jigs, Uber Diamond Jigs, Sand Eel Jigs and Herring Jigs. The kit is designed for almost anything situation you may encounter from deep jigging on wrecks to top water casting over reefs.

bahamas reef kit chris connelly

There are a lot of different fishing options in the unique environment that makes up Long Island. Chris launches out of Cape Santa Maria Resort, which is located on the norther part of the island. From there, you can access tradition offshore trolling for pelagic species as well as non-stop reef and wreck fishery year round. There is a strong wahoo season within a few miles of the white sand beaches starting in November and ending in the spring where the fishery changes to mahi and tuna along the reefs and near the coast. A quick trip around the north point of the island puts you in the Atlantic Ocean where you can target Blue Marlin, White Marlin and Sailfish.

Although Long Island is 80-miles in length, there is only one road that runs the length of it. The east side of the island boasts a ragged, rocky coast bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the west side offers calm Caribbean seas and stunning sunsets. Altogether, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of reefs running the length of both sides of this tropical island.

The inshore reefs, some of which are only a short 5 to 10-minute cruise from the Cape Santa Maria Resort, are home to snapper, grouper, trigger fish, parrot fish, barracuda, ocean tally and various species of jacks. The deeper reefs and wrecks hold larger grouper, mutton snapper, cubera snapper, sharks and plenty of other species. In this deeper reef scenarios, Chris utilizes the heavier Sand Eel Jigs with assist hooks on wire leader to catch barracuda, large snapper and grouper.

Once over the wrecks, it’s common for anglers to chum with small, frozen squid pieces and yellowtail snappers until the larger snapper start feeding. Small jigs, like the 3/8oz Hogy Epoxy Jig Lure in silverside and the 1/2oz Hogy Heavy Minnow Jig in silverside work well in these scenarios.

 sierra mackerel bahamas

Using the original Hogy Epoxy Jig Lures, casting to the edges of the wrecks can produce Spanish and Cero mackerel and small tuna such as skipjack and blackfin.  A 12 to 18-inch wire leader tied directly to the jigs can often help reduce the amount of toothy cutoffs in these areas.

Once offshore, it only takes about a mile to hit the 150-foot depth point where Chris can start trolling his four rod spread which consists of a mix of Hogy Flexi Spread Bars, Hogy Blue Max Joe Schutes, Harness Jigs and other diving plugs.

If they get inside the 150-foot depth point, they tend to catch king mackerel, barracuda, large grouper and large snapper.

During the spring and summer, Chris will use a ballyhoo with the Joe Schutes if they’re available. Otherwise, he uses the 8-inch Hogy Speed Tails in bone, pogie or ultra-silver UV with the Joe Schute skirt. Chris says the 5oz in blue and white and the 3oz in pink and white have been the go-to trolling combos for mahi and tuna among the offshore species.

If you’re interested in learning more about fishing Long Island, Bahamas, you can reach Chris through his Instagram page @hookedfishingri

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