Georgia saltwater anglers will soon have new places to catch black sea bass, sheepshead and flounder thanks to 400 concrete transmission pole sections and bases that have been dropped to the ocean floor.
DNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD) said the concrete sections are the latest addition to Artificial Reef F—located 9 nautical miles east of Jekyll Island. The materials were donated by Georgia Power Corporation and the Georgia Transmission Corporation and delivered to the onshore staging area by Valmont-Newmark.
The deployment occurred over three days (Aug. 17-19) during which materials were loaded onto a barge and deployed at three locations in depths of approximately 45 feet.
Those three locations are: N 31° 05.936 – W 81° 12.394, N 31° 05.962 – W 81° 12.384 and N 31° 05.953 – W 81° 12.41.
The concrete materials will soon be colonized by barnacles, soft corals and sponges providing the basis of a food web that will attract saltwater gamefish, such as grouper, sheepshead, black sea bass and king mackerel. Endangered sea turtles and other sea life also use these man-made reefs as foraging and resting habitat.
CRD staff will monitor the site annually using side-scan sonar and diver surveys to document the structural integrity of the materials, as well as the fish and invertebrate abundance and diversity. The CRD offshore artificial reef project is made possible by fishing license funds, Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration, private donations and partnerships with local organizations that are interested in enhancing offshore fishing and diving opportunities. This project could not have been accomplished without the coordinated efforts of all of these partners.
“Our offshore artificial reef surveys have shown that concrete is very productive when placed on the seafloor, attracting a variety of encrusting organisms and several species of fish targeted by anglers. Within the next year, we expect this latest addition to F Reef to be producing notable catches of black sea bass, sheepshead and flounder, as well as holding baitfish that, in turn, will attract king and Spanish mackerel,” commented Spud Woodward, director of CRD.