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Pyramids down under at Canaveral.

A new artificial reef known as the Pyramids in 80 feet of water offshore Port Canaveral should develop into productive grounds for East Central Florida anglers and divers as early as this winter.

In early August, 24 manmade triangular-shaped hollow modules resembling 8-foot high pyramids were strategically positioned in a 14,000-square foot area devoid of natural reef bottom. Each module is 10 feet square at its base and is constructed of marine-grade concrete weighing 6,000 pounds. Rectangular holes on the four angular sides of each module allow fish and other ocean life to enter and exit at will.

Two weeks after the deployment cobia were caught on the site and divers reported that thread herring, Spanish sardines and other baitfish already were established on the attractors. Winter catches should include small grouper, mangrove snapper and kingfish.

The site is an easy 15.5-mile run at a 96-degree heading from the mouth of Port Canaveral. Each module has its GPS coordinates.

The coordinates for the middle of the cluster, taken on module No. 11,are28-24.05'N and 80-18.26'W.

By mid November the new site should be included among the 73 pages of county-by-county reefs at www.myfwc.com. Click on "saltwater," then "artificial reefs," then "list of Florida reefs."

This was the first registered reef deployment offshore Brevard County since 2005 when the last of 486 concrete culverts were placed on two permitted Canaveral Port Authority sites by the Florida Sport Fishing Association (FSFA), a Cape Canaveral-based fishing club with a long history of artificial reef projects.

When talk started three years ago about building another reef, the FSFA joined with the Brevard County Natural Resources Boating and Waterways Program to build the Pyramids reef on an existing 4.4-square mile Brevard County site first permitted in 1988. Scott Chandler, the volunteer chairman of the FSFA's reef committee for 14 years, and Matt Culver, coordinator for the county's boating and waterways program, were the individuals who got the job done.

The site is in the northwest corner of the Brevard reef site but because of the inactivity on the site the entire area had to be re-permitted and re-surveyed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. First they solicited the $15,000 necessary for the Army Corp survey, with three $5,000 donations coming from the FSFA, the Central Florida Offshore Anglers (CFOA) of Orlando, and the Brevard County Tourism Development Council.

Culver then went to work to obtain a $60,000 grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in conjunction with federal funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That took only four months.

For emergency backup, an additional $6,000 was donated with $2,000 each coming from the FSFA, CFOA and the Coastal Conservation Association.

"This was the first time the pyramids have been used on Florida's East Coast," Culver explained. The deployment took place on Aug.

7. The official name of the reef on charts and state listings will be Ebin's Pyramids, named for Culver's 7-year-old son. The culvert reefs, in deeper water and farther north of the new site, have proven to be exceptional fish-attractors. Chandler said.

"We have another seven years on the permit and we'd like to make seven more annual deployments," Chandler said. Culver added that it's a good opportunity for companies, corporations or other clubs to become involved with funding.

HUNTING The latter stages of Florida's duck season yield more birds with the advent of colder northern temperatures and fronts pushing higher numbers of waterfowl into the state. So serious hunters are getting primed for this season's second phase from Dec. 12 through Jan. 31. East Central hunters will be keying on the Upper St. Johns River marshes, plus the quota hunts at the T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Man

* BEST BET EAST CENTRAL

December and January can be the peak months for pompano along the beaches and it can get crowded. Schools of pompano will hold in the same areas for days with serious anglers getting to those hot spots before dawn to claim a spot. Sometimes a productive area maybe no more than a couple hundred yards.

If we get a full-blown winter run, the fish should be widespread, meaning traditional pompano centers will produce, among them the Canaveral National Seashore south of New Smyrna Beach, Playalinda Beach east of Titusville, and the deepersurf zones between Melbourne Beach and Sebastian Inlet.
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Title Annotation:EAST CENTRAL
Author:Sargent, Bill
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Dec 1, 2015
Words:738
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