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A concrete reef dart plunges into 500 feet of water off Palm Beach Inlet on Oct. 22. The 40 reef darts — concrete poles on heavy bases — added by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club bring the total to 110 at the deep artificial reef site. Photo provided by West Palm Beach Fishing Club

By Willie Howard

The West Palm Beach Fishing Club expanded its deep artificial reef project in October with the addition of 40 “reef darts,” or concrete poles on heavy bases, placed in 500 feet of water east of Palm Beach Inlet.
The additions bring to 110 the number of darts placed at the artificial reef site since the fishing club began the project in 2019, creating the deepest artificial reef in Florida.
Reef darts are made from old concrete power poles. They weigh 8 to 10 tons each and rise up to 45 feet from the bottom.
One goal of the deep reef project is to create habitat that will support overfished species of deep-water snapper and grouper. It also makes use of old concrete poles that might otherwise wind up in a landfill.
Fish attracted by the deep reef darts so far include a variety of sharks — bulls, tigers, hammerheads and a great white — along with snowy grouper, dolphinfish (mahi mahi), amberjack and tarpon.
Find the deep dart reef site east of Palm Beach Inlet (aka Lake Worth Inlet) at: 26/46.086 N and 79/58.164 W.
For locations and other information about artificial reefs throughout Florida, visit https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/artificial-reefs/locate/.

Boynton/Delray and Boca set holiday boat parades
The Boynton Beach and Delray Beach Holiday Boat parade is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10.
Decorated boats will line up near the Ocean Avenue Bridge in Lantana and proceed south along the Intracoastal Waterway to the C-15 canal (Boca/Delray line.) Parade watchers are asked to bring unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots and wave flashlights to call over a designated toy-collection boat.
Viewing locations include the Banana Boat, Two Georges and Prime Catch restaurants, as well as Intracoastal Park, Harvey E. Oyer Jr. Park and Jaycee Park.
For more information, contact Mercedes Coppin at the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, 561-600-9097.
In Boca Raton, the holiday boat parade is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18.
Decorated boats will line up at the C-15 canal and proceed south to the Hillsboro Bridge.
The city is offering bleachers for viewing at Red Reef Park, but parking is limited.
No viewing will be allowed this year from Silver Palm Park or the Wildflower property, which are closed for construction.
Bridges at Spanish River Boulevard, Palmetto Park Road and Camino Real are expected to remain closed to road traffic for extended periods that evening so boats can pass through during the parade.
For information on entering a boat in the Boca parade, contact special events coordinator Amanda Liebl at 561-393-7967.

Sea wall repair, new docks on way at Ocean Inlet Park
Construction began in November on the renovation of Ocean Inlet Park Marina, located on the Intracoastal Waterway just south of Boynton Inlet.
The first phase of construction is expected to be complete next fall. First-phase work includes repairing the sea wall, removing the old fixed docks and installing floating day-use docks to provide boater access to Ocean Inlet Park.
Slips for long-term boat storage will not be available until after the second phase of work is complete.
Owners of boats stored at the marina’s 20 slips were required to move out last spring.

Sailfish release events
Ongoing: Sailfish Cup began Nov. 1 and runs through May 31 in four zones along Florida’s east coast, from Fernandina Beach to Key West. Details at www.sailfishcup.com.
Dec. 4: Dust ’Em Off Sailfish Warmup tournament. Details and registration at www.dustemoffsailfish.com.
Jan. 6-7: 85th annual Silver Sailfish Derby. Captain’s meeting Jan. 5 at West Palm Beach Fishing Club. Awards dinner Jan. 8 at Sailfish Club of Palm Beach. www.westpalmbeachfishingclub.org.
Jan. 14-15: Operation Sailfish. Kickoff party 6 p.m. Jan. 12 at Sailfish Marina, 98 Lake Drive, Palm Beach Shores. Take a Hero Fishing Day Jan. 13. Awards Jan. 16. www.bluewatermovements.com.
Jan. 21-23: Buccaneer Cup. Teams fish two of three available fishing days. Captain’s meeting 5:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at Viking Yacht Service Center, 1550 Avenue C, Riviera Beach. Awards Jan. 23. https://buccaneercup.com.

Willie Howard is a freelance writer and licensed boat captain. Email tiowillie@bellsouth.net

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