CCA’s Brad Vincent Reef in Calcasieu Lake

CCA Louisiana and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have begun construction on a new artificial reef in Calcasieu Lake in Southwest Louisiana designed to create new marine habitat and support recreational fishing.

The structure will be known as “The Brad Vincent Reef” after the late sportsman who frequented the waters of Big Lake and whose family has long played a key role in the preservation marine habitat in Louisiana.

CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson gave details on the planned reef to a large crowd on at the Lake Charles CCA Annual Membership Banquet on May 3.

Board members Jack Lawton, Jr., Bob Bush, Gus Schram III, John Walther and Chas Drost presented a special proclamation from Gov. Bobby Jindal to Vincent’s family, all of Sulphur, La.

“In honor of the Vincent family’s exceptional contributions to our great state, we chose to name this reef after Brad Vincent as a tribute to a beloved son, brother and true sportsman who we tragically lost in 2010,” said CCA Louisiana Chairman Bob Bush.

Construction of the reef began May 25 and will take about seven days to complete.

To build the reef, workers are placing 10,000 tons of concrete recycled from I-210 on the lake bottom. The concrete will be crushed to pieces 12 inches or smaller before it is placed in the water. The reef will be between 5 and 7 acres once completed.

The coordinates for the reef are: latitude 29 degrees, 56 minutes, 30.844 seconds and longitude 93 degrees, 17 minutes, 24.894 seconds.

A media event and site visit will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 31 at Calcasieu Point Marina. All CCA members are invited to attend.

CCA Louisiana Habitat Chairman John Walther said the hard surface of the concrete will allow small organisms to attach more easily than on the softer lake bottom. They in turn will attract a wide range of fish species such as redfish, speckled trout, flounder and drum.

“This project is part of our ongoing program to restore and create vital marine habitat in our coastal waters,” Walther said “Our other artificial reefs have been very successful and popular with anglers and we expect this project to pay dividends as well.”

The $450,000 reef is funded by the CCA’s Building Conservation Fund through a major endowment from Shell Oil, with matching funds coming from the state of Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund.

Rock Road Recyclers of Sulphur and Cajun Maritime of Baton Rouge both provided in-kind donations through discounted materials and labor for the project.

This will be the second artificial reef for Big Lake. The first, Turner’s Island Reef, was constructed in 2007 in the north part of the lake near Turner’s Bay.

Walther said CCA has two more artificial reefs planned for 2012: one in Breton Sound and another in conjunction with the Twin Span fishing piers project in St. Tammany Parish.