sinking of the Mance Lassiter
The beginning of the
In June 1996, a seventh artificial reef AR465 "Gary Ennis Reef" was
established by the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association. The Mance Lassiter, a decommissioned menhaden boat 184' long was sunk 30
miles off Lockwood Folly Inlet. This project was funded by The
Charlotte Saltwater Sportsfishing Club in honor of Gary Ennis,
friend, officer, and conservationist.
Slides of how the Ennis Reef was built (changes every 4 sec.)
Some History of the Long Bay Artificial Reef
In August 1984, the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association was formed by a group
of fishermen in the Holden Beach, Long Beach and Sunset Harbor area of Brunswick
County. This non-profit organization launched an aggressive reef-building
campaign. What they proposed was to establish five artificial reef sites in five
Five reef sites may not seem like a lot, but considering that only one had been
established in Brunswick County, and each reef cost from $20,000 to $60,000,
this was an ambitious program. It was a program, however, which the Reef
Association was determined to put in place. As President Dale McDowell stated,
“We wanted to establish new areas to support the basic marine life needed to
improve the fisheries. But we weren’t interested in just throwing junk in the
ocean. We wanted to do things right.”
With cooperation from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the LBARA
outlined the five reef sites and began to seek funding. It was a difficult task,
but McDowell and his associates proved resourceful. They soon received $10,000
from the Brunswick County Commissioners.
Their first project, AR 420, began on September 6, 1986. The original reef
consisted of a 104 ft YSD vessel.
Over the years, the LBARA has complied an impressive record. Those five reefs
were established by 1992. These sites have been enhanced through the years by
the addition of tugboats, barges and millions of pounds of concrete pipe and
over 1500 “Reef Balls”.
An example of a "Reef Ball"
In June 1996, a seventh reef, AR 465 “Gary Ennis Reef” was established. The
Mance Lassiter, a former menhaden boat 184’ long was sunk 30 miles off Lockwood
Folly Inlet. The Charlotte Saltwater Sport Fishing Club in honor of Gary Ennis,
friend, officer and sportsman funded this project.
A 1998 project introduced “Reef Balls” to North Carolina placing 100 on each of
four reef sites.
In 2002 the entire fishing community lost a good friend and fisheries champion
in Dale Ward. Dale, an employee of the NCDMF was a leader in conservation and
spent many of his own hours making our fisheries better.
The US Open King Mackerel Tournament had requested LBARA to petitioned the NCDMF
to name an existing reef in honor of Dale Ward. This request was granted, and AR
455 became the Dale Ward Reef. The US Open KMT donated over $8,000.00 to enhance
the site. This was accomplished by the addition of Ultra Reef Balls, concrete
pipe and the 110’ tugboat Pawtucket. The US Open KMT continues to enhance the
Dale Ward Reef and support the LBARA.
Also in 2002 LBARA recognized a great opportunity with the announcement of the
proposed demolition of forty-year-old Frying Pan Tower and possible destruction
of some of the best marine growth and life in the Carolinas. Many telephone
calls and E-mails followed over the next few months. In February 2003, AR 400,
the eighth LBARA reef was born.
The year 2004 brought the 20th anniversary of LBARA. The NCDMF helped celebrate
this event by honoring President Dale McDowell, naming AR 445. “ Now and
Forever,” The Dale McDowell Reef.
Another artificial reef first was introduced in 2006 by LBARA with the
enhancement of AR 465. The project, four years in the making was funded entirely
by the Federal Sportfish Restoration Act.
This funding was the first of this kind by an artificial reef group in NC
history. Sportfish Restoration Act Grants are financed by taxes imposed on
fishing tackle manufacturers and is shared by fresh and saltwater programs
Also in 2006 the first joint venture between LBARA and Onslow Bay Artificial
Reef Association was started. The Menhaden vessel Coastal Mariner was purchased
and christened the Captain Gregg MicKey and was sunk in August 2007 on AR 400
Frying Pan Tower Reef.
In September of 2007 AR 400 was formally named the “Bob Black Tower Reef” by the
NCDMF. This was in recognition for Bob’s contributions to LBARA and the effort
dedicated to establishing AR 400.
In 2008 President Dale McDowell retired from the LBARA after 24 years of service
and incredible accomplishments. He will be missed.
LBARA was fortunate to replace Dale with Andy Fisher, a veteran saltwater
fisherman and experienced leader in saltwater matters. Andy has served numerous
terms as the President of the Charlotte Offshore Sportfishing Club and has
worked for and supported LBARA for over a decade. Andy is a full time resident
of Oak Island and we welcome him aboard.
The NCDMF Recognizes LBARA as one of the most successful artificial reef
associations in the Southeast and frequently use them as a model for new