June 2003 Kerry Dillon, Sea Rover Services
Diver Jack meets a Warsaw Grouper on the Wickstrom artificial reef

Karl Wickstrom, 82, of Stuart, founder of Florida Sportsman magazine, devoted his life to marine conservation efforts and advocating for recreational anglers' rights. He passed away Monday, June 25, 2018. ED KILLER/TCPALM

Karl Wickstrom,Florida Sportsman founder and champion of angler rights.
Florida Sportsman celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019.   The Outdoor Wire
Florida Sportsman founder Karl Wickstrom, a tireless advocate...   Sport Fishing

Karl Wickstrom, Florida Sportsman ...by gimleteye, Alan Farago


Jack Glanville and the Warsaw Grouper on the Wickstrom Reef. Video by Kerry Dillon, Sea Rover Services.

On January 21, 2003 the Wickstrom Reef was created. With over 50 private boats looking on, the ship previously known as the "Lady Laura,” "Tauros,” and U.S. Army FS 553, this 168 ft. coastal freighter started it's new life as a haven for an abundant of deep-water marine species. Florida Sportsman magazine founder and editor Karl Wickstrom and the Martin County Anglers Club purchased the vessel, and its deployment was a cooperative effort among Martin County and several marine and diving organizations.

Given its depth, distance offshore and proximity to the strong currents of the Gulf Stream, the Wickstrom is appropriate for blue water anglers only. It is an advanced decompression wreck dive requiring a helium/oxygen mix, and should not be attempted by recreational divers.

This amazing deep water site hosts dozens of grouper, amberjack and spadefish. Warsaw Grouper have also been spotted at this location.

In 2005, several Reefmaker units were added to the corridor between the Wickstrom, Tree Barge and High Queen / Zeppo reef sites. These units will add to the available growth structure. Update: Dive teams visited the Wickstrom in 2008 to find life there has grown with many different species calling the reef home. Also noted on their dives were rare forms of coral growing in several locations throughout the wreck.

Reef Specs:

Location: Lat. N27 13.492' , Lon. W80 00.318'

Depth: 188 feet

Profile: 71 feet

Materials: Steel freighter