Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs Program Comes to Jackson Middle School, Alabama

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Jackson Middle School Physical Education Teacher Cindy Garrett wanted to teach her Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade girls another sport that would keep them active now and in the future. Recently, Garrett worked with Doug Darr, Aquatic Education Coordinator with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF), to provide training in the Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs program (HOFNOD).  While at the Clarke County school, Darr taught casting to each of the young women.

“You can see the tremendous potential of each of these young ladies,” said Darr. “They are enthusiastic and competitive. They want to have fun. Fishing is a perfect activity for them. They build self-confidence as they learn. The program adds to the fishing instruction by offering strategies to help them stay on track with their lives.”

The students were first instructed on casting techniques. Then they practiced their casting at a target, which was a plastic fish they could actually “catch.” After a couple rounds of practice, the young women were divided into three groups for a casting contest.

“Casting a spincast rod and reel is easy for middle school students,” said Darr. “The competition really bumped up their enthusiasm. The seven Backyard Bass were placed at four distances. One girl at a time had three chances to catch the plastic fish.”

“Fishing is an activity that I really enjoy. I wanted to pass that along to my girls in PE,” Garrett said. “The anti-drug message is a great benefit. My only concern is that, in order to be considered an official HOFNOD program, we will have to have a fishing experience. A fishing trip to Washington County Lake in Millry might be too expensive for some of the girls with transportation costs and permits. It would be great to have a nearby private pond the girls could use.” Garrett will continue fishing classes in April.

Casting classes are available by borrowing spincast rods and reels and Backyard Bass from any of the five WFF district offices, WFF headquarters, and the WFF aquatic education office at Tannehill State Historical Park. Click here for WFF district office contact information.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.


Retired2hunt's picture

  This teacher should receive


This teacher should receive higher state recognition on going outside of the ordinary and bringing this outdoor activity to a large group who would most likely not normally be involved in.

This is also how more young females are getting involved - remarkable women ensuring our female youth is involved.

I have to agree that this program would do very well in all schools - not only the urban but rural areas alike.

Jackson, Alabama is also where that Wesley Weaver fell into a hole while going raccoon hunting and was lost for three days.


SGM's picture

Sounds like a great program

Sounds like a great program to me and would like to see it in more schools. Sad that allot of kids do not know anything about the outdoors and never get to experiance/learn about what the great outdoors has to offer. Conrgratulations to Ms. Garrett for getting this program rolling and really taking care of the kids.

numbnutz's picture

This is a great sounding

This is a great sounding program. Anything to keep young adults busy and away from drugs and gangs is a good thing in my book. Also that it's teaching them about an outdoor activity like fishing is just icing on the cake. I remember way back when i was a young kid we had a program at school called outdoor school. We would go away to a camp for a week and learn about the outdoors and the plants and animals in our region. They would also teach us some survival stuff. I was so much fun. There were 8 different camps through out the area that hosted us. Due to budget cuts and stuff this program is no longer around. I say after school programs are crucial to keeping kids out of trouble. Once a kid hits a certain age the parents have less and less influence over them and it doesn't matter how good of a parent you are it's just the facts of life. But while kids can still be influenced it's important to steer them in the right direction. and programs like this can help in a huge way. I say Good job.