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. For WFF district office contact information visit www.outdooralabama.com/contact/.

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.

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