Hook, Line and Sinker (REGPCEC)
Participants will be introduced to fishing in this activity. They will learn about types of fish in Arkansas, their habitats, eating habits and what baits are used to catch them. Training also includes proper knot tying, basic fishing instruction and important safety tips. If time permits, participants will get to fish.
K - 12
Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center, Columbus
Education Program Coordinator, 800-983-4219
45 minutes - 1 hour
Suggested Number of Participants:
10 - 30
- Learn about species of Arkansas fish.
- Identify common habitats of target species and learn their eating habits.
- Learn about fishing tackle and equipment.
- Learn how to tie a fishing knot and cast bait.
- Learn safety tips.
Hook (eye, shank, barb, point)
*See glossary for definations
AGFC Arkansas sportfish booklet
AGFC “Beginner’s Fishing Guide”
AGFC sport fishing and aquatic resources handbook (chapter three)
Bait casting practice plugs
Caring for Your Catch handout
Current Arkansas fishing guidebook
Hook, Line and Sinker trunk
Knot-tying hook and rope
Life jackets or personal flotation devices
Rod and reel
Safety props (poison ivy, sunscreen)
Target(s) for bait casting (backyard bass, hula hoop)
Fishing is a favorite past time for sportsmen around the world, and Arkansas waters provide plenty of fishing spots. Good fishermen have a basic understanding of the types of fish in aquatic habitats, rigging techniques, baits and the proper way to release a fish.
- Ask participants about their fishing experiences. Suggested questions:
- Have you ever caught a fish?
- What is the biggest fish you have ever caught?
- Do you enjoy fishing?
- After a few moments, show the “Beginner’s Fishing Guide.” If it is a small group, give each a copy to look at during the activity and use the information and illustrations as needed.
- Show the page that defines habitat (page 3). Share the following:
- A habitat is an area where a fish lives. It provides food, cover, space and protection.
- Different types of fish need different habitats.
- If a person learns about the fish and its habitats, it will help them catch fish.
- Understanding the preferred water temperatures for different species of fish will also help catch them.
- Ask the participants to name some Arkansas sportfish. Record the names on a list. Make sure that the fish most likely to be caught today are mentioned. They include bream and catfish if fishing at the conservation education center.
- Next, discuss the importance of learning the eating habits of these fish. Show a page that introduces a fish species. It will include the natural/live bait and artificial lures that fish prefer.
- Skim through a few pages, showing examples of habitat, temperature preferences and bait/lure information.
- Show a rod/reel outfit and the pages that illustrate basic fishing tackle and equipment. Discuss types of rods and reels, fishing line, bobbers, sinkers and various size hooks. As these items are identified, show them on a real rod and reel outfit. Point out each part of the outfit and how it is used.
- At this time, show the different ways to tie the fisherman’s knot. If the group is small, let them practice.
- After introducing the fish and equipment, cover simple fishing tips from the guide (pages 29-31):
- Best time to fish
- It is also important to teach safety tips (page 32):
- Life jacket/personal flotation device
- Unstable footing
- Hook safety
- Outdoor/water-related dangers: poison ivy, snakes, alligators, weather, hypothermia, drowning.
- Move to bait casting practice. Help participants rig their rod/reel outfits with a plug or have baitcasting equipment prepared in advance. Show them how to cast the rod/reel, and take them to an open area with targets. Participants need to practice casting until the instructor feels they are ready to fish safely.
- Give everyone the teacher handout Caring for Your Catch!
- Explain why it is important to learn about fish species, their habitat and feeding habits before fishing.
- Name five Arkansas sportfish and define their habitat.
- Identify the parts of a rod/reel outfit.
Bobber – fishing float or cork designed to float on the water and keep bait or lure at a selected depth
Cane pole – long, slender fishing pole with no reel, made from the dried hollow stem of the river cane plant with fishing line attached to the end; ideal for fishing from the bank or in tight locations, especially for panfish; sometimes called a “bank pole”
Catfish – a group of fish without scales named for the long barbels around their mouths that look like the whiskers of a cat
Creel – a fish basket or personal fish carrier used to carry fish when fishing on or near the shore
Creel limit – number of fish (by species) that can be caught legally in one day
Fisheries management – management of fish populations through research, habitat manipulation, stocking, water quality control and regulations
Habitat – an arrangement of food, water, shelter or cover, and space suitable to animals’ needs
Hook – a curved or sharply bent device for catching fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish
Lure – a decoy; any live or artificial bait used to fish or trap
Monofilament line – single, strong synthetic material used for fishing line, which is low-cost and available in all pound-test varieties
Natural bait – bait found in nature, such as insects and worms, and common to a fish’s habitat
Practice plug – weighted plug without hooks designed for practicing casting with a fishing rod
Rigging – setting up a fishing rod and attaching a bait or lure
Sinker – a weight that sinks and holds nets or fishing lines under water
Sportfishing – fishing for recreation, not for profit
Tackle – fishing gear