State of New Jersey Seal Official Site of The State of New Jersey

Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs

Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs

Interested in starting a community-based youth fishing team?

Sign up here to participate in the HOFNOD Team Leader Training set for April 21-23, 2023 in Waretown, New Jersey.

2023 Youth Fishing Challenge

HOFNOD Coordinator Honored With Award

Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Podcast with Liz Jackson (DEP Website)

NJ Hooked On Fishing Logo

New Jersey’s Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program provides a great opportunity to get kids involved in positive recreational activities. Growing up in a big city, my parents saw value in having me spend my summers outdoors enjoying nature. These experiences afforded me the chance to discover that there is more to the world and my role in it than what the concrete jungle has to offer. Likewise, the goal of this program is to introduce youth to the fun and excitement of fishing, and to engage them in meaningful life skills, so that they also can imagine unlimited possibilities for themselves.
Liz Jackson, HOFNOD Coordinator

Liz Jackson and son fishing


Fishing is an activity that can be started at any age by any person regardless of gender, physical size or athletic ability. Fishing can also be enjoyed individually or with family and friends. A great way to introduce youth to fishing is through the “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” (HOFNOD) Program.

“Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” is a unique, nationally recognized program created by the Future Fisherman Foundation. In 2012, former Governor Christie signed legislation establishing the statewide implementation of the HOFNOD program. The legislation provided initial funding through an appropriation of $200,000 from the state’s Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund. (See below for the identical State Assembly and Senate bills.)

The goal of New Jersey’s program is to encourage school-aged children to avoid tobacco, drug and alcohol usage by providing alternative activities that involve learning to fish, appreciating aquatic and environmental resources, and developing positive life skills. The program will provide students with access to extracurricular outlets that utilize New Jersey’s incredible outdoor recreational assets.

The NJDEP Fish & Wildlife wants to partner with schools, community- and faith-based youth organizations willing to provide on-going and sustained engagement in HOFNOD activities throughout the year. The “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” program is flexible enough to be offered in different ways, such as:

  • a weekly enrichment activity in summer youth programs
  • an on-going educational physical education activity in after school settings
  • integrated into grades 4-12 school curricula
  • as a year-round supplemental activity of community-based youth organizations (e.g. Youth Corps, Boys/Girls Clubs and faith-based entities)

HOFNOD is an excellent way for young people to participate in constructive recreation and to develop a positive sense of self-worth. The program helps:

  • nurture self-esteem and confidence
  • develop higher order critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • reveal alternate activities for young people instead of the pitfalls of drug and alcohol use
  • foster opportunities and build skills to explore freshwater & marine careers

During the program, students learn:

  • freshwater and marine ecosystems
  • proper outdoor ethics and being a good steward of their local environment
  • respect for themselves, others and the world around them
  • how, when and where to fish
  • life skills like preparing and cooking their catch

Sussex County Castaways enjoy striper fishing on the Mi-Jo out of Atlantic Highlands.
Sussex County Castaways enjoy striper fishing on the Mi-Jo out of Atlantic Highlands.

Adult-led lessons provide students with hands-on, real life experience and incorporate peer teaching and mentoring in the process. Guest experts can be used to teach supplemental sessions like fly tying and casting, spearfishing, introduction to SCUBA diving, kayaking and boating safety. Available funding through the HOFNOD program may be used to offset the cost of staff training & materials, fishing and program gear, and transportation for youth fishing trips.

Another activity HOFNOD teams can participate in is the Youth Fishing Challenge, which is typically held on the first weekend in June. Registered youth participants are eligible to receive prizes for the fish they catch during the event.

The core message of the “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” program is that you don’t need to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs to have fun! It’s the type of program that not only will help reduce drug and alcohol use in youth, but will also bring families closer together by giving them an inexpensive outdoor recreation activity they can all participate in.

For more information call 908-637-4125 ext. 122 or e-mail

The HOFNOD program is organized in community teams found throughout the state. Teams are led by Team Leaders who dedicate their time, skills and energy conducting the program for local youths. Want to find a local HOFNOD Team? Locate a group near you from the list below:

Atlantic County Parks and Rec
109 State Hwy 50 South
Mays Landing, NJ 08330
Adam Erskine –
Adam Witcraft –
609-625-7000 x5400
Fax: 609-645-5868

Creek Anglers: CCHS Fishing Club
Cedar Creek High School
1701 New York Ave.
Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
Erin Sharpe –

HOFNOD Community Fishing Students 
Pleasantville, NJ
Marlene Crump –

PAC Fishing Club/HOFNOD at Principle Academy Charter School
6718 E. Black Horse Pike, Suite #16
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
Marlene Crump—
Hackensack River Junior Stewardship
Hackensack Riverkeeper
231 Main St.
Hackensack, NJ 07047
Jodi Jamieson –
HOFNOD Burlington
14 Cramer Road
Tabernacle, NJ 08088
Vic Gorin –
Heather Milloy –
Tightlines 4H Fishing Club
Lockwood Youth Center, 4H Fairgrounds
Cape May Courthouse, NJ 08210
Rhiannon Worthington –
Fishy Tales
Benjamin Franklin School
42 Park Avenue
Newark, NJ 07104
Jessica Allen – J1Allen@NPS.K12.NJ.US
Tulpehaking Nature Center
Mercer County Park Commission
157 Westcott Avenue
Hamilton, NJ 08610
Alexandria Kosowski –
Collier School
160 Conover Road
Wickatunk, NJ 07765
Linda Librizzi –

Jersey Devil Kids Camp
Jersey Devil Sportfishing
Captain Brian Rice –
Brick School District HOFNOD
Brick Memorial High School
2001 Lanes Mill Rd.
Brick, NJ 08724
Tim Brennan –

EVS 129 – Reel Legends
Toms River, NJ
Jerome & Melissa Townsend –

Reel Fun Fishing
Boating Education And Rescue (BEAR)
Mike & Debbie Bennett –
Silk City Anglers
City of Paterson/DHHS- Municipal Alliance Prevention Program
125 Ellison St.
Paterson, NJ 07505
Tenee Joyner –
W. Raheem Smallwood –
Montague Bait Buddies
Montague Township School
475 Route 206 North
Montague, NJ 07827
Carl Ferriere—

Sussex County HOFNOD 4H
35 Newton Avenue
Branchville, NJ 07826
Natalie Burger –
Team Linden
City of Linden Recreation Department
Linden, NJ
Team Leaders: Sandra Jackson, Michael Jackson, Jay Sibilski
Linden Department of Recreation – 908-474-8600
Keeping It Reel
Community Center at Belvidere
301 Second St.
Belvidere, NJ 07823
Tammy Koop –

The Cast’aways
Stepping Stone School
45 County Road 519
Bloomsbury, NJ 08804
Sarah Fallstich –

Fishing Education
Teacher/Education Resources (Fun things to do with kids in NJ)

Enabling Legislation
To view the enabling legislation (Assembly Bill 638 and Senate Bill 178) use the Bill Search feature on the State Legislature’s site as follows:

1) Go to the Legislature’s Homepage
2) In the Bill Search section enter A638 or S178 in the Bill Number(s) box.
3) Select the 2012-2013 Legislative Session
4) Click ‘Search’

myNJ Portal Logo

Twitter Facebook Instagram YouTube

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2023
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Last Update: May 10th, 2023