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Free Fish & Fishing Unit & Lapbook

Fish and Fishing
Unit and Lapbook by Heidemarie Swanepoel

Lapbook Templates

Mammals and Fish Shutterfold
Fishing Net Craft
Methods of Fishing Flap Book
Ocean Depths
Fish Sorting Cards and Pocket
Images (for methods of fishing book)
Fish Lifecycle Wheel
Bible Story Fish Origami
Tackle Box Simple Fold
Food Chain (part 1)
Biodegrade Flap Book
Fish Shape Vocabulary
Food Chain (part 2)
Danger! Octagon Shape Book
Cover Options
History of Fishing Tab Book
Idioms Accordion Book
Images for Decorations
Safety First Hands Bait! Worm Mini-Books  

Notebooking Pages

Dangerous or Endangered
Book Review 1
Writing Prompt: The Day the Sharks Went Surfing
What I Need to Go Fishing
Book Review 2
Writing Prompt:  When I Go Fishing
Fishing Methods
Book Review 3
Bible:  Fishers of Men
Fishing Net
Safety First
Bible: Fishing from the Other Side
Food Chain
Bible:  Fish or Stones
Lifecycle of a Fish
Writing Prompt:  Biggest Fish 1
Bible:  Fish and Loaves
Fish Physiology
Writing Prompt:  Biggest Fish 2
Bible: Out of the Belly of a Fish
History of Fishing
Writing Prompt:  Let's Go Fishing
Bible:  Fishing to Pay Your Taxes

Research and Lessons

Fish and Mammals

What is a fish?
A fish is a cold blooded animal, that lives completely in water. A fish normally has scales covering its body. It has fins and a tail for mobility in the water. A fish breathes by taking water through the mouth, with is then forced through the gill slits, where oxygen is taken into the bloodstream. Most fish have an air bladder which is used to keep the fish at the right depth in the water. Fish have bones that are made of cartilage - not hard bones like mammals. Fish usually lay eggs (although a few do have live young). The small fish feed themselves on food similar to the adult diet.
Example of a fish: sharks, flounder, tuna

What is a mammal?
A sea mammal on the other hand is a warm blooded animal. It comes to the surface to breathe. Air is taken into the lungs, and the blood collects oxygen from there. A mammals skin is smooth or covered in fur. They have flippers instead of fins. They have no scales. A mammal like a dolphin has a bone structure that is similar to all other land mammals. Even the flippers have bones that resemble finger bones in humans. They give birth to live young, which are fed on milk for the first few months of their lives.
Example of a sea mammal: dolphins, whales and manatees

What do fish and mammals have in common?
The most obvious similarity that fish and sea mammals have, is that they live in water, and cannot survive out of water. The both can swim by use of what looks like fins, but in a mammal this is actually a flipper.

Minit Books
Mammals and Fish Shutterfold
Ocean Depths

The Life Cycle of Fish
Female fish normally lay their eggs in a secluded safe area, and then the male fertilises them. (In some fish the eggs stay in the female, hatch in her belly, and seem to be born live.)
The embryo grows inside the egg, and in a few weeks, the fingerling or hatchling emerges from the jellylike egg. The hatchling remains in the safety of denser seaweed and in between rocks and coral , while it feeds on a diet similar to that of the adult fish. Usually these hatchlings have to fend for themselves.  As the fish grows, it ventures deeper into the ocean, and will soon be an adult fish.  The adult fish will return to the breeding grounds to lay their eggs to complete the life cycle.

Some fish, like Salmon are very interesting in that they will venture from the rivers they were hatched in, out into the ocean, and many years later, they return to the exact river they hatched in to lay their eggs.

Minit Book
Life Cycle Wheel

The Food Chain
The very basis of the food chain in the ocean is microscopic floating sea plants, called phytoplankton - which means drifting plants. The phytoplankton absorb the suns energy, minerals in the water in which they live and carbon dioxide, exactly like land plants do. This process is called photosynthesis. Just like all animals (and humans) need plants directly or indirectly, sea creatures also all depend on plankton.

Due to air turbulence and wave action, the upper layers of the ocean are cooler and richer in minerals, and this is where plankton grows.

Zooplankton (microscopic floating animals ) feed on phytoplankton. Larvae of shore and bottom-dwelling creatures like crabs and worms also feed on phytoplankton.

Zooplankton is in turn eaten by squid, jellyfish and small fish like herrings, anchovies and sardines. The basking whale shark and some of the whales including the largest whale - the Blue Whale - eat only plankton.

Tuna and other medium sized fish eat these smaller fish and creatures.

Sharks and Marlins and other large fish eat these medium sized fish in turn.

Of all the sea creatures, these large sharks are at the top of the food chain, but man has placed himself right on the top of the food chain, when we enter their territory to fish with our modern fishing equipment.

Minit Book
Food Chain pt. 1
Food Chain pt. 2

The History of Fishing
Fishing has been the major source of protein for many communities for centuries, and amazingly the basic methods of fishing have changed very little over this time. As man has ventured deeper into the oceans, his methods have become refined, but have not changed very much.

The Native Americans were adept at catching fish with their bare hands, but also by using their bows and arrows and spears made of wood. Fish and dried fish was a staple part of their diet.

In Egypt the Nile was a large source of protein. Fish and dried fish were also part of their staple diet. The Egyptians invented various implement to make fishing easier and more effective. They made simple boats made of reeds, woven nets weir baskets made from willow branches, hooks and lines (hooks ranged in size from less than 1cm to 18cm) and harpoons. Hooks were fashioned from bones, and there are indications that some thorns were also used.
By the 12th century hooks were made of metal with barbs on. Fish were clubbed to death after capture. There are indications that fishing was not only done for food, but also as a pastime.

In Greek culture fishing was left to the lower classes. It was a peasants way of earning money, and putting food on the table.

The Romans enjoyed fishing with nets, rods and lines and there is evidence of them having used traps and nets. The trident was also very popular for fishing. The gladiators were given tridents and nets to catch their prey, as was popular in the fishing sport of that day.

The Bible mentions fishing approximately 4000 years ago. Job was a contemporary of Abraham. In Job 41:7 Barbed irons and fishing spears are mentioned. Fishing was a staple food for all the villages around the Sea of Galilee, and along the Mediterranean Coast.

The Greek author Oppian of Corycus wrote a treatise on sea fishing approximately 1800 years ago. It is the oldest such work left to us intact on fishing. He describes the fishing methods used in the days that Jesus walked on earth. The fishing nets were cast from boats, and dragged behind the boats. He also mentions scoop nets that were held open with large hoops, spear fishing and trident fishing. Boats at this time were however small and had no sails, and ere used close to shore, especially on the ocean.

Not much is written about fishing in the medieval times and dark ages. We can however see that for thousands of years the methods employed did not alter. As the sizes of the boats grew, the nets could grow, and the sizes of the catches could grow. They also ventured deeper into the oceans. Because they needed the fish to remain fresh, however, they had to still remain fairly close to shore, to bring the days catch in on the same day.

Gillnets were suspended between 2 boats with stones attached along the bottom edge to make the bottom sink, and not float away. Wood was attached to the top end to keep it floating, to keep the net open. This was then dragged till there were enough fish, and it was hauled in. By 1864 this method had extended to Europe, Japan and other fisheries. These boats were normally powered by oars., and some had small sails. By the early 1900's these small boats were taken out into deeper oceans by steam powered boats. The fishermen did their catching, and were collected again at days end by the steam boats. In this way they could venture out much further than by themselves. By the 1930's the rowing / sailboat had virtually disappeared, only being still used by the local fisherman in fishing communities. The larger fisheries had started using gas powered boats. In 1931 the powered drum was invented, which reeled in the nets, taking much of the manual labour from the fishermen, and made reeling in the nets much less time consuming. They could now access fishing ground which had been to far away previously.

By 1940, the war effort brought about much new technology, like better sonar devices, which were quickly also employed to find large schools of fish. The technology used on ships also made them much faster, and accurate to steer.

Until the 1960's natural fibres were used in making nets and lines. But modern technology gave the fishermen Nylon. These synthetic fibres where stronger, and did not need as much repairing as the older type nets. They lasted longer too, as the nylon is not degrades by the ocean like the natural fibres were. The synthetic fibres were also cheaper to produce. And because the synthetic fibres become almost invisible under water, the produced much larger catches.

In 1993 Gillnets were banned by the United Nations in all international territories. Much damage was caused by these nets to the ecosystem in the oceans. There was much unnecessary loss of marine life, and damage to the seabeds, reefs and environment. Gillnets are still used in many countries national waters, where they continue to cause a lot of damage.

For the last century fishing has split into 3 main groups.
1.The large commercial fisheries, who are now able to process and freeze the fish they catch on board, allowing them to go out for months at a time, until they have filled their ships, and come in to unload their cargo. It is these large ships that are causing most of the damage to the fragile ocean ecosystem.
2. Local fishing communities. These communities depend on fishing for their livelihood. They go out in smaller boats, even rowing boats are still used in many poor communities world wide. Some also catch from the shore. In Sri Lanka some fishermen go out on stilts, standing quietly in the sea, and catch with rods, lines and hooks.
3. Fishing for sport. Most sport fishermen release their catch or most of it, because they are seeking the thrill of mastering the fish. Many different methods are employed by these sportsmen, but mostly they include rods and lines, like fly fishing.

How were nets made and used in days gone by?

Making a net was a very time consuming effort. The fishermen probably spent more time making and repairing nets, than actually catching fish. Rope and string had to be spun using grass, wool and flax. These had to be knotted into various complicated patterns to make the nets. Two lengths of rope were hung between two posts or trees, and the rope was then knotted up and down these to make the net. Wood was knotted into the top of the net, and stones to the bottom, to ensure that the net stayed oped while dragging, and that the net would not float away. They would walk into the water, and herd the fish towards shore with the net, or they would drag the net behind a boat or between two boats, and pull the net together and out of the water. After each catch, the fish had to be sorted and sold, and the nets had to be repaired, ready for the next days catch.

Minit Book
History of Fishing Timeline

For extra reading on the history on fishing look at these books:

Starting Fishing - by Fiona Patchett

Kids Book of Fishing / Book of Tackle - by Michael Rosen

Cod: A biography of the fish that changed the world - by Mark Kurlansky

Fish and Fishing in Ancient Egypt  by Douglas Brewer and Renee Friedman

Make a Miniature Fishing Net
Follow the instructions to make your net. Attach it to your lapbook.
Print out the different fish. Cut out the cards, and place in the net. Use these cards for sorting, counting, or learning about fish. Sort by freshwater/saltwater or by carnivore/herbivore or color or size.

Methods of Fishing

1. Dredging
A heavy frame with a net made of metal rings is dragged along the seabed. This catches shellfish like oysters, clams and scallops which normally live on the seabed, or burrow into the sand.
Disadvantages: This method not only changes the seabed, but also damages the environment for the bottom dwelling creatures. It removes some plants and fish completely. Many creatures are caught in the net, and discarded to die because they are not useful to man, but they have an important role to play in the ecosystem of the sea. - such as sponges some small fish and other marine creatures.

2. Trawling / Dragging
Cone shaped nets are dragged at differing depths, from below the surface, to mid water, to seabed. Different fish are targeted at different levels. Bottom dwellers like flounder, cod and shrimp and mid dwellers like sardines are popular.
Disadvantages: The seabed is damaged / disturbed. Many fish are destroyed that were not targeted.

3. Gillnets
Nets are placed at various depths in the water. The fish get caught in them and when they try to back out, they get stuck by the gills. Many sea mammals and sea turtles and undesirable fish are caught and killed in gillnets each year, when they become entangled in the nets and drown.
Disadvantages: Many other marine creatures are caught in the gillnets, and killed. The seabed is damaged when the nets are hauled in.

4. Purse seining
In this method of fishing a long netting wall is used to enclose a school of fish. The net is pulled up from the seabed, herding the fish to the middle of the net while it is being pulled up, much like an old fashioned purse is closed by pulling together the strings.. The net is pulled up on deck, or next to the ship for offloading. This method is especially popular for catching large schools of tuna or sardines. Disadvantages: Because large schools of fish are often followed by sharks and dolphins, these are also often caught in the nets.

5. Traps and Pots
A wire or wooden cage is placed on the seabed either alone or in a row with others. Sometimes the cage contains bait. The fish are trapped in the cages - they can swim in, but cannot get out again. They remain alive until the trap is lifted out of the sea. A bouy is attached to the cage by rope at the water surface to find the trap more readily to haul up the catch.
Disadvantages: Fish that are not targeted can easily be released with no harm done to the fish, as the trap does not kill them or deprive them of oxygen for any lengths of time. However, dragging these cages on the seabed may cause substantial damage to the ecosystem. Sea mammals also often get caught up in the line attached to the buoy, and can drown.

6. Trolling
A boat tows numerous fishing lines behind it at different depths and with various lures and baits. This method catches fish that prey on moving fish, hence they target the moving lures / baits.
Disadvantages: This is an environmentally friendly way of catching fish. Usually only the targeted type of fish will take the bait, and if another fish does take the bait it can be released easily and quickly with minimal harm done to the fish.

7. Long lining
A fishing line measuring anything from 1 mile to 50 miles is strung at regular intervals with smaller lines, with hooks and bait. The central line is towed out to sea, and left for a time, and then is hauled in again.
Disadvantages: These lines attract all marine life. If not for the bait, then the fish already struggling on the hook is an easy meal, and so other fish become caught or entangled in the lines. Because the lines are left out for such a long time, few fish survive a release if they are not wanted. Many seabirds also try to take the bait while it is being put out to sea, and become entangled in the lines.

8. Hook and line
This method is employed by sportsmen and also by small scale subsistence fishermen. Hand held lies or hand held rods with lines are rigged with hooks and bait / lure. Sometimes a few hooks will be rigged onto a single line. These are used from shore along the beach, along rovers and on lake shores, as well as from boats on rivers, lakes and the ocean. Different methods are employed according to the fish being targeted and the fisherman’s personal preferences. Fly fishing is becoming more popular as flies are becoming more readily available. Fish are reeled in as they strike the hook.
Disadvantages: Not as many fish can be caught on a single line as in a net, but it is environmentally friendly. Unwanted fish can be released in the water as soon as it is reeled in.

9. Harpooning
A long wooden or aluminum or wooden harpoon is attached by rope to the boat, and then thrust into the targeted fish once it is in visual range. The harpoon is thrust by hand or by a harpoon gun. If it successfully strikes the intended fish, it is hauled in. This method generally is used to catch the larger fish like sharks and for whales.
Disadvantages: None, as the fish is visually targeted before being caught. No other fish are harmed to catch the one.

Minit Book
Fishing Method Booklet

Fishing was an important part of the economy in the time that Jesus walked the earth. Four of his disciples were fishermen, so it comes as no surprise that we read quite a bit about fishing and fish in the New Testament. Here are a few stories to read together.

Jesus calls four fishermen to become fishers of men.
Read Matthew 4 : 18 - 22

Parable - If you ask for a fish, will your father give you a stone instead?
Read Luke 11 : 5 - 13

Peter and Jesus pay their taxes with money from the mouth of a fish that Peter catches.
Read Matthew 17: 24 - 27

The disciples catch fish all night, and get nothing, until Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the other side.
Read John 21 : 3 - 11

Jesus feeds the 5000 with 5 loaves and two fish.
Read Matthew 14 : 15 - 21 and 15 : 32 - 39

A man survives being swallowed by a fish! The story of Jonah.
Read the whole book of Jonah together.

Minit Book
Fish Origami

Write all new vocabulary words and their meanings onto the vocabulary booklet.

Adipose Fin - A small fin between the dorsal and tail fin
Air bladder - A balloon - like organ that helps the fish to balance and keep the correct depth in water
Anal Fin - Fin located on the bottom and near the back of the fish
Bait - little pieces of food you put on your hook to make fish want to bite it.
Caudal fin - The caudal fin is the tail fin or tail of a fish
Dorsal Fin Dorsal meaning top. This is the large fin on top of the fish's back.
Ecosystem - The way in which plants and animals live together in harmony, and need each other to survive
Fin - The external membranous projecting part of a fish used in propelling or guiding the body
Phytoplankton - Microscopic plant matter - the first level of the food chain in the ocean
Fingerling - Refers to a young fish in its first or second year of life.
Marine - Of the sea
Photosynthesis - The way in which the suns energy is converted to plant energy in the leaf of a plant
Fry -The first stage of a fish after hatching from an egg.
Gills The fleshy and highly vascular organs comparable to lungs used in underwater breathing
Pectoral Fin Front steering fins on either side of a fish; corresponds with front legs
Pelvic Fin Lower fin on either side of a fish; corresponds to hind legs.
Scales - Small bony plates made of cartilage, that cover the fish in an overlapping pattern to protect the fish
Spawn The behaviour of fish where females deposit eggs (also called spawn) on various surfaces (varying with species) and the male produces necessary milt to ultimately turn the eggs into fry.
Zooplankton - Microscopic and tiny animals and larvae that float in the ocean

Minit Book
Fish Shaped Vocabulary

English is a language rich in vocabulary and idioms. Here are a few idioms about fishing.

Swim like a fish
He does it so well, it seems like he was born to do it. It comes naturally to him.

Not the only fish in the sea
Don’t stop looking for new opportunities.

Packed like sardines
Packed in very tightly

A loan shark
Someone who lend people money, but does it to help himself, and not the other person. Usually very ruthless in getting their money back

Clam up
Don’t speak or give an answer

Slippery as an eel
If a person is as slippery as an eel, he is hard to catch, and keep hold of. If a thing is as slippery as an eel, it is very slippery, and hard to keep hold of.

A different kettle of fish
Something totally different from the preciously discussed item/person

Be like a fish out of water
Feel out of place or awkward because you are not like those around you. He does not fit in. Not at home or comfortable with the subject discussed

Be neither fish nor fowl
It does not fit into a specific category. It has attributes of different categories, and cannot be safely placed in either on or the other

A big fish
An important person in a group or organization

A big fish in a small pond
Not important when is a big place, but in a smaller setting very important

A cold fish
A distant person, does not show his emotions, not very friendly

Drink like a fish
Regularly drink a lot of alcohol

A fine/pretty kettle of fish
A sticky / tricky / troublesome situation

Fish for compliments
Try to get (trick) the other person to compliment you by any means necessary

Fish or cut bait.
Either do what you should immediately, or leave it immediately that someone else can take over and get it done

Have bigger/other fish to fry
Have something more important or interesting to do

A queer fish
A strange person - does not fit in

To fish in troubled waters
To become involved in a dangerous or tricky situation, because you want to get something out of it

Something suspicious or unlikely

Like shooting fish in a barrel
The competition is so weak that they have no chance of winning at all

Live in a fish bowl
Everyone knows about what you are doing - no privacy

Red herring
Small bits of information that are leaked out to get the attention away from the real / important facts

Take the bait
If someone is manipulated or goaded into doing something, and they do it, they have taken the bait.

Caught / fooled, hook line and sinker
If someone is convinced of something, often an untruth

Minit Book
Choose a few of your favorite fishy idioms, and write them up in the accordion booklet.

Safety first
Safety on water, or close to water is very important. Remember, your life is worth much more than any fishing equipment or any fish. The life of your friends too!
Young children should never go fishing alone. An adult should accompany them, and as they become older, they should go in a group.
The longer grass on banks of rivers is the perfect hide-away for any snakes. Always keep an eye out for snakes, scorpions and harmful insects.
Even the sun’s rays are dangerous when out in the open for a day. Put on a good sun screen, and wear a hat with a wide brim. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the light of the sun reflecting off the water.
Look at the plant growth around you. Be careful of stinging nettle and poison ivy. If you do get stung by poison ivy, wash the area immediately with clean water and soap. Spray anti - perspirant on the skin. (Not deodorant).
Stinging nettle stings can be removed with wet sand.
Never venture out in a boat without a life jacket securely put on.
Never turn your back to the sea while standing on rocks. If a sudden wave comes up, which you did not see, you will be badly hurt on the rocks.
When casting your line, always check behind you for dangers, like power lines, and other people. You’re not out to be a fisher of men using real hooks and bait :(
Handle hooks with care. They can cause a great deal of injury and pain. Bait up carefully, and under an adults supervision until you are proficient at doing this.
Stay with your rod and line. Always return hooks and line, sinkers to your tackle box. Keep your tackle box closed to avoid spilling the hooks into the grass. Others following you, and even animals need to be considered.
Always wear shoes when fishing. Even when wading in the water. Be sure that both feet are secure in the water, before attempting the next step, and always test the water, and your footing before putting all your weight in a new position.
Keep a good watch on the weather. Lightning loves fishing rods! If you see a storm coming up, seek shelter immediately.
Fishing is not a dangerous sport, but if precautions are not taken, you can land up in sticky situations. You are not on familiar turf, so do take care - of yourself, your friends and your environment.

Minit Books
Safety First
Write a story using ("The Day I Fell Asleep While Fishing) and include it in your lapbook

Oceans Under Threat
There are many factors that influence the resources of our oceans, lakes and rivers. God told us to have dominion over nature, and we need to take care of what God has given us. Now more than ever we are seeing the impact of greed, and carelessness on these resources. Many fisheries have had to shut down in part or totally, because there are not enough fish left in the ocean.

There is a fine balance in all of nature: A balance between sunlight, plankton, nutrients, clean water and air. If this balance is disturbed in one area, it is going to affect all areas. Anything you throw down the drain in your kitchen will land up in the water cycle, and ultimately in the ocean.

Let us look at a few factors that influence the oceans - to our detriment.

1. Over Fishing
Some commercial fishing vessels can catch up to 100 tonnes of fish a day, and these vessels stay at sea for months at a time.. The reported total catch of marine animals / fish is approximately 90 - 100 milLion tonnes a year, and real figures can be as much as 50% more. And this is only the reported catch. What of all the fish that are caught and released - of which more than 60 % die anyway, and those that were killed accidentally in the nets. It is estimated that as many as 9 out of 10 fish caught are unwanted, and are released / destroyed.

2. Changing habitat.
The seabed is constantly being damaged / destroyed by different methods - dredging and trawling, land reclamation etc. Many fish nurseries have been destroyed in this way, and the young fish need the safety of these environments to survive into adulthood. Many fishing methods are destroying coral reefs as well.

3. Mining
Yes mining at sea - for instance mining for minerals like oil, disrupts the marine ecosystems, and dumps a lot of pollution in the ocean.

4. Pollution
Many cities have opted to use the oceans as their dumping grounds for waste material, including sewerage and toxic byproducts of industries. Agricultural toxins like pesticides all find their way to the ocean, where they stay. Some fish have become so contaminated, that they are no longer fit for human consumption. Some fish are now even being born with deformities. Rubbish like plastic bags, tires, etc are being discarded in the sea, and these cause suffocation and drowning for many creatures in the oceans.

A quick experiment. Put water on to boil that is clean. Add a half cup of water with a half - teaspoonful of salt and a drop of food coloring every once in a while, when the level of water has been reduced by boiling. Keep adding the salted slightly colored water until you have added about 10 times. Allow the children to taste the first water, and the water that is being added. Taste the end result, and compare the color. The water that has evaporated is clean, leaving the salt and coloring behind. That is what is happening in the oceans. The Dead Sea is a good example of this.

Irresponsible Fishing Methods
Irresponsible fishing methods kill more sea life than what is consumed by the worlds population.- either directly or indirectly. The world’s stock of fish is quickly becoming depleted.
Approximately 75 - 100 milLion sharks are killed each year. Yet adult sharks only have 1 or 2 pups a year. They cannot repopulate the oceans, because man is killing more than are born. But we still fear sharks as the most dangerous animals on earth. Interestingly - more people are bitten by dogs in a year, than by sharks.

Pollution in the Ocean
How long does it take our trash to bio-degrade?
How long does pollution stay in the ocean?
Nylon cloth - 30 - 40 years
Plastic bags - 2 - 12 years
Plastic foam containers - never
Plastic container - 50 - 80 years
Leather shoe - 5 - 40 years
Poison - never, it accumulates, it does not dilute.

Even noise pollution is making an impact on sea life. Sound travels very far under water, and sea creatures depend on sound for communication and food location - for instance dolphins using echo - location. If noise interferers, they have difficulty communicating and finding / herding food.

Minit Books
Danger Octagon Book
How Long to Biodegrade Flap Book

Basic Fishing for Kids
There is far too much to learn about fishing to put into a lapbook so we will concentrate on just a few pointers. Of course the only really effective teacher of fishing is experience. And of course when children go out fishing with a Dad, an uncle or even Mom (Heck I had to learn about fishing very fast when my sons wanted to go fishing, because Dad worked the wrong hours to be able to take them), they learn so much more than fishing - they learn about life, caring for nature, safety and so much more. No child, boy or girl should miss out on going on at least one fishing trip.

Equipment needed: The most basic need is fishing line and hook, and a rod is a benefit too. My mom loves telling the stories of how they went fishing with only hooks and line. A good pole or fishing rod and a reel make life much easier, and bait is what you need to tempt the fish to actually bite your hook. A good tackle box fitted with hooks, sinkers, lures and bait, and line are a good bet to have.

There are as many fishing methods and perfect baits as there are anglers. The most important thing to remember is to study the fish you want to catch. If you know what the fish likes to eat in the wild, you will have a better idea of what you can use to tempt the fish. You won’t tempt a carnivorous fish with a piece of corn or vise versa.

Learn as much as you can about different knots and fastenings. If you cannot manage on your own, ask an adult for help. Hooks in fingers are no fun. It is also very frustrating if you have a strike ( a fish takes your hook ) and the hook comes off your line as you reel in, because you did not fasten the knot securely.

The most important rule in fishing is : BE PATIENT. Once the hook is baited up, and the line cast, wait patiently for a strike. And when you have a strike, the fun begins. Set the hook in the fishes mouth with a good jerk / strike, and reel him in slowly. Don’t be too hasty. Many a fish has been lost through reeling in too fast and the line snapping. Bring the fish in close to shore, and haul it in with a landing net. If the fish is to be released, do not handle it too much. Keep it horizontally straight as it would be when swimming, and do not hold it by the gills. All these things could cause the fish to die anyway when released. When releasing the fish after measuring and weighing, hold it in the water, and let it swim out of your hands.

If you are going to keep the fish, keep the fish in a holding net or a bucket of water (in a shady spot ) until you are ready to clean the fish. I personally believe the person that caught the fish should clean it - under adult supervision of course. With fun comes work! Most fish are actually very easy to clean. The main things to know here are: 1. Cut off the head right behind the gill slits. If you do this correctly, you can pull out the entrails of the fish quite easily with the head. 2. Clean off the scales by scraping the fish with the blunt edge of a knife . 3. Cut open the fish on the belly, from the head to the anal opening near the anal fin. Open up the belly, and carefully pull out all the entrails, and wash out the fish thoroughly. Fry quickly, or freeze immediately, as you don’t want your hard work to be lost through rotting.
And remember, if you don’t catch one today, there are other fish in the sea.

To learn a lot more about fishing for kids look up the following website:

Minit Book
My Tackle Box


Fishy Occupations
contributed by Michelle Light

Professional Fisherman-
Competitive fishing in tournaments such as Bass Masters Classic.  This is a very hard /but rewarding lifestyle-rewarding those who succeed. These men go around to lakes all over the US/World  to compete in fishing tournaments, they do not get to spend a lot of time at home. 
If you have a child that loves to fish/perhaps this is a possible career path. Older students interested might want to learn more about the career path (and pros and cons of this type of career choice) of becoming a professional fisherman.

Fishing Guides-
Fishing Guides are hired to take people to good fishing sports. These guides most have a lot of knowledge of the local lake/area and when/where fish are active. 

Fish Warden (parks and wildlife)
There are many careers in parks and wildlife, helping with local fisheries, etc.

Marine biology, zoologists
Scientific or working at a Zoo, Aquarium, etc.

People who fish to sell it for profit as their livelihood.    

One who specializes in taxidermy

Taxidermy is a general term describing the many methods of reproducing a life-like three-dimensional representation of an animal for permanent display. In some cases, the actual skin (including the fur, feathers or scales) of the specimen is preserved and mounted over an artificial armature. In other cases, the specimen is reproduced completely with man-made materials.

Misc. Language Arts Ideas
contributed by Michelle Light

Write and illustrate story about a fish/fishing.

Have younger children dictate the story to you (and they can illustrate the story after you've recorded it).   The stories can be fiction or non-fiction.  Encourage your older writer to include elements of both. 
Here are some writing prompts:

"If I were a fish I would……."
"My fun day fishing"
"My fishing trip"  (include where we went, what we packed, who went, what we caught, why we went, what we did when we got home, etc.)
"I love fishing"
"Fishing with my dad"
"Fishing with my grandpa"
"The biggest fish I ever caught..."
"Let's Go Fishing..."

Word Puzzle
Make words out of the letters F-I-S-H-I-N-G.

Plan a Family Fishing Trip
(This exercise can be fact or fiction)

Write down these questions or answers….

Answer these things:

Where would we go?

What kind of fish would we want to catch?

Would we hire a guide?  If so how much do guides in that area cost daily?

Would we drive or fly to our destination?

Where would we get plane tickets/

How much would they cost?

How much are hotels in the area, or would you camp?

What would we pack? (If you are driving-don’t forget the map.)

What other fees could you expect? Dining/Food Fish License?  


contributed by Michelle Light

Eat some fish during the week

Where do the fish your family eats come from?
Salmon- Alaska, Tuna-various ocean places, Flouder, Talapia, Sushi, bass, catfish, perch, crappie, etc.

Visit your favorite fish/seafood restaurant
How many types of fish do they serve?  How many different ways can a fish be prepared? Fried, boiled in soups, broiled, grilled, pan fried, deep fried, raw (sushi). Some are served cold/some hot. Some with heads some without heads.

Recipe- Michelle’s Easy Salmon Patties- (feeds 4-5)

Combine in a bowl-
Chicken of the Sea-Pink Salmon-Skinless and Boneless- get the kind in the 7.1 oz. pack. (
If you buy canned salmon-you must de-bone it first.)
Ritz Crackers- 1 sleeve crushed.
1-2 T. mayo
2 T. lemon Juice
1 egg

Other optional seasonings salt, pepper, onion, etc. (I like Greek seasoning.)
Mix above ingredients by hand or with fork. Form small-medium sized patties.   I coat mine in a mixture of flour and some crushed ritz crackers-it makes for a little bit crunchier exterior. Pan fry in oil-about 2-3 minutes per side-until golden brown.

Serve with salad, pork & beans/baked beans, and hush puppies. 



Kid's Section at Take Me Fishing --online coloring, games, PDFs to print

Team Tackle Box-online fish coloring, fish ID quiz, fishing flash cards

More Activity Sheets

Make a pop-up shark card to add to your lapbook

Library List
contributed by Michelle Light

My Fishing Business by Dianne Linderman

A Good Day's Fishing
by James Prosek

The Biggest Fish in the Lake by written by Margaret Carney

Where the Big Fish Are by Jonathan London

Fishing Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Salmon Stream by Carol Reed-Jones

Salmon Forest by David Suzuki

Trout, Trout, Trout (A Fish Chant) by April Pulley Sayre

Sammy Wakes his Dad by Chip Emmons

Rosie's Fishing Trip by Amy Hest

Tommy's Mommy's Fish by Nancy Dingman Watson

On the Riverbank by Charles Temple

Maggie's Whopper by Sally Hobart Alexander

Splash! by Ariane Dewey and Jose Aruego Dewey

Gus and Grandpa go Fishing by Claudia Mills

The Fisherman and His Wife by Jacob Grimm

The Fisherman and His Wife by Rosemary Wells

Kumak's Fish: a Tall Tale From the Far North by Michael Bania

Nessa's Fish by Nancy Luenn

Fish: how to Choose and Care for a Fish by Laura S. Jeffrey

The Life Cycle of Fish by Richard and Louise Spilsbury

Magic School Bus Goes Upstream by Joanna Cole

Fabulous Fish by Alvin Silverstein

Kids' Incredible Fishing Stories by Shaun Morey

Kids Gone Fishin' by Dave Maas

The Barefoot Fisherman: A Fishing Book for Kids by Paul Amdahl

Adventures with Jonny: Let's Go Fishing by Michael DiLorenzo

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Judith Conaway

Bur Bur's Fishing Adventure: Learn Fun Things about Fishing and What to Bring!

The Fish by Heather MacLeod

I Love Fishing  by Bonnie Dobkin

Clown Fish by Colleen Sexton

How Many Fish? by Caron Lee Cohen

One Fish. Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

A Salmon Story by Rita Ramstad

Red Tag Comes Back by Fred Phleger

Chapter Books
The Great Fishing Contest by David Kherdian

Dolphin Adventure by Wayne Grover

Go Fish by Mary Stolz

Fishing at Long Pond by William T. George

For Younger Children (Preschool-K)

Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway

Rainbow Fish-any of the books could be used.

Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood

Hooray for Fish!  by Lucy Cousins
A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer
Gone Fishing by Earlene R. Long

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