Odenville’s Tyler Clark has been fishing since he was old enough to walk. About two years ago, Clark found a new way to fish, and he loves every moment of it.
Last year, Clark started something brand new at the University of Alabama: a Kayak Fishing Club.
“I started it last year along with a buddy of mine,” Clark said. “We noticed there was a fishing team there, but no kayak fishing team. We got it rolling, tried it out, and here we are a year later.”
Clark said they needed 10 members to start, and that was no problem. Today, the club is 30 members strong.
Clark, a 2012 graduate of St. Clair County High School, said he came up with the idea simply because there was no kayak fishing club at the University.
“I had seen various people doing it, and I have been doing it myself close to three years now,” Clark said. “But no one was doing it at Alabama. They had all these other clubs, so I decided to give it a shot.”
Clark said college kids love to get outside and get away from the campus a few hours.
“I just thought this would be a great way to get away from the campus life, enjoy themselves, and allow students to connect,” Clark said. “That was how I got the motivation to do it.”
Clark said other colleges that have kayak fishing clubs include Young Harris College in Georgia, Wake Forest, six teams from LSU, a guy from Georgia, and a couple of schools from Tennessee. They compete against each other in a series called the College Kayak Fishing Series.
“We are the only one from the state of Alabama,” Clark said. “At the end of the year, we compete for scholarship money, and three new kayaks, among other prizes.”
Clark and his members recruit in the fall to get ready for the season that generally starts in the spring.
Clark said fishing from a kayak is not difficult at all.
“I saw some people doing it a couple of years ago, and I was thinking it was pretty cool,” Clark said. “I bought my first kayak, and it took me about a day to get used to it. Once I got into it, it was so super easy, and to be honest, better than bass fishing. I can go into places on the water bass boats can’t go.”
Most of the time, it’s just you and the kayak, but Clark said they do make tandem kayaks for more than one person.
“Both of my grandfathers took me when I was a kid, and taught me how to fish,” Clark said. “Almost all I know about fishing, I learned from them. Now that I have my kayak, I go up to Guntersville some, and I have been to a lake in Georgia.”
Recently, Clark and his kayak club were featured on Fox 6 and Absolutely Alabama with Fred Hunter.
Clark is the 20-year-old son of Mark and Kecia Clark. He has a younger sister, Kindrel, 14.
He started attending Odenville Middle School in the sixth grade after growing up in Center Point. He starts his junior year at the Capstone in the fall where he is a nursing major.
Mark Clark said he was very proud of his son because of his dedication and hard work.
“We have watched him start this from absolutely nothing and go out and promote it,” Mark Clark said. “He has done things to get other people interested in it.”
Sponsors for the UA Kayak Fishing Club include Yak Wear, Yak Gear, Castalia Outdoors, Eagle Claw, Backwater Paddles, Mann’s Bait Company and Johnson Outdoor Watercraft.
Kindrel said she too was very proud of her brother.
“Tyler has worked so very hard at everything he has ever done,” Kindrel Clark said. “He has put so much work into it, and I couldn’t be happier for him. I have been out with him on the kayak with him several times and it is actually a lot of fun.”
Kecia Clark said every time Tyler sets his mind to do something, that’s what he does.
“He doesn’t do it 100 percent, he does it 110 percent,” Kecia Clark said. “I’m impressed with him. I feel blessed to have him as a child, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.”