ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - College kayak fishermen from across the southeast are on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this weekend. They're competing in the first saltwater series, kayak fishing championship.
They'll hit the water early Saturday morning. Dozens of college kayak fishermen are vying for a championship here on the coast.
"I love it," said Alex Soper, who has fished four college tournaments over the past year.
He and his teammate from Lamar University drove five hours from Texas to fish in this Mississippi event.
Kayak fishing, they say, is addictive. "It's just another day out on the water. Everything about it is pretty awesome. Especially when you hook into a good fish, it drags you around the marsh. Pretty sweet," said Soper.
Though plenty of fun, it can also be challenging at times to fish and paddle.
"Trying to keep the kayak the way you want it to go whenever you're trying to fish and paddle. It's a little difficult sometimes if the wind is pushing you around," said Ty Harrell from Lamar University.
Drew Gregory from North Carolina is the young man who helped organize the first college kayak fishing tournaments. And thanks largely to social media, it's taking off. "You know how college kids are, they totally get on something and they're just locked into it. They go and tell their friends on Facebook and Twitter. Every social network out there. They've taken to this really well and now it's growing super fast," said Gregory.
Dozens of kayaks will launch early Saturday in the bayou behind Everything Kayak, the local business hosting the tournament.
"I'm really excited about have this event. It's something new for Mississippi. It brings a lot of eco tourism and a lot of people from out of state to the Mississippi area. We've got hotel rooms booked out, we've go local vendors and businesses involved with it," said Michael Pornovets, who owns Everything Kayak.
There will also be plenty of anxious young kayak fishermen, hoping to take home a championship.
The kayak fishermen are competing for some $15,000 worth of prizes, including three new kayaks for the winning team.