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Reel Talk: Jennifer Lampkin rings our belle!

Everything is bigger in Texas–and bass are no exception! As if on cue, Jennifer Lampkin (@southernbellefishingtx)is on site pulling up a monster largemouth bass, smiling from cheek to cheek.

Born and raised in East Texas, Jennifer knows a thing or two about tackling big fish that northerners might only dream of. For her, though, it’s often the sights and sounds along the waterway that make her day, not necessarily a lunker catch. Above all, it’s the relationships she fosters with friends and loved ones that makes fishing special to her.

I find it very important to teach my children patience through fishing,” Jennifer adds. “It can be a challenge, but getting them away from technology and appreciating nature is what makes it all worth it.”

Fishing is very much a family endeavor for Jennifer. Her father is also a Texas native, and the love of fishing has spread to the next generation as well. Her greatest, most cherished moments are those times spent sharing the water with her own children. Thus, fishing isn’t necessarily about the fish to this Texas belle, it’s about getting outdoors and sharing experiences with others.

That’s not to say there isn’t a rip-roaring angling persona behind the smile–Jennifer doesn’t back down from a fight! In fact, about a year ago she was set to join her dad in a tournament, but he broke his hand before the start. That just wouldn’t do. She had to get out and compete!

She saw a women’s-only bass kayak tournament, so someone offered to lend her a kayak. She had tried a pelican kayak in the past, but this was the first time she was in a real tournament kayak fishing. She met some folks at the tourney and they have been a great help in getting her set up and out on the right foot. She caught only a bluegill in the first tourney, but got hooked with the love to kayak fish.

After the first kayak tourney, someone told her there was a benefit tournament hosted by Heroes on the Water. She borrowed another kayak and joined with her friend John Mooney in Pinkston Lake, TX. Together they won the tournament, and Jennifer decided it was time to get her own kayak to enjoy these adventures more often.

True to her frenzied nature, Jennifer won’t be relegated to just Texas. She recently headed to Marathon Florida on a photoshoot organized by Gillz Gear. While there, she made sure to make the most of it: she joined with the famous Two Conchs charters and made some memories! She says that Captain Mike Macko made the trip a special treat: she reeled in her personal best–a 100lb goliath grouper!

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My fish Goal was a Goliath Grouper! I had no clue that when @gillzgear invited me to Marathon Florida I would be going after a Freaking Goliath! This fish was a beast! Talk about a full body work out!!! It took everything I had to hold this fish up for a picture. My whole body was sore, my arms weak but my smile big Y'all!!! Sure I'm not a picture perfect model but y'all this is a dream come true! I had caught a Jack and @capt_mike_macko broke the tail stuck a hook through it and said hold on! Guys i still can't believe how amazing this fight was! I am so so Blessed to be Part of Gillz Gear Pro Staff! Traveling across country had me a little nervous but everyone involved with Gillz Gear and @twoconchs was AMAZING! They really care for the Pro staff and women anglers! Two Conchs best charter you can use in the Marathon! I loved all the guys I met down there it was EPIC Thank you all so much! LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YALL AGAIN! DREAM IT AND GO FOR IT! DONT LET ANYTHING HOLD YOU BACK! For a 25% discount use Lampkin25 😘 ON Gillz Gear performance wear! #gillz #gillzgirl #gillzgear #gillzbassteam #twoconchs #ladyangler #fisherwoman #angler #lovetofish #goliathgrouper #grouper #keywest #florida #floridafishermenmagazine #bassgrls #largemouthbass #saltlife #laughmore #lovelife #epic #blessed #fishing #fishinglife #amazingadventures #adventure #performancewear #bestsunprotection #momoftwo #reelife #reelgirlsfish

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Still, she has some unfinished business. In the near future, she wants to catch a tarpon while on an ocean kayak. That’s not the end of her plans, either. Peacock bass are on her radar south of the border, but alligator gar are a little bit closer to home.

Jennifer is still getting used to being seen as an authority in her sport. She received messages and questions all of the time, and tries her best to help get people started on their own escapades. Looking to try kayak fishing? She recommends her Hobie Outback–not too big, easy enough to move, and stable enough to keep mostly dry. Want to get into bass fishing? Try the chartreuse H&H spinner, a classic that always earns more fish than its $2 price tag implies.

To that end, she’s hoping to start a series of Youtube videos to introduce kayak and fishing tips to new fans. It’s so important to get out there and try–not everyone has a family with the fishing know-how that she has been blessed with. One of her most cherished memories was pulling in a 4lb 2oz largemouth bass with her father a few years back– not her largest catch, but certainly a milestone memory for a budding angler. Helping others create similar milestones for themselves and their families is what drives Jennifer to keep chugging on!

For those that can’t get out and explore on their own, she hopes to continue mixing philanthropy and fishing whenever possible. This past year, she volunteered with Adaptive Sports to help people with disabilities catch fish. Additionally, Angling for Relief, a non-profit led by a remarkable young man named Jake, is an organization that attempts to improve the lives of those suffering from pediatric cancer by introducing them to fishing opportunities. Jake remembers that fishing was the greatest joy he and his best friend Ryan could share before cancer took Ryan away before the 2nd grade. Angling for Relief wants to share fishing with young patients by organizing “dry fishing packets” that help young learners practice before they head out to the stream. Wonderful souls like Jennifer are planning to be on hand to facilitate future on-water events as they are organized.

While her heart might be Texas-sized and her catches might occasionally tip the scales, Jennifer clearly likes her fishing to make a deeper impact on others around her.

Adventures Blog Posts Follow This Photography Weird Fish

Reel Talk: Noodlin’ Around with Allison Hunter Voges

Sometimes you’re the fish, and sometimes you’re the hook. The key is to fight-fight-fight regardless of which role you’re playing. The lines can get blurred, especially in the strange and dangerous world of catfish noodling. Few know this better than Allison Hunter Voges, better known as @amHunter11 on Instagram.

For those not yet among Allison’s 15,000+ followers, there is much more than meets the eye to this Southern Indiana adventurista. She might be best known for her turkey bowhunting exploits, but in the past year she has made a mark with the gritty sport of noodling for catfish.

Predominantly illegal in most states, grappling for catfish is the kind of pastime that most Americans don’t even get to attempt, let alone excel at. It was just about a year ago that Allison was invited by one of the Internet’s foremost noodling experts, @AlyFromAlabama, to try it for the first time. Much like the fish she was finding, she found herself hooked–without any hooks around!

Allison proudly showed off a 50-lb catfish brute last year, and is eager to get back into the action this year! She is a living example of the joys that can come from trying new things, even if they are a bit intimidating. Sometimes you just need a little support to get you out the door.

“I never really thought of myself as a role model, but it was wonderful to receive messages from other women revealing how I helped them try new hobbies,” Allison adds. “The best advice that I can give for someone who feels intimidated by a new outdoor pursuit is to join some online groups of like-minded people. Many of them organize activities and events, and are often incredibly welcoming and receptive of new members. Step out of your comfort zone and meet as many people as you can!”

Noodling is not for the faint of heart. Fans have seen her wrangle snakes, field dress deer, mud wrestle hogs, and even have a veterinarian pull glass out of her arm. She’s clearly as tough as they come, but never would have even received the chance to learn without a little kindness from a former stranger. Allison practices what she preaches: she knows how important it is for women in male-dominated sports to stick together and to support one-another. In fact, she is organizing a trip for the American Daughters of Conservation (@adconserve) in August of this year, and will introduce noodling to them–with all of the mud, sweat, slime, and glory that she has enjoyed!

Whether hunting in the Indiana woods or fishing from hand-lines in Costa Rica, Allison is very aware that conservation is the key to continued outdoor pursuits. It is paramount that new outdoorsmen and women be attracted to fishing and hunting to ensure that money, regulations, and awareness continues to grow for the outdoors. To that end, Allison was disappointed when trying to introduce hunting to youngsters. There were very few materials out there intended for young readers.

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How do we get more kids interested and involved in the outdoors? This is my way of contributing. I’ve searched for children’s books about hunting and there are few options. I wanted a book with illustrations that drew the reader in, as well as content that captured the joy, respect and pride a hunt brings. So I wrote one myself. ⁣ ⁣ So far I’ve sold nearly 100 books and I’m happy to announce my new hardback copies are now available. I’ve put a lot of heart, effort, and money into creating this book. Being an independent author is not easy and finding a printer that did quality work took some time. However, I’m happy to announce that my new hardback copies have arrived! I will be selling them for $12.99 plus shipping. If you’re interested please shoot me a DM on my page or the @raisedtochasethewild page. I’m hoping to find an online retailer to sell and ship them for me soon. The paperback version of my book is still available on Amazon. ⁣ ⁣ I’m hoping this book will open some doors between children and adults for conversations about hunting and the outdoor lifestyle. It’s so important that we try and grow a new generation of hunters, not only for conservation reasons, but because kids learn so many advantageous life lessons in the great outdoors. ⁣ ⁣ I’ve also made this book interactive by hiding deer tracks through some of the illustrations for children to search for and find. I feel it’s a great way to encourage curiosity and exploration in nature. ⁣ ⁣ Please feel free to share this post. Purchase a book for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Gift it at a baby shower. Donate a copy to your local library or school. If you have any questions for me I’d be happy to answer them. ⁣ ⁣ Thank you for your support. #chasingthewild #raisedtochasethewild

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“I walked into a Bass Pro and looked for a hunting book for kids,” Allison remembered. “After failing there, I searched Amazon as well. Nothing! That’s when I decided to make one myself.”

And that’s exactly what she did. Having no experience in book publishing or writing, she soon found out that there are considerable hurdles in the process. Writing the book itself went fairly quickly, actually. She then let family members read it and give their input. When it came time for illustration, she turned to college friend Rebecca Mullins, who was not a hunter. The duo worked together to ensure that the content was accurate, fun, and above-all worthwhile to young readers. The final challenge was finding a decent publisher with consistent quality. Her book, Chasing Deer, was released in December 2019, and the reception has blown her away.

You can pick up the softcover on Amazon, but she is selling the hardback versions herself until she can find a reliable producer. Shoot Allison a message on instagram or facebook to inquire about the hardback version. She is hoping to have them available more broadly in the near future.

When not doing everything she can to open the outdoors to new audiences, she is either working hard in her landscaping company or traveling to the next adventure on her list. Her dream hunt is coming up in September: hunting elk in the mountains on Colorado. She also looks forward to continuing her adventures in the water–especially trying to catch the elusive musky that has evaded her so far.

What’s next for Allison? She wants to enjoy life in the here-and-now, and has many adventures planned. Will more books follow? She has been blown away by the reception to her first book, and has ideas for turkey hunting and bass fishing versions, but it’s still a little too early to tell. She loves being “a gateway drug to the outdoors” by sharing her exploits online. It’s clear that we’ll all have to follow her incredible adventures to see what is next on the docket for Allison Hunter Voges.

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Adventuring with Maria Prekeges and Jon White

Adventuring outdoors is a year-round activity for Maria and Jon.
(copyright Maria Prekeges and Jon White, 2020)

Save $400. Have fun. Learn at your own pace. Sounds good, right? That’s essentially the mission statement that lures Maria Prekeges and Jon White outdoors. And they mean it!

“Do you need to hire an expensive guide?” asks Jon. “No. Will it help some? Probably. But you can learn many of the same lessons from the comfort of your home and be $400 ahead with us on your side.”

You might recognize Jon if you frequent the Idaho backcountry, and you might find Maria familiar from her many appearances on ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, and other outlets both in front of and behind the camera. They have a passion for the outdoors, and they want to help countless others feel more comfortable (and entertained!) when heading outside.

These two aren’t always buttoned-up and formal. The outdoors are fun, and so are they! (2020)

With the imminent launch of Idaho Mountain Anglers, this dynamic duo is primed to bring entertaining vlog material, pictures, and hilarious stories to all of your favorite social media channels. We recommend that you follow them today (and put that money you save toward some sweet new gear!).

Jon is a seasoned fly-fisher, while Maria considers herself a novice. (2020)

Jon grew up in Idaho and has logged countless journeys through the hills, mountains, and streams of the American west. Maria was raised along the salmon streams and clamming beds of the Pacific Northwest. While Jon is a quieter, more introspective presence, Maria exudes vitality with every word. This ying-and-yang partnership pays dividends both in front of and behind the cameras they bring into the woods.

“I love catching trout. They offer so much challenge, and so much reward. I have learned to enjoy the acrobatics and strength of bass recently,” says Jon. “They really are my current favorites.”

“I’m still new,” adds Maria. “So any fish I catch is my de-facto favorite!”

Maria considers herself a novice reeler–she loves to be outdoors, but is generally learning the tricks of the trade from Jon, an experience angler. Her vivacious personality and humor come through in every short video, while her learning curve helps the viewer pick up tips at a casual pace. In producing their #MinuteWithMaria shorts, this duo has focused on snappy editing and quick tips to avoid the boredom and lack of focus of most fishing tutorials online.

While flyfishing the hills of Idaho is a great way to spend the year, Maria and Jon venture all around the country looking for angling opportunities. (2020)

While these two hail from Sun Valley in Idaho, their adventures are not limited to the mountaintops and glacial valleys. Maria’s job as a sports journalist (with an emphasis on rodeo work) leads her all around the country, and Jon is always looking out for a new stream, lake, or shore to explore. Along the way, they chronicle the dos-and-don’ts of fishing, hiking, and general adventuring throughout the United States.

Maria learns the tips and tricks of fishing so that you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money on a guide–unless you’d like to! (2020)

Keep your eyes peeled on their media channels as they begin to roll out some long-gestating videos highlighting a variety of topics. If you have never fished from a kayak before, we recommend that you stay tuned to find out the differences between the options out there (hard bottom, inflatable, and where they each shine). Whether you fly-fish or prefer conventional gear, you’ll have plenty to enjoy as you follow along with them.

“Head out your back door and explore!,” Maria finishes. “We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we hope that we can help bring that spark to urge them out the door.”

Adventures Blog Posts Charters, Guides and Outfitters Salt

So You Want to Be a Fishing Guide? Chandler Williams Offers Some Tips

When we last connected with Chandler Williams (@chandler_williams_fishing on Instagram), we told you about his grit: Working for a neighbor to earn his first fly rod; teaching himself how to fly cast; sleeping all night on a dock as a young teenager in order to hitch his first ride with a sport fisher. You get the idea.

In light of the way Chandler went from mulching lawns to get a fly rod to guiding 250 days a year at such a young age, we thought he might have some tips to offer reelers who might be interested in becoming guides.

It starts with a passion for fishing.

“Ever since I was at a young age, I’ve been super passionate about it,” he says. “I always used to watch Jose Wejebe, even when I was a little kid, and some of these other big names, like Chris Owens, Brian Jill, and Carter Andrews. Seeing what their lifestyles were [traveling and fishing], I thought, ‘I want my lifestyle to be that way.’ There’s just something about watching the sun on the water, that fish kick his tail, and the drag screaming. That’s something I just can’t get enough of. It’s like I’m hungry for it.”

Sustainability is also a big part of being a steward of the sport for Chandler.

“I hate killing fish so they can be mounted on the wall,” he says. “We need to practice better conservation now so that more young people will practice it, and get the message out across the world. That will make a big difference for future generations who want to work in this industry.”

“There’s so many young people these days who want to become a guide or live this lifestyle on the water,” Chandler says. “And if we don’t protect the fisheries, they won’t be able to do that.”

And you have to be willing to put in the work and pay your dues along the way.

“You’ve got to step on some toes,” Chandler says. “And go where the anglers go. I went to iCast the first time when I was fourteen. No one really showed or taught me anything up until now. I’ve learned a lot from others, but I basically taught myself. Do your research and study a lot — figure it out. Figure out how to be a good fisherman at the level you want to be at. Get on the Internet before you go on these boats and show them what you’ve already figured out and learned on your own.”

Even after doing all that research, though, you’re not likely to find an e-vite onto a boat in your inbox.

“Step on toes. Aggravate the shit out of people, you know?” Chandler says. “Demonstrate that you have the drive for it, and show them that you’re going to be at the dock at 5:30 in the morning and ready to go. If no one hires you, go to the dock every day at 6:00 in the morning when they go out, and be there when they get back, if you can. Over time, somebody’s going to eventually pick you up because they see you’re dedicated. There’s a lot of people who go out and drink at night and don’t show up for the boat the next day. So, your opportunity will surely come.”

Hitting the docks and industry shows is a great way to network, which is key to breaking into the industry.

“Make as many connections as you can,” Chandler says. “And if you burn bridges, mend them as quick as you can.”

For most folks who want to get into guiding, there are no short cuts.

“It’s not about the sponsorships or getting free stuff,” Chandler says. “It’s about having a dedication for it. Work hard and build your name, and over time, those things will come.

And if you want it, you have to go for it.

“For the younger kids coming up,” Chandler says. “This isn’t the easiest path in life, but it’s the most rewarding. And one thing I can say is never give up — no matter what.”

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Christin Kruger: Bringing People Together with Fishing

When Christin Kruger (@ckrugerr on Instagram) was visiting Zimbabwe a couple months ago, she hooked into and boated a couple of 90-pound vundu — a catfish and the largest freshwater species in southern Africa — on Lake Kariba.

“I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure they were bigger than the one that Jeremy Wade caught when he was shooting River Monsters in Zimbabwe,” Christin says.

Growing up in both Africa and Alexandria, Virginia (where she was born) Christin always loved fishing and water.

“Sometimes, when I was little, I’d just stand and stare at mud puddles,” she says. “I’d try and see all the things that were living in it.”

But she wasn’t exactly hauling 90-pounders up from the depths.

“I never really had proper fishing gear as a kid,” Christin says. “My dad would just take me to a local pond with a cane pole and whatever bait we could find, and we’d catch bluegills or anything that was biting. I loved it!”

After moving to South Carolina for college, Christin settled in Charleston. She rediscovered fishing when she took some time off from college.

“I had some extra time, so I went fishing,” she says. “And I was like, why did I ever stop doing this?!”

Ever since, she’s become serious about fishing.

“I’m not super serious, though,” Christin says. “I mean, I try and get out as often as I can, but I don’t get really technical about my gear or going after a particular species.”

However, she does have a relationship with KastKing, so she has access to some pretty sweer gear. Christin is also an avid inshore angler who is not in the least ambivalent about redfish.

“Yeah,” she says. “There’s nothing like a redfish battle. I being on the water and seeing their spots. No two are the same — like people.”

Christin is not very particular when she’s offshore fishing, either.

“I don’t really like trolling,” she says. “There’s not enough action — but I still go. Last time I was out, we were trolling for wahoo, but we only caught bonito. I hooked a blackfin [tuna] and almost had it to the boat when I lost it. I was like, ‘Damn — I could’ve eaten that.’ But it’s okay, I still got some bonito for my crab traps.”

On the other hand, Christin really likes bottom fishing.

“You never know what you’re going to get,” she says. “One time when I was out, I caught a cornetfish. Have you ever seen one? They’re like a trumpet fish on crack — not that I’ve ever done crack or think that fish do crack. But, that’s why I love bottom fishing: There could be anything on the end of your line.”

Although she is generally a catch-and-release angler, Christin enjoys catching food for her own table.

“I could eat black sea bass or triggerfish all day,” she says. “And they’re sustainable, which is awesome.”

While working toward becoming a substitute teacher — “for the flexible schedule” — Christin has been pushing her fishing horizons. In addition to the vundu she caught on her most recent trip to Zimbabwe, Christin paid a visit to Victoria Falls with an outfitter called Wild Horizons, who put her on tiger fish in the Zambezi River.

She was also recently in Scotland, learning to Spey cast on the River Spey.

“It was awesome!” she says. “We were out for three days and nobody caught a salmon — except me! Well, technically it was a grilse, which is a salmon that’s only spent one winter at sea before coming back to freshwater to spawn, but I still caught it.”

That trip gave Christin the fly fishing bug.

“I really want to do a lot more of it,” she says. “I also want to do more spearfishing. In some ways I like it more than regular fishing — I get to be in the water and see everything that’s down there. And it’s like going to a grocery store and saying, ‘I want that one.’ Then you pick your fish and you’re done, with no bycatch and no stress on fish that you release. Plus it’s kind of primal: I’m like a caveman mermaid with a spear, hunting for my food. 2019: I’m comin’ for ya with spearfishing and fly fishing!”

Primal is also the way she describes her relationship with water.

“I don’t know what it is, I’ve always just been drawn to water, like deep down,” Christin says. “I also love fishing because it relaxes me and helps me to just let go for a few hours and be one the water. It’s also a beautiful way to bring people together.”

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Julie Cyr: The land (and sea) provides

Native Oregonian Julie Cyr (@outdoor_jules on Instagram) grew up with a deep knowledge of the outdoors and how to make her way in the natural world.

“My grandmother fished and hunted,” she says. “Even when my twin sister and I were really young, we watched our dad build his own fly rods, tie his own flies, and then fish with them on the Metolius River. As little girls, we both learned how to fish and shoot a recurve bow.”

Although Julie was born and raised in Oregon — growing up a serious athlete — she’s spent the last  20 years in Washington and currently lives in Tacoma.

“I was one of only four women who served on the Nike Training Panel,” she says.

Right after college, though, she got married — eventually divorced — and had a family.

“We moved to the Jervis Inlet area in remote British Columbia,” Julie says. “We were pretty much ‘off the grid’ — reachable only by float plane or boat — fishing, hunting, growing and foraging to provide for ourselves. It was a true return to living by our natural, circadian rhythms.”

Like Julie and her sister, her children also learned how to make their ways in the outdoors.

“I never really made a concession for their ages,” Julie says. “I included them in everything, taught them to fish and hunt.”

After returning to Lower 48, Julie — who had graduated PLU — focused on ways to continue living off the land.

“I learned about vegetables,” she says. “I had a love affair with vegetables and whole foods.”

So, she started an organic farm.

“I did a farm stand every weekend,” Julie says. “And when I wasn’t doing that or working outside, I was canning, pickling and creating recipes. It was my attempt to create an authentic field to table experience.”

While she didn’t have time for much else, Julie still managed to fish a bit and do some upland bird hunting.

These days, teaching folks about good food and how to grow or find it is still very important to Julie.

And not only is she finding more time for fishing, she’s also discovered a favorite quarry.

“I love estuary fly fishing,” she says. “Once I took my dad out to catch chinook on the fly. He caught his first salmon on the fly, and I caught a coastal cutthroat trout. It was beautiful, and I was hooked.”

Cutthroat are native to the West Coast and migrate from as far north as British Columbia to Northern California, which is the southern limit of their traditional range. And they’re scrappy.

“Native sea-run cutthroat, pound for pound, fight as hard as steelhead,” Julie says. “Unfortunately, coastal fishery management really needs to improve in order to save their habitats and prevent a decline.”

Julie sees fishing as a way to teach people about conservation and the outdoors while offering a sublime experience in nature.

“I don’t guide,” she says. “But I will take people out to fish. I try and approach it with a beginner’s mindset. I love the sense of community when I’m fishing with others. And I love giving back by educating people about native species and fishing.”

For Julie, fishing is also deeply personal.

“It’s my little piece of heaven,” she says. “I go for the solitude, but it’s also where I feel fully alive.”

You can hear Julie on ESPN 710 am Seattle, where she is a regular commentator on ‘The Outdoor Line’ program.

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Reelin’ (and releasin’) sharks with Morgan Matson

Although she was born and raised in Miami, Morgan Matson (@morganmatson on Instagram) has only been chasing sharks for the last couple years.

“I’ve fished for most of my life, but I didn’t start fishing for sharks until 2016, when I met my boyfriend [@acksharks] on Nantucket. I was at the beach and saw him reel in a shark,” Morgan says. “He took me shark fishing a few times, and then we started going out. He’s been catching and tagging sharks for five or six years, now.”

Growing up in Miami, Morgan would hit the lakes in the Everglades and made regular fishing trips to the Bahamas.

“My friends and I would fish, spear lobsters and go spearfishing,” she says. “I loved it.”

These days, Morgan’s graduated to much bigger quarry, but she doesn’t need a bigger boat.

“I way prefer to catch sharks from the beach than on a boat,” she says. “Not only is it more fun and cool on land, it’s also a more stable platform for tagging them and removing the hook. A lot of times on a boat, you can’t remove the hook and just have to cut the leader — and I don’t like doing that.”

Like her boyfriend’s beach activities caught her own attention, Morgan’s fishing does not usually go unnoticed.

“It’s such an adrenaline rush,” she says. “The rod goes crazy and everyone is freaking out.”

Although shark fishing is an adrenaline rush, what Morgan does has a higher calling.

“When we catch and release sharks, we are participating in a federal research program through NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration],” Morgan says. “Environmental studies is a passion, and I love that I can combine it with fishing.”

Morgan splits her time between Nantucket in the summers and Captiva Island — off Florida’s Gulf Coast — the rest of the year.

“But I’m taking classes in Miami,” she says. “So, I’m still split my Florida time between Captiva and the East Coast.”

Although she does most of her Florida fishing off the Gulf Coast, she has had some memorable catches on the Atlantic side.

“We caught this huge tiger shark,” Morgan says. “It was incredible to get this tremendous predator onto the beach.”

But they also do okay on the Gulf side.

“We had this day where we were just catching and tagging one massive bull shark after another,” Morgan says. “We got this nine-footer that was so big that I could have lived comfortably inside its mouth — as long as it didn’t bite down.”

This summer, on Nantucket, Morgan has a specific goal.

“We mostly catchy sandbar and sand tiger sharks from the shore on Nantucket,” she says. “But last year, we caught a blue shark, which is a pelagic species. We’ve also caught makos and threshers really close to shore. So, this summer, I want to catch a thresher — or a mako — from the beach.”

For Morgan, catching her sharks feeds her dual love of the ocean and conservation.

“As part of the NOAA project, we make sure to teach and encourage proper fishing techniques,” she says. “We advocate for conservation, catch-and-release, barbless circle hooks, keeping the beach clean, not fishing near swimmers and respect for the sharks, themselves.”

Even if she isn’t catching anything, though, Morgan is happiest on water.

“I just love the ocean — I always have and I always will,” she says. “I love to be on it, around it, by it. I also love being out on boats. I can be out on a boat fishing all day and just love it.”

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Lolo and Alex: Ambassadors for African Sport Fishing

Alex and Laureline Houdaille (@sportfishingduo on Instagram) make their home in Douala, Cameroon. Laureline — who goes by “Lolo” — is originally from France.

“I was born in France but I’m the second generation living in Cameroon,” says Alex.

Alex doesn’t remember how he exactly he got started fishing: He’s been doing it his whole life.

“I certainly remember barracuda fishing when I was three years old,” he says. “I caught and released my first marlin in Kribi, Cameroon when I was 11.”

Lolo, on the other hand, says, “I started fishing the first I went in Cameroon 4 years ago and then never stop.”

Lolo and Alex take advantage of all the inshore and offshore fisheries that Cameroon has too offer.

“In the north part of the country, there are mangroves and rivers that are home to many fish species,” Alex says. “We also like to surf cast on the six main rivers in the country.”

“There is very good coastal fishing over rocks and sunken vessels in 5 to 40 meters of depth,” he says. “Offshore, the pelagic species we target are marlin and sailfish, as well as tuna, wahoo and dorado (mahi mahi).”

Coastal and inshore species include red African snapper, jacks, tarpon and African (Guinean) barracuda.

“Cameroon is not a very well known country for fishing,” Lolo says. “And it’s a shame, because we have a big diversity and a lot of fish to catch all year round.”

Although Lolo and Alex have many years of combined experience fishing Cameroonian waters, they continue to push themselves.

“We are trying to be ambassadors for serious fishing in Africa — especially Cameroon — and let people know just what we have here,” Lolo says.

“And we always challenge ourselves to catch bigger fish on smaller lines,” Alex adds. “We’ve caught several potential world records — and it is always a lot of fun waiting to see what will come up on the end of the line.”

To accomplish these goals, Alex and Lolo have become students of the water.

“We study very carefully the tides and currents around us, check the moon” Alex says. “This allows us to read and adapt to our fishing spot.”

I asked the duo what lure or rig they would choose if they could only pick one from their tackle box.

“That’s a difficult one. We don’t have a tackle box — we have a fishing room!” Lolo laughed.

Alex offered up their preferred rigs for some of the different species they target.

“For marlin, I would pick the Black Bart Hawaiian Breakfast,” he says, referring to a trolling lure that emulates a squid pattern.

Alex likes a deep-diving crankbait for barracuda. “I would go with the Mann’s 30+,” he says. “And for tuna, I like 150g Orion jigs.”

Some species, though, are best hooked with live bait.

“For snapper and tarpon, a live bait is always the best,” Alex says. “Tilapia, sardines or shrimp.”

Alex’s specificity when it comes to fishing rigs is well-earned: He’s had some epic battles.

“The most memorable one was a six-hour fight with a 1200 pound-plus marlin,” he says. “I hooked it on 30-pound test line. We got the fish to the boat and the leader in hand five times. The sixth time we had the fish at the boat, the 600-pound leader snapped. We were on 32-foot open Grady White — and the marlin was three-quarters of the boat’s length. Just amazing! It was the biggest fish I’ve ever seen on a 30-pound rod.”

As big as it was, that was not Alex’s best catch.

“Last November, off the Portuguese island of Principe, I finally hooked my first marlin — after three years of trying,” Lolo says. “After an hour-and-a-half stand-up battle, Alex proposed to me. I still had my Black Magic on, with the rod inside.”

“I was so surprised when I saw the ring — I didn’t see it coming,” she said. “The first thing I said was, ‘I hope I don’t drop it in the water.’”

This sport fishing duo seems like a pretty solid team.

“I’ve always fished: It’s my passion and favorite topic,” Alex says. “We are lucky enough to be able to fish all year long, and after a 60-hour working week, it’s my only way to escape from my daily routine and recharge my battery.”

Lolo says, “I now share Alex passion. The biggest dilemma in my life is that I get seasick all the time if I don’t take my medicine. But the feeling I get on the water — feeling free and peaceful — is worth the discomfort!”

Follow Sportfishing Duo’s adventures on their YouTube channel.

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