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.