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  • Writer's pictureNew Wave Fishing Academy

Women In Angling: Kelsey Bell

When New Wave Fishing Academy was started it was based around the mission of helping everyone become more successful anglers and especially those who do not have the family, friends, or easily accessible opportunities to push them into the sport. From our short time in operation trying to accomplish this mission there has been a very clear population that has a hard time breaking into the industry. From critics online challenging their skills as anglers to talking down or belittling their accomplishments there are a lot of unnecessary hurdles for women and young girls to get into fishing. While we know that these hurdles are not set up by those that represent the majority of the members in the industry they unfortunately are often the loudest voice. To combat this we started the "Women In Angling" blog series last year to highlight some of the best female ambassadors for the sport of fishing and share their stories for those that just need a little push or some role models to look towards to get into this sport we all love!


This weeks feature is Kelsey Bell! We discovered Kelsey through instagram where she shares her passions for multi-species fishing, birds, and the outdoors in general! Aside from the photos each of her posts come with genuine story telling about the experience that followers relate to. Here's Kelsey:


greenback walleye manitoba top female anglers

"Hi folks! I’m Kelsey! I am an avid angler from Winnipeg, MB who enjoys all types of fishing, even ice fishing in the bitter prairie cold. However, I will admit that I play favourites and I tend to prefer fly fishing. Being from the prairies, fly fishing isn't a common practice around here, but there is so much opportunity for it! Instead of wild trout in mountain streams, we have trophy stocked trout in stillwater lakes. Despite not typically being thought of as fly fishing species we also have Channel Catfish in the Red River, Smallmouth Bass in Whiteshell Provincial Park, and Walleye in the Fairford River. The possibilities are endless and I truly enjoy the challenge and love learning the patterns for success from a different perspective than other anglers.


I discovered fly fishing while working in North Dakota.. I know.. Not the first place that comes to mind when you think of fly fishing, but I guess I’ve never been one to stick to the status quo. After returning to Manitoba, I discovered an angling opportunity unique to here. Fly fishing for Channel Cats! I was already hooked on fly fishing, but after landing my first catfish on the fly, I became obsessed. The channel catfish in the Red River are just built different. It’s not unusual to land a 32” channel catfish, in fact that's pretty average on the Red River but these fish will be 15-20 lbs! Fighting a fish like that on a fly rod is a whole other world and I have yet to top that rush… but I have not caught a Musky on the fly… YET!


fly fishing catfish red river woman angler kelsey bell

As a kid, I was lucky to have some family that would take me out fishing a couple times a year, and although I had some great experiences growing up, I didn't really develop the passion until my mid 20's. It was certainly intimidating starting out. There was always that voice in the back of my mind that would worry I would be mocked for not knowing something, or not taken seriously because I’m a female. What helped was finding a whole community of women anglers through social media. These women were knowledgeable, kind, fierce and they inspired me to keep working at it. I was also very lucky to have a supportive and encouraging partner who taught me a lot to start out and I made some great friends who treated me like any of their other fishing buddies. They were supportive and helpful, but also knew when to step back and let me try things on my own. I find I learn best by doing things on my own, but it's still nice to have someone around to answer questions and guide me, if needed.


I started fishing because it was a fun, exciting, new challenge for me. I continued fishing because it not only remained all those things, but it also became my mental escape. I’m a go-go-go type of person. The type of person that would work myself to the bone and forget about the outside world. The drive to get out and fish forces me to take breaks and I’m not only happier and more content but I’m also more productive. I’ve met some amazing people along the journey so far and I’ve learned from every single one of them. The kindness of the community and the constant learning are huge factors in why I keep fishing!


My advice for someone just starting out is to be patient and try not to be too hard on yourself. It's so easy to get caught up comparing your catches to someone else's, but you have to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. When I was starting out, if I had a poor day on the water, instead of beating myself up about it, I would instead reflect on it and pick at least one thing I learned that day. The lessons didn't need to be big, I often kept them as simple as "I learned the access to a new lake", or “I didn’t tip the kayak”. It really helped me put a positive spin on the trip and slowly these little lessons began to add up to new skills. Before long I was successfully catching fish more consistently.


I’m a big supporter of women in angling, I had a lot of support starting out, so I feel it’s important to give back and pass that support and encouragement on! If you’re a new or seasoned angler I’d love to connect with you on social media so we can cheer each other on! I can’t wait to connect! Happy fishing and tight lines!"


We would like to thank Kelsey for sharing her story & passion for fishing with us all. Sharing the passion for fishing that Kelsey so clearly shows in her writing is, in our mind, the best way to grow the sport that we love so much. You can connect with her on instagram & facebook @kelsey.inthewild


For more female fishing role models be sure to read the other Women In Angling features at the link below:


If you know somebody who is a great ambassador for Women In Angling (Or the outdoors) that deserves to be recognized and would be willing to create a post please reach out to us on any of our social media platforms so we can get in touch with them.


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To experience a day of fishing on the water with us be sure to check out our YouTube channel at the link below.


New Wave Fishing Academy is here to teach you all we know and everything we continue to learn about fishing. Check out our fishing courses at the link below: https://www.newwavefishingacademy.com/learn-to-fish-ontario


If you or someone you know is looking to get into fishing or you just want to become a more successful angler be sure to check out our "Zero To Hero Fishing Masterclass" for courses on everything fishing! The masterclass is built to help you learn how to find and catch fish like the pro's by providing all the information you need and a clear development path! Don't miss out check it out now at www.newwavefishingacademy.com/zero-to-hero


Have you ever wondered why lures don't come with instructions and wanted to know how to fish them? Look no further than our "How To Fish" series where you will learn what each bait is, how to use it, when and where it excels over other baits, our preferred setup to use it on, and the common mistakes anglers make when using it. www.newwavefishingacademy.com/how-to-fish


Check out the results of our fishing students and teachers to see what you can accomplish with New Wave Fishing Academy: https://www.newwavefishingacademy.com/best-fishing-ontario



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