20 Questions with a Crappie Pro Series 3 Ron Bilbrey

20 Questions with a Crappie Pro Series 3

Ron Bilbrey

Name: Ron Bilbrey
Hometown: Anderson, Indiana
Years Pro: 6
Tournament Partner: Tom Hankins
Home Lake: Salamonie
Favorite Lake: Lake of Egypt
Boat & Outboard: 2011 Ranger Z521 with Evinrude 250 Etec
Sponsors: Crappie Crazy, Lake Fork lure, Original Rod Sox, DEK-IT Mounts, Keep Alive,

Accomplishments/Awards: 2017- 1st ACT Grenada, 1st CUSA Salamonie, 5th ACT AOY, 2016- 1st CUSA Lake of Egypt Super Event, 1st CUSA Salamonie 1st ISM Mississinewa Super Event. 2015- 1st CUSA Cave Run 2014- 1st ISM Brookville 2013- 1st CUSA Lake Cumberland Super Event 1st ISM Salamonie 1st ISM 2 day Classic 2012 ISM Presidents Award.

10 Questions Non-Crappie Fishing Related:
1. What is your favorite hobby/activity other than Crappie Fishing? “Spending time with my Grand-kids.”

2. What is your favorite meal? “Crab legs Baked Potato Cole slaw. I do miss my Grandmothers fried chicken.”

3. What kind of music do you like? Who is your favorite singer or band? “I like most 80’s Rock OZZY, Black Sabbath, AC DC, Metallica.”

4. Name your favorite vacation getaway and why? “Maine, I enjoyed doing something out of my norm and spending time with my wife doing something she enjoys.”

5. When you were a child, what did you have dreams of becoming for a profession as an adult? “Working in the conservation field.”

6. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? “2 dogs Maggie is my 14 year old English setter and Laylah is a 6 year old Pitbull.”

7. Name for us the most influential person in your life, past or present and why? “My Dad he introduced me to Hunting and fishing at a very young age. I always tagged along with him and my grandfather fishing.”

8. Do you prefer watching the sunrise or the sunset? “Nothing like a Sunrise on the water.”

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? “Gave my daughter away at her wedding, not that my son-in-law isn’t a great guy but knowing she was all grown up was a pretty rough day.”

(Photo courtesy of ACT American Crappie Trail) Ron Bilbrey (right) and tournament partner Tom Hankins were the inaugural American Crappie Trail Grenada Lake Winners in the Spring of 2017. Beating some of the best Crappie Anglers in the Nation.

10 Crappie Fishing Related Questions:
1. What is your favorite Crappie Fishing Technique and why? “Spider Rigging, in my opinion it is the most productive and yet forgiving way of tournament fishing. I am really starting to enjoy shooting docks also.”

2. Here is a scenario; you have been fishing for 2 hours and only have 2 Crappie in the boat. What do you do to find and catch more fish? “Start with your map look for other structure and or contours to target and move quickly. Upon arrival side scan locate structure at least 6-8 pcs in an area fish this structure quickly if productive and there are fish in the area side scan and locate more structure. If unproductive look for something different change water depth, look for different water color or change techniques anything to pattern the fish.”

3. What is your go-to lure or bait, color and why? “3” Shiners with an Eagle Claw EL 214 about 80% of the time. Plastics depends on Techniques. Spider rigging, Lake Fork Baby Shad, Good scent and Movement. If tipping with a minnow Mid-south tubes, the profile turns two baits into one. Vertical Jigging- Muddy Water baits good profile and color. Casting- Thump tail Shad on a weed less 1/8 oz. Jig head.”

4. How do you approach a new body of water that you have never fished before and what are you looking for? “We spend days looking at maps and satellite images prior to leaving. The internet is full of resources, We know where we are going before we arrive and hit spots in order starting with areas we like the most if we locate good fish we can duplicate all over the lake. If not we move to our next spot quickly. You must use your time productively and put a pattern on fish as well as cover water quickly. We are also looking for unpressured areas. Prefer shallow water flats if possible but have won tournaments fishing 25-30 foot deep. Like to see bait fish and other activity in the area.”

5. Do you pre-fish before your tournaments? If so, please explain your approach. Do you thoroughly cover water catching as many crappie in the area or contact fish and keep moving not to pressure an area? “We do Pre-fish before tournaments we only fish enough of an area to determine what size fish it holds never pulling more than two or three big fish from an area. We typically return to our area’s the day before we fish the tournament just to justify which area we will start in, on this day we don’t need to see a big fish only want to make sure nothing has changed to drive fish from the area.”

6. Name the most important tool/equipment in your boat or tackle that you could not fish without. “Electronics, without them we would not be as competitive on new water, locals placing structure would dominate the tournaments.”

7. In cold weather conditions, what is your approach to catching Crappie? “Slow your presentation, boat control becomes even more critical. Use your electronics to locate suspended schools. Take a good look at deep creek channels especially bends with stumps and deep water flats adjacent to channels with structure.”

8. Please name the gear you fish with; (Poles, Reels, Line, Electronics, etc.)
“We run BnM 16’ Pro-staff rods Pfluegar President Reels with 10lb Slime line. Ego Net’s, Yeti cooler with Keep alive oxygen set up for bait and live wells. Electronics we are a little different, at the console we run an 1199 for maps an HDS 12 gen 3 for side scan and down imagining we also run an HDS 9 for mapping and 2D. On the bow we run 1198 with hummingbird 360 for scanning and 2D we also run an HDS 9 for maps and down imaging.”

9. Do you have a Pre-Tournament Routine? If so please explain. “Not much of one but we are always up early and usually one of the first boats on the water. We want to make sure all of our prep work is done before start fishing time.”

10. If you could fish with one person, who would it be? “My Grandfather, as a kid we spent days fishing together he seldom went fishing without me. He passed when I was 19 and I didn’t fish for many years. Only when my sons wanted to fish did I start again.”

11. To date, what is your proudest moment in your Crappie Fishing Career? “Winning the inaugural 2017 American Crappie trail tournament on Grenada Lake.”

⦁ BONUS TIP: Please give one TIP that will help us catch Crappie. “We found the crappie will tell you what they want if you pay close attention to details. We have done poorly in tournaments that we could have done well in just by paying attention to detail. For example we once caught a big fish in 20’’ of water but didn’t pursue a shallow water bite. Later we learned the winners caught their fish in 12”-15” of water.”



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