by Tim Huffman
This retired police officer now goes out of his way to promote crappie fishing
Russ Bailey has hosted crappie fishing TV shows for 14 years. His current show, in its sixth year, is Brushpile Fishing TV. He has a new podcast available at iHeartRadio, 1150 WIMA. He fished national tournaments for 12 years racking up 14 wins and qualifying for 11 classics. He is a fishing guide. Primary sponsors include: BnM Poles; Bone Head Tackle; Slime Line; and Crappie Magnet. Along with the credentials, he is a great ambassador for the sport of crappie fishing.
Bailey was born in 1962 and is a retired police officer. He lives in Ohio with his wife of 30 years, Pattie. They have two grown children.
How did you get started crappie fishing?
“I use to be a serious walleye fishermen on Lake Eric,” says Bailey. “Some of the guys at work asked me to go crappie fishing with them and to tell the truth, I wasn’t that excited about it. However, as soon as I started catching crappie on light tackle, I was hooked from that moment on.”
“It is still happening, my Brushpile Fishing TV Show. The guys do an outstanding job of producing a high-quality show that we are all very proud of. Each show we have an expert guide or tournament fishermen and the show is theirs. They share tactics, tips and lake information with the viewers. I get to share a fishing spot in the boat, talk a little and catch fish.”
Fishing strength and weakness?
“Shooting docks is my strength. My weakness is clear water. I always struggle in clear lakes.”
You fish all over the country. What’s your favorite lake?
“Everybody says Grenada but mine is Weiss Lake, Alabama. I love dock shooting and there are so many docks down there. I also love the area. My second lake would be Lake Fork, Texas, because it’s a great lake for vertical jigging timber.”
You have your own rod?
“It’s the BnM Russ Bailey Signature Series 10.5-foot. It is a good vertical jigging rod and I also use it around docks to flip and pitch. We also have an 8-foot model.”
What about line?
“That’s my number one seminar question. I use four-pound-test high-vis line for most of my fishing. I use to use six-pound for years but the four just gets more bites and bites are easier to see.”
What if you could only have one jig in the boat?
“That’s tough. It would be a Brush Glider, 1/16-ounce in purple shad. I’m old school. I do like a handful of colors but I know what works so I’ll often have yellow/white in stained water and blue/white or purple/white in clear.”
You’ve been in the fishing business many years. What keeps you motivated?
“It’s the interaction with crappie fans and fishermen. I get to visit with so many people each year and I love it. I even got busier yesterday when we started a new podcast on iHeartRadio.”
“When I’ve found a spot and start catching fish, then someone moves in close enough we can touch each other. That’s ridiculous but it happens and shows major disrespect.”
How you spend time when not fishing?
“Baseball. My son played serious travel ball for years and now he’s playing college ball. When not fishing, we are doing baseball activities.”
“Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman. I’ve had the opportunity to fish with them a few times and film them in tournaments. I’ve never seen a more fine-tuned fishing machine than those two. They will bend over backwards to talk with fishermen who want to ask questions and learn.”
“Peanut butter and crackers.
“Reds and Indians baseball. Football is Steelers and Ohio State.”
How about a couple of tips guaranteed to help readers catch more fish?
“I never fill up with gas in the morning. Getting that smell on your hands or clothes can hurt your fishing the rest of the day. The other would be to use Crappie Nibbles when the bite is slow. They work wonders.”
Something most people don’t know about you?
“I’m not a fan of politics or politicians. I won’t read or listen to them, reporters or people in general. I see good and bad in all of them, but I see politics dividing a lot of people who would otherwise be friends. It tears me up to watch what politicians are doing to this country.”
How would you like to be remembered?
“As someone who really tried to help promote the crappie fishing industry.”
(Tim Huffman has specialized in crappie fishing writing and photography since 1988. He is currently the Editor/Senior Writer for Crappie Masters Magazine, freelance contributor to four magazines, book author and Senior Writer for CrappieNow Digital Magazine.)