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There are some very young anglers fishing the major pro series. Many are coming through the various collegiate trails, while others are already fishing the Open events as high school students. Competitive fishing takes its toll on backs and joints- just ask Denny Brauer Pro Angler- and when you start later in life, the number of weeks, months and years left to commit to full time tournament angling are definitely numbered. If the mind is willing but flesh weak, it can lead to some regrets for late arriving pros.

That was certainly true for 1986 Classic Champion Charlie Reed- not starting younger was his

biggest regret. "I waited until I could afford it," said Reed, who fished his first full season with B.A.S.S. at the age of 50. He had a construction and land development business that allowed him to build up the savings to fish regional tournaments and some B.A.S.S. events. With his finances in order, Reed committed full time to the B.A.S.S. circuit for the 1984-85 season. At the time of his Classic victory at Chickamauga and Nickajack lakes, Reed was 51, which made him the event's oldest winner until Woo Daves won at age 54 in 2000.

The victory helped Reed gain some sponsors and motivated him to continue his pro career, but he did not leverage it into as much money as he could have. He did not want to do personal appearances and things like that. The Broken Bow, Oklahoma, angler made four more Classic appearances and racked up six Top 10 finishes, 16 Top 20 finishes and 44 Top 50 performances before calling it quits in 1997. For a couple of years, his wife Vojai made a splash by being the first woman to fish the B.A.S.S. trail, but when she quit in 1992, Charlie lost his travelling partner and the road grind started to wear on him. With the fun gone, Reed retired after turning in a fifth-place at the 1997 Alabama Bassmaster Top 100 on Lake Neely Henry. He went back to the land development business and never fished another tournament. Charlie passed away in 2013.


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