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Bass Pro Shops ‘legend’ Charlie Campbell dies, 87

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Bass Pro Shops founder and owner, Johnny Morris (left), described his friend, Charlie Campbell (right), as a ‘fishing legend’.

Charlie Campbell, who helped designed the Bass Tracker Boat, has died. He was 87.

A great fishermen as well as a noted ambassador for fishing, Campbell won 67 tournaments, field tested many products for Bass Pro Shops and represented the company at national seminars.

He joined Bass Pro Shops in 1977 and was a lifelong friend of company founder, Johnny Morris. “Charlie helped me design the very first Bass Tracker fishing boat,” recalled Morris.

“He was just the greatest guy and a fishing legend here in the Ozarks and around the country. Charlie was a very special friend in life to me, to everyone at Bass Pro Shops and to fishermen everywhere. His spirit will be with us forever.”

After graduating in 1951 Campbell spent 15 years as a teacher and basketball coach, during which time he led Forsyth School to a state title in 1973. He then opened a marine dealership in Branson.

He went on to win the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) national championships and was placed fifth in the Bassmaster Classic. He developed the Charlie Campbell CC Spinner bait and his successes in top-water fishing helped bring back the Zara Spook.

Campbell co-hosted KY3 TV’s “Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tips” from 1982 to 2019, first with Jack Emmitt and then Emmitt’s son, Rick.

He was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and the Drury University Athletics Hall of Fame.

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