I have always revelled in the outdoor success of family, friends and even those I don’t know. Maybe it was a child’s first bluegill, a young lady’s first deer or a seasoned hunter’s trophy buck. Through the years I have used this space to recognize outdoor achievements. So it was especially pleasing when I learned Kokomo native and lifelong friend Louie Stout will be forever enshrined in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. “Achieving something like this is very humbling,” Stout said modestly, “not to mention overwhelming.”
Growing up in Kokomo’s north end Stout always possessed a strong penchant for the outdoors. At the young age of 19 he was one of the original members of the Kokomo Bass Anglers fishing club. Even stronger was his passion for sharing those exploits with others. I can remember as a child listening in awe as he would tell others about his fishing trips to local rivers and streams. To date, he has achieved what others can only dream of, even eclipsing a torpedo size smallmouth bass dancing at the end of a taught line. For over five decades he has put pen to paper, or should I now say fingers to keyboard.
Stout, now age 67, began his writing career as a junior at Kokomo High School when he started with the Kokomo Tribune. He spent the next 17 years as a fulltime newspaper reporter covering outdoor topics. Since then his writings have also appeared in the South Bend Tribune, Goshen News and Michigan City News Dispatch. His work also appeared in Outdoor Life, Field and Stream and Sports Afield. Adding to his credits are three successful books he authored with seven-time bass fishing Angler-of-the-Year and friend Kevin VanDam.
He sold his first article to the bible of bass fishing, Bassmaster Magazine, in 1980. Since 1987 he has been a freelance outdoor writer, specializing in bass fishing, covering every Bassmaster Classic since 1979.
The Kokomo native covers each event or topic with professionalism, respect and class, something that has not gone unnoticed. In 2005 he was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame receiving “Legendary Journalist” status. In 2013 he was awarded the coveted Homer Circle Fishing Communicator Award. He continues his senior writer status for Bassmaster Magazine as well as several newspapers.
Even though newspaper ink flows through his veins, the Indiana native and current Michigan resident created Michiana Outdoors News web site as a hotspot for sportsmen to get up-to-date regional news and a place to learn more about their favorite pastimes.
This website reaches across southern Michigan and northern Indiana (hence the name Michiana), covering fishing and hunting topics, regulation changes, record-breaking fish catches, big game kills and other outdoors topics that impact sportsmen living within that region. He uses his wealth of contacts and intimate knowledge to also monitor regulation changes and controversial topics that develop within the Indiana and Michigan DNR.
While all 62 current members of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame have their own special place where others can honor their achievements, this year’s class of inductees are being afforded a special benefit. The five new members joining Stout are Wade Bourne, Shaw Grigsby, Bob Sealy and Morris Sheehan. The group will be enshrined at the Hall’s new permanent home within Bass Pro Shop founder Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo. A special dinner and ceremony is planned for November 9.
To say there are many in his hometown who hold the upmost respect, this outdoor scribe included, is an understatement. While scores have starved trying, Stout is one of a select few from across the United States who has made a full time career as a freelance writer, an extremely challenging task for which he has mastered.
One thing I have always admired about my longtime friend, he has always remained easily approachable. He has graciously served as a mentor for many anglers and budding journalists, me included. When reminded of this he was quick to point out “I will never take credit for anyone’s success,” he added emphatically. “The only thing I have tried to do is make myself available for anyone seeking advice.”
Who would have ever guessed a young boy who loved to fish from Kokomo’s north end would achieve every conceivable national honor bestowed to any outdoor journalist. It’s only fitting the spotlight should shine long and bright on our native son. The national recognition of his long and storied writing career is not only well deserved, but hard earned. Congratulations Louie!