Growing up on Kokomo’s north end, Louie Stout always had a strong penchant for the outdoors. Even stronger was his passion of sharing those exploits with others. I can remember as a child, listening in awe as he would tell others about his trips fishing local streams and lakes.
That was nearly 50 years ago. I won’t mention he was my first baseball coach at Northside Little League when I was only half a dozen years old. He hates when I bring that up in my usual sarcastic reference to his age.
In all honesty, to say I admire and respect Stout is an understatement. He has achieved what few others have and Kokomo should be proud of its native son. Stout and his wife, Deb, currently reside on a small lake in Southwest Michigan, yet make frequent trips back home to visit family and friends.
Earlier this month, Stout was honored with one of the highest awards bestowed upon any outdoor journalist. At the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) annual tackle trade show, held at Nevada’s Las Vegas Convention Center, Stout was presented with the prestigious Homer Circle Fishing Communicator award.
This national award recognizes the journalist who exemplifies the spirit, dedication, extraordinary talent and commitment to mentoring the next generation of outdoor communicators, as did legendary outdoor journalist Homer Circle during his storied career. The award was presented during the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades Show (ICAST) sponsored by ASA. The huge event was co-sponsored by the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Even more prestigious is the fact this award is presented as deemed appropriate, not necessarily annually.
“It goes without saying that I wouldn’t be here were it not for the likes of many who took me under their wing,” Stout said humbly. “Not surprisingly, Homer Circle was one of them. As he did with so many others, Homer invested in me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams of becoming a full-time outdoors writer. I would call him for advice and his insight was always enlightening.”
Stout originally began covering outdoor sports for the Kokomo Tribune. For 17 years, he served as a newspaper reporter, writing about hunting, fishing and conservation. Since 1986 he has been a fixture throughout the United States through his full-time, freelance writing career. He has amassed more than 50 state, regional and national writing and photography awards. In 2005 he also earned induction into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of fame as a “Legendary Journalist.” His writings have appeared in Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Sports Afield and Bassmaster magazine, as well as many other national publications.
He has co-authored three of the nation’s best-selling books on bass fishing with six-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam.
Stout himself has been a mentor to many anglers and writers nationwide.
“I won’t take credit for anyone’s success,” he says emphatically. “But I’ve always made myself available to anyone who has sought my advice over the years,” he added.
“Louie’s an exceptional communicator as well as a good friend and mentor to many in the sportfishing industry,” said Laurie Lee Dovey, CEO of POMA. “He’s also one of a limited number of writers who has made a career as a freelance writer — a challenging task he’s mastered. POMA and ASA are proud to shine the spotlight on Louie and the recognition of his writing career is not only well deserved, it’s hard earned.”
“This award recognizes the important role all outdoor communicators play in educating and informing the public about fishing, boating and wildlife conservation,” added ASA president and CEO Mike Nussman. “Louie is a strong conservation and fishing advocate and this is a well-deserved honor.”
For those of us locally who have followed Stout’s fabled career, he has achieved what only a few have accomplished and many only dream of. From his humble beginnings in Kokomo’s north side he has established himself as a nationally known and respected writer of our great outdoors. Way to go, Coach!
Henry Cavazos and Phil Reel have dominated the Kokomo Reservoir open team bass tourneys, sponsored by Cardwell Built Construction. Cavazos and Reel again took top honors with five largemouth bass totaling just under 11 pounds. A fish just missing the 3-pound mark also earned them the tourney’s “biggest fish” trophy. Joel and Dave Edwards snagged second place with five fish weighing 8.75 pounds. B.J. Butcher and Chad Babcock finished third place with five fish dropping the digital scales at 8.35 pounds.
Dennis Goff and Mike Nolder came away winners at last Tuesday’s Delphi-Delco team bass tourney with five fish dropping the scales at 12 pounds, 1 ounce. Second were Bob Rose and Wayne Nolder with five fish weighing an ounce shy of 11 pounds. Jerry Pickett grabbed third with four fish totaling 9 pounds, 4 ounces. Pickett and Keith Milburn tied for the tourney’s “biggest fish” with each on them bringing in a bass missing the 4-pound mark by one ounce.
TRIBUNE CATCHES OF THE WEEK
Bryant’s Outdoor Store: Jimmy Cummings and Eddie Wilson encountered a great day fishing the Mississinewa River. Together, they hauled in 15 flathead catfish totaling nearly 117 pounds. The fish were taken on live bait.
Springhill Camp and Pay Pit: Charles Nance brought in three channel cats weighing 14 pounds, 9ounces. Dawn Marnin and Suzy Likens landed four channel cats totaling 8 pounds, 4 ounces. The fish were taken on several types of live bait.
U.S. 31 Bait and Tackle: Jeff Smith and Jerrod Lancaster cleaned 43 bluegills after a recent outing on a Kosciusko County lake. The fish averaged 8 inches in length and were taken on beemoth and crickets.
John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.