Middle TN Writer

Vernon Summerlin

Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I put songwriting aside when I sold the first two fishing articles I wrote. I was being published more than the average songwriter, and I got to fish all I wanted. Talk about being in heaven—it was like being paid to eat candy! Twenty-five years later, I’ve written/co-written 11 books, had a weekly outdoor column for Middle Tennessee newspapers, put my pen to countless fishing articles, and have been a host for three radio programs and two TV shows. I’m immersed in our state’s outdoor life and will do my best to get you outside to experience Middle Tennessee’s slice of paradise. Describe your perfect Tennessee day. Nothing floats my boat better than catching fish, or at least trying. Give me a partly cloudy day with the temperature in the mid-60s by 11 a.m. and a breeze causing a light ripple on the surface. In my “Old Man Boat” with my wife, Cathy, and Jake, the golden retriever, trolling the Cumberland River for smallmouth, walleye, striper. Where’s the first place you’d take a friend visiting Tennessee? We often take our friends for a tour of the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Each season suggests the activity we’ll include—walking the old trails, wading in a creek, picking berries, photographing waterfalls or capturing deer or turkeys on camera. If you could meet one historical Tennessean, who would it be and why? (This can be someone still living.) I would love to visit with Bill Dance and fish with him. He blazed the trail for so many anglers, inspiring some anglers to become fishing pros, some to write, some to develop outdoor TV shows. He’s always gracious, with something substantial to offer.

Stories By Vernon

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Port Royal Trail of Tears

Port Royal: A Small State Park with a Long, Tear-Filled History

In addition to fishing and science, history is one of my life-long interests. Decades of hearing family stories of the Summerlins’ hardships, adventures and triumphs...Read on

Normandy Lake Fishing Walleyes

Fishing Walleye, Sipping RC, and Munching MoonPies in Tennessee

Mmm, mmm, good! This story’s all about great tastes, Southern traditions and one of Middle Tennessee’s best spots for walleye fishing, Normandy Lake. Walleyes are...Read on

Limestone bluffs and densely forested slopes line many of Center Hill Lake’s 415 miles of beautiful shoreline. (Photo: TN State Parks Naturalist Randy Hedgepath)

Summer Fishing and Flowers at Center Hill Lake

Last month I attended Jim Duckworth’s 13th Annual Writers Camp at Edgar Evins State Park on Center Hill Lake. Each year a group of writers meet...Read on

Duck Rive kayaking

Float the Duck River for Fishing Fun

I guess you could say I’m a flat water guy. I’m generally more interested in seeing the sights and catching fish than running rapids. The...Read on

Pickwick Landing State Park

The Catfish Capital of the World, Right Here in Tennessee

I was surprised when a couple of our newest neighbors confessed they didn’t care for fried catfish. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could resist the...Read on

Smoky Mountain Clouds

A Tennessee Trek: Hike the Smokies to Mount LeConte

Usually my urge for exploration is satisfied with sonar-assisted searches of fishing holes or watching the gold miners on the History Channel. But every now...Read on

Dale Hollow Lake aerial shot

Catch Spring Fever at Dale Hollow Lake and Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park

Does spring fever have you in its grip? Consider a healthy dose of R & R in one of the beautiful cabins, chalets, houseboats or...Read on