West 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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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

Buffalo River Tennessee

Take In the Beauty of Tennessee’s Buffalo River

Who wouldn’t like to spend a lazy day exploring one of Tennessee’s best-known and most beautiful rivers? I’m not talking about heart-stopping plunges through raging...Read on

Northrup Falls

Explore Tennessee’s Natural Wonders at Colditz Cove

If you’ve not yet visited Colditz Cove, one of Tennessee’s 82 treasured ecological reserves, you’re in for a treat. Located on the upper Cumberland Plateau,...Read on

The blogger's fishing partner, Doug Markham, hauled in this whopper striper below Old Hickory Dam

Fishing Nashville in the Last Days of Winter

Think of all the things Nashville is known for… time’s up. Did you think of fishing? Three major reservoirs lie within casting distance of the...Read on

River batteries at Fort Donelson National Battlefield overlook a sweeping view of the Cumberland River.

Remembering Iron Valentines at Fort Donelson National Battlefield

Simon Bolivar Buckner and U.S. Grant met while students at West Point. They met again in New York during 1854 when Grant was down on...Read on