A Miracle Day of Fishing Tennessee with Bill Dance
Last March, to promote the many opportunities outdoor enthusiasts can experience in our state, the state launched a contest to win a fishing trip with legendary angler Bill Dance.
In addition to the exclusive prospect to fish with Mr. Dance on a private lake, the winner received two additional professionally guided outings; one near Dandridge, Tenn. and another near Spencer, Tenn. Accommodations were provided to the winner and one guest for two nights at Hampton Inn in Collierville, two nights at Trout Hill Condominiums from Highland Rim Vacations and two nights at Point Resort on Douglas Lake.
“I’m sure nobody has to tell anyone how much this country boy loves fishing, but I’m also quite fond of meeting new people that share that special romance,” Dance said about his involvement in the contest. “I was really looking forward to fishing with the winner of the fishing trip and I promised to make it an event that we both would always remember.”
And, man, did he keep his promise!
They caught more than 50 bass ranging up to three pounds – a dang good day of hooking. I tried to learn where Bill took the winners fishing. It’s still a secret.
The winner, Clark Miracle from Jacksonville, N.C., made his trip to Tennessee a family affair by bringing his wife (Carmen), son (Jake), and Jake’s girlfriend (Dani). Clark, who could take a guest with him to fish with Bill, took his son. Here’s my interview with Clark and his memories of his trip.
Vern: What was it like fishing with Bill Dance?
Clark: Tiring!! Exciting!!! An experience we will never forget. It was like fishing with family. Bill was great, answered all of our questions, kept us laughing, and taught us tons of tips, tricks, and techniques. He treated us like old friends and we had an outstanding experience spending the day with him. And by the way, I’d drive another 900 miles for another one of Bill’s special ham sandwiches. They were so good.
Vern: How long did you fish?
Clark: Alllllll day! Bill picked us up at our hotel about 8 A.M. We fished from about 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. and we would probably still be fishing if it was up to Bill, but my son and I were worn out by that time. On the way to one of Bill’s secret fishing holes, we stopped off at his studio and he introduced us to his TV crew and office staff. That was an unexpected bonus and one we found to be really interesting.
Let me clarify; because in writing you can’t express the emotion, but “allllll day” is my tongue in cheek response. I’m trying to convey how in awe Jake and I were at Bill’s stamina and how much he loved, loved, loved to fish and be out on the water. And we loved every minute of being out on the water with Bill.
Vern: What was your favorite part of the experience?
Clark: My favorite part was getting to have this experience with my son Jake and getting to meet a man we’ve known all our lives, but had never met.
Vern: Did you learn more about how to catch bass?
Clark: You have to hold your mouth jusssst right and that is all I am allowed to say about that.
Vern: Where are some of your favorite places to go in Tennessee?
Clark: On this trip we went to three towns we probably would not have gone to if not for winning this amazing trip. The towns were all located outside much larger metro areas and we enjoyed the small town atmosphere, great people and awesome food. We went to Dandridge where we stayed at The Point Resort on Douglas Lake. We spent a half-day fishing with Richard McMasters and he also took us on a tour and gave us a history of Douglas Lake.
We then went to Collierville, right outside Memphis, where we met up with Bill. While my son and I were fishing the day away, my wife, Carmen, and my son’s girlfriend, Dani, went to Graceland and to the Memphis Zoo, which they really enjoyed. While in Memphis we, of course, tried out the world famous BBQ.
We then headed to Spencer and stayed at Trout Hill Condominiums at Long Branch Lakes. We toured the area and it is one of the most beautiful rustic hideaway areas we’ve ever visited. We spent a day hiking and enjoying the beautiful views at Fall Creek Falls. This trip was exactly the type of vacation with outdoor activities that our family has always enjoyed.
We really want to thank all the folks at Tennessee Tourism for putting this road trip together and to all of the sponsors. Now that our sons are older, it is really difficult to get time to spend together and this was a truly wonderful experience for us as a family.
Vern: Clark, thank you for the interview and providing the photography. I’m glad you had an especially good time in our state. Come again.