East TN, 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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Sandhill Crane Festival Tennessee

Flock to Tennessee for the 24th Annual Sandhill Crane Festival

*This information is updated to reflect 2016 dates and information* Whether you’re a devoted backyard birder or have no idea who’s making the chirps and...Read on

Nolichucky River Whitewater Rafting

Beat the Summer Heat Rafting on Tennessee’s Whitewater

For serious adrenaline surges and nearly non-stop thrills, nothing beats paddling water that’s white and fast. Outfitters on the Nolichucky, Pigeon and Ocoee Rivers offer...Read on


The Best Waterfalls on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau

Finally, it’s summer. School is out, and we’re planning vacations to getaway from our whirlwind lives. It’s time to take that much needed time off...Read on

Visitors to Cove Lake State Park in East Tennessee find lovely settings among its 106 campsites that are equipped with water and electrical hookups. Photo Cathy Summerlin

Take Your Pick This Summer of Tennessee Campgrounds

If you’ve been hit hard by skyrocketing temps and a full blown case of “dog days” doldrums long before they arrive, maybe you should head...Read on

Normandy Lake, an impoundment on the Duck River, has long been known for its bass and crappies, however, in the last decade a strong walleye fishery has developed and become very popular with anglers

Duck River – A Canoeing and Fishing Odyssey

We are so lucky here in Tennessee – not only do we have lush mountains, lakes and rivers but there are loads of ways to...Read on

Celebrate and explore the world’s largest natural Catawba rhododendron garden in full bloom at Roan Mountain during the Rhododendron Festival, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET, June 21-22, 2014.

They’re Throwing a Great Big Garden Party on Roan Mountain

There are some who believe Roan Mountain, with its mysterious grassy balds and natural 600-acre Catawba rhododendron gardens is the most beautiful mountain in the...Read on

The Appalachian Trail crosses Unaka Mountain Road in a remote section of Unicoi County between Johnson City and Erwin that features 60-foot Red Fork Falls, the 4,500-foot Unaka Mountain Overlook and Beauty Spot. Photo by Cathy Summerlin

10 Terrific Reasons to Spend Your Vacation in the Cherokee National Forest

From breathtaking vistas at Unaka Mountain Overlook and Buck Bald to hidden coves, scenic drives, hundreds of miles of tumbling streams, dazzling mountain lakes, options...Read on