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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Your Guide to Montgomery Bell State Park

I had a splendid time revisiting Montgomery Bell State Park last weekend. A couple of years ago I attended an outdoor writers conference here and...Read on

The white bass, or stripe, is one of the most abundant game fish species below Pickwick Dam

Pickwick’s Piscatorial Pleasures

I love it when the Tennessee River is flowing fast and Pickwick Dam’s generators are cranking out their electric juices for TVA communities. Piles of...Read on

Flowering dogwoods mark the entrance to the Old Trace trail at Garrison Creek.

Traveling the Natchez Trace

In the late 1980s heavy earth moving machines entered the quiet scenic valley near my home outside the village of Leipers Fork in Williamson County....Read on

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Fishing and Talking with Bill Dance

I had the pleasure of talking with Bill Dance recently. The first thing I noticed was that for a man as busy as he is,...Read on


Fishing for Adventure

I’ve counted my blessings daily for the last quarter century. Not just because I’ve experienced many terrific fishing trips but because I fulfilled my dreams...Read on