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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Bear Trace Tims Ford

Tims Ford State Park: Great Golf, Fishing, Camping, and More

The December weather was balmy when we visited Tims Ford State Park which is located on the shores of the scenic 10,700-acre lake, roughly midway...Read on

Pickett State Park has 58 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate difficulty with lengths of 0.2 miles to 14 miles.

Christmas on the Cumberland Plateau

If you’ve not yet visited the Cumberland Plateau at Pickett State Rustic Park and its historic neighbord, Rugby, during winter, you’re in for a treat....Read on

Land Between the Lakes homestead

Savoring the Outdoors and History at Land Between the Lakes

My favorite playgrounds involve woods, water and wildlife so Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area with its hiking trails, historic sites, roaming buffalo, bugling...Read on

Bill Dance plays host to winners of Tennessee Tourism contest  - and removes hook from Jake’s bass.

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...Read on

The horseshoe shaped Burgess Falls has thundering curtains of water flowing down so you seem to feel it through the soles of your shoes.

Breathe in the Fresh Air at Burgess Falls State Park

Are you aware how good it feels to find yourself flooded with negative ions? Aren’t sure what negative ions are? Me either, but researchers say...Read on

This view is of Kentucky Lake looking south from the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center at Pilot Knob in Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park.

Find Higher Ground at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park

Picnicking, camping, hiking and fishing are popular pastimes at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. But unless you’ve found your way through the park to the...Read on

Paris Landing Kentucky Lake

Give Thanks to Paris Landing State Park

There’s no Eiffel Tower in sight but Paris Landing State Park packs its own set of postcard-ready features. Situated on Kentucky Lake, the largest man-made lake...Read on