August 2, 2008

Music City Mecca

By Stranz, Blake

Nestled just outside of Nashville, J. Percy Priest Lake offers boaters a little bit of country Mention Nashville, Tennessee, to most folks and their thoughts immediately turn to country music. And while country/western may be what Nashville is best known for, there's more to the Music City than guitars and banjos. Just a few miles from the shadow of The Grand Ole Opry rests a haven for boaters. With 213 miles of shoreline and 14,400 acres of water at full draw, I. Percy Priest Lake attracts boating families from all over.

No matter how you like to spend your days, J. Percy Priest can accommodate you. The fishing is excellent. Aside from being one of the finest smallmouth bass lakes in Tennessee, there are also largemouth bass, striped bass (locally called rockfish) and Cherokee bass. Crappie and bluegill are plentiful, and for serious lunker hunters, large channel, blue and flathead catfish also thrive.

If fishing is not your passion, there's still plenty to lure you here. For cruisers and watersports fans, the lake offers beautiful scenery along mile after mile of uninterrupted shoreline. Mixed in with sandy beaches, rock bluffs and wooded areas, you'll find developed parks with facilities and boat ramps.


Thanks to Percy Priest's jagged shoreline and many islands, even on the busiest days boaters can still find a secluded spot for a quiet cruise, or some calm water for a few passes at the end of a tow line.

While the many launch ramps and marinas dotting the shores of Percy Priest make it an ideal spot for a day trip, overnighters will truly reap the benefits of what Nashville's favorite waterway has to offer. Three modern campgrounds provide facilities such as showers, RV hookups, beaches and ramps. But if joining the masses in a developed campground isn't your idea of "roughing it," then the islands are calling. Many of the lake's islands are fitted with primitive campgrounds that are available on a first-come, first- served basis.

Watersports and fishing are both popular on the sprawling waterway known as Percy Pnest, and marinas, campgrounds and more are scattered around the lake's shoreline. Of course, in these parts you're never far from Nashville's famous music scene.

Watersports ana fishing are both popular on the sprawling waterway known as Percy Priest, and marinas, campgrounds and more are scattered around the lake's shoreline. Of course, in these parts you're never far from Nashville's famous music scene.


If you are looking to supplement your enjoyment of the plentiful scenery and boat-bound recreation, try Nashville Shores Water Park. Located along the water's edge, it offers fun for people of all ages. With seven water slides, three pools and a huge bucket that dumps hundreds of gallons of water over pool denizens every two minutes, Nashville Shores provides hours of diversion. If sliding down flumes and screaming your lungs out on a near vertical raft drop isn't your idea of a good time, the park also has a large sand beach, paddle boats and free lake cruises on the Nashville Shoreliner. Dry activities include miniature golf, volleyball, horseshoes, picnic areas and even live entertainment. The park also offers waterski and stunt shows.

Kids and water go together like summer and sunshine - and you'll find plenty of each while enjoying J. Percy Priest's fantastic boating opportunities.

Because Percy Priest is an urban lake, boating and apres-boating possibilities are endless. If you want to stay close to your rig, four commercial marinas offer everything necessary for enjoyable days on the water. If you are looking for a square meal, restaurants are available on the lake.

History buffs will probably want to visit The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, which is a short drive from the shores of Percy Priest. At the junction of the Stones and Cumberland rivers, you can visit Two Rivers Mansion, the magnificent 28-room home of the McGovock family. The historic home of Sam Davis remains on 168 acres of what used to be a 1000-acre plantation in nearby Smyrna. Interested in the Civil War? Be sure to head to Murfreesboro to visit the Stones River National Battlefield, the site of a vicious North/South skirmish.

Most days, it's easy to find a glassy cove that's just begging for some hot fishing, boarding or skiing action. And the best part? Launch ramps are plentiful.

Shopping is available all over Nashville, but the Opry Mills center - adjacent to the gigantic Gaylord Opryland hotel - is a mere 10 miles from the dam.


Of course, if it's nightlife you crave, Nashville isn't called the Music City for nothing. Local and national acts perform throughout the year here, and there are several music festivals during summer. And it's not just country music, anymore. More and more musical styles are defining the Nashville sound, so there is something for everyone.

Whether it's the lake itself that draws you to these shores, or just the thought of a Nashville vacation, Percy Priest won't disappoint. No matter what your motivation - be it the serenity of a scenic shoreline; the challenge of a feisty striped bass; or the excitement of a nearby city that defines the word entertainment - once visiting boaters experience this Tennessee treasure, planning a return trip won't be a matter of if; it'll be simply when.


On a lake producing as many trophy gamefish as J. Percy Priest, a fishing rig like the Nitro Z-9 is the perfect setup. And to make sure that you and your gear get to the lake with room to spare, the 2008 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited 4x4 is an ideal hauler. With its available 5.7L iFORCE 32-valve V-8 and smooth-shifting, six-speed automatic, the Tundra is redefining the rules for pickups when it comes to power and efficiency. Rated at 381 hp and 401 Ib.-ft. of torque, the Tundra has plenty of muscle to get boaters to their favorite waterway - and thanks to its beefy front and rear disc brakes, you'll have plenty of confidence to stop even when towing up to 10,100 pounds.

With miles of open water on Percy Priest, anglers will appreciate the Nitro Z-9's 300 hp transom rating. This 21-foot bass boat can move up to four passengers at warp speed, and the 65-gallon fuel tank means more time fishing and less down time at the fuel pump. A bevy of bow storage lockers offers abundant room for rods and tackle and with no clutter on deck, anglers can move freely when that lunker is on the line.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers control the lake, so federal rules govern J. Percy Priest Lake activities. A web search for CFR 36 will get visitors a copy of the regs.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Visitors Center


Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau


Elm Hill Marina


Fate Sanders Marina


Nashville Shores Marina


Four Corners Marina


Copyright Ehlert Publishing Group, Inc. Aug 2008

(c) 2008 Trailer Boats. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.