Monday, December 11, 2017
Outdoors

Take a look back at some of Terry Tomalin's most memorable stories

Times' Outdoors writer Terry Tomalin knew the swamps, beaches and forests of the Sunshine State about as well as anyone. He brought them all alive for readers with dozens of first-person narratives, often funny, sometimes poignant, always pure Florida. Here are a few from over the years.

In pursuit of the famous Skunk Ape

Knife in hand, Tomalin hopes to capture one of Florida's most elusive creatures. He wrote:

"A couple more feet and I would be famous. 'Man captures Skunk Ape,' the tabloids would scream, 'and lives to tell the tale.'

One man, a kayak, the open, angry sea: Solitude is the quest

Tomalin loved a good adventure. In this one, he took on "The Outside," the 75-mile stretch of unprotected waters down the west coast of Florida ... in a kayak ... all alone.

The power of the paddle

In 2003, Tomalin took readers on a trip to Bimini by canoe. "Keep paddling," yelled one crew members as waves broke across the deck. "Keep up the speed!"

Big fun for small fry

Tomalin often included his family of his adventures. In this 2003 story, he wrote about fishing with his then 2-year-old son.

Portrait of a nephew as a young, happy camper

Family was also featured in Tomalin's 1991 column about taking his 6-year-old nephew Tyler camping for the first time.

Camp fright

Tomalin went looking for ghosts in the Florida wilds, including Edgar J. Watson, the planter, trader and murderer who terrorized swamps at the turn of the century.

Scare tactics

He also explored the art and science of telling a good campfire ghost story.

The grouper catch: You order grouper; what do you get?

Tomalin also wrote some hard hitting stories, including a two-part special report about how the grouper you eat often isn't grouper. Tap here to read Part 1. Tap here to read Part 2.

Father's Day means lure of memories

Fishing with his father wasn't so much about catching as it was talking, Tomalin wrote. "It was just he and I, pals for life."

Comments

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: Bait schools near shore drawing kings, mackerel, bonito

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas. Bait schools are roaming just a couple of miles offshore, attracting kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have ...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17

Captainís Corner: Speckled sea trout can be easily caught on artificial lures

Speckled sea trout are one of the most reliable targets this time of year. Grass flats are usually empty because of extreme low tides. That causes higher concentrations of fish on the edges and in the deeper grass flats. No live bait is needed. A red...
Published: 12/01/17

Captainís Corner: Cooler weather lures decent gag grouper

Mild temperatures have allowed anglers to get out and explore many areas. Cooler weather has lured decent gag grouper. We expected them to arrive in the past month, and they havenít disappointed. Numerous rocks in 20- to 120-foot depths seem to be ho...
Published: 11/30/17

Captainís Corner: Donít have to go far offshore for grouper

When most anglers think of bottom fishing for grouper, they usually think that means taking a long run offshore. During late November and early December, grouper migrate close to shore, so a long run might not be necessary. There are times we target ...
Published: 11/28/17
Updated: 11/29/17