Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Terry Tomalin's 25 tips after a quarter century outdoors

Twenty-five years ago Sunday, I left my job in the News Department and moved to Sports to cover the great outdoors. One week, I was falling asleep in a county commission meeting, the next I was at Weedon Island catching snook. • I've gained knowledge and wisdom in the past quarter-century, and there have been times when the subtle difference between the two have helped me walk the fine line that often separates success and failure. • Many of these life lessons have been learned the hard way — through personal experience. But you can save yourself some time and suffering. Here are 25 observations from 25 years on the outdoors beat:

• Stand on the beach for a moment and watch how the surf breaks before you jump right in. You'll catch more waves and suffer fewer wipeouts.

• Never turn your back on the ocean or a fishing buddy who doesn't know how to cast.

• Carry a compass. It will tell you what direction you are going and, sometimes more importantly, where you have been.

• Sharpen your hooks. Any tool, be it a pencil, saw blade or mind, dulls with time. Routine maintenance will assure that you are ready for anything.

• The Antarctic explorer Roald Amundsen said that adventure is just bad planning. Every hour spent in preparation will save you 10 hours in the field.

• My father once told me that you can never have too many pocket knives or flashlights. I stash them everywhere, which can be embarrassing at airport checkpoints.

• I know how to generate flames with flint and steel, but I'm no caveman. That's why I carry a tube of fire starter and waterproof matches.

• If a bull shark wants your stringer, let it go. There are more fish in the sea.

• And when it comes to sharks, think about karma. I don't eat sharks, and sharks don't eat me.

• Plan your dive and dive your plan. You might think differently when you are carried by the current in 80 feet of water. But never forget why you came and who is waiting at home.

• File a float plan. Sure, maybe you are just going tarpon fishing beneath the Skyway. But when the engine doesn't start and the anchor fails, you'll sure be glad your wife has called the Coast Guard.

• When in doubt, sit it out. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

• Plan for the worst and hope for the best. I always carry a survival kit, even on day hikes. Be the person that saves the day.

• When the going gets tough — smile. When it is cold, rainy and the boat is about to sink, nobody needs a sourpuss.

• In Florida, you need to shuffle your feet for stingrays but also step high when hiking down a muddy trail.

• Guns and alcohol don't mix.

• Raccoons are smarter than dogs or dolphins and many campers.

• I've swam across Tampa Bay in the middle of winter, yet I still put on a personal flotation device, or life jacket, every time I get in a canoe or kayak.

• Florida is like no place else in the world. You are lucky to live here. Take care of it.

• Hug a tree, or specifically, a mangrove. When it comes to the future of our fisheries, it's about habitat, stupid.

• When you are shivering on a sandbar at midnight, a cup of coffee will make everything all right. Pack a camp stove.

• Carry more water than you think you will need. You can always use it to brush your teeth.

• To paraphrase Steve McQueen, the King of Cool, it is better to wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.

• Your mom was right. Turn off the TV, computer, iPad, smartphone and take it outside. You will be glad you did.

• I used to say that attitude is everything. But now I know that attitude is the only thing.

Take It Outside

Terry Tomalin demonstrates how to paddle a canoe. Watch the video at tampabay.com/outdoors.

Terry Tomalin's 25 tips after a quarter century outdoors 02/26/15 [Last modified: Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  3. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    If you're walking, you're hitting, as the saying goes, so it's a good sign that RF Steven Souza Jr. reached base four times, with a hit by pitch, a single and two walks. Hitters feel they are coming out of slumps when they are walking, because they are seeing the ball better. That's good news for the Rays …

  5. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."