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Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors/Fitness Editor

Terry Tomalin

Terry Tomalin moved to Florida in the spring of 1980 for the sun and surf. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 1983, Tomalin backpacked through Europe, returning a few months later to work for a small Central Florida newspaper, where his stories on the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the resignation of a local sheriff.

Tomalin joined the Times as a police reporter in 1986, but left 18 months later to backpack through New Zealand and Australia. He returned a year later and transferred to the sports department to cover the great outdoors.

During the past 20 years, Tomalin has lived with witch doctors in the Amazon, explored sunken Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico, sailed to Cuba, canoed to the Bahamas and swam around Key West. Tomalin loves to fish, surf, paddle and enjoy all Florida has to offer.

A fellow of the prestigious Explorer's Club in New York City, Tomalin holds a master's degree in Florida studies and is involved in many community organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America.

Phone: (727) 893-8808


Twitter: @WaterTribe

  1. Take It Outside Planner: Fishing village of Steinhatchee (w/video), paddle Weeki Wachee, catch barracuda



    Looking for Old Florida at its best? Head to Steinhatchee, a town of fewer than 2,000, located about three hours north of Tampa. One of Florida's first settlements, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and President Andrew Jackson both passed through here at one time, but today, the tiny fishing village caters to the outdoors crowd. The first thing you learn when you visit is how to say the name. Locals pronounce the "Stein" in Steinhatchee as "Steen," similar to "steam." The name is American Indian in origin. "Esteen hatchee" means river (hatchee) of man (esteen). The town has long been known for its scallops, but now that the season is closed, local fishing guides entertain tourists who come to fish the rich grass beds for trout, redfish, sheepshead, black sea bass and mangrove snapper. But the Big Bend region has more to offer than just scallops, crabs and fish. Head upstream and the Steinhatchee River provides great paddling opportunities. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and check out Steinhatchee Falls. The spot was a historic crossing point for American Indians and other settlers. In terms of lodging, the laid-back luxury of Steinhatchee Landing Resort, a village of quaint rental cottages, is worth the trip. Complete with its own dock, pool, playground and neighborhood goats, you will find it an excellent base for any adventure. ...

    Times file (1997)
  2. Fishing with jigs comes down to technique


    When it comes to catching fish, small changes can have big results. Twenty-five years on the fishing beat have taught me to keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut. So when my boss suggested I write a story about soft-plastic artificial baits, a.k.a. "jigs," I thought I would get a second opinion. • "A story? You could write a whole book," declared Joe Georgia of Seminole's Dogfish Tackle Company. "Where do you start?"...

    As spring approaches, Redfish will provide a dependable target for shallow water fishermen. Until the big schools of pilchards develop predictable patterns, jigs and soft plastic jerk baits provide effective artificial offerings. Photo by: DAVID A. BROWN
  3. Take It Outside Planner: Tampa Boat Show, biking the Withlacoochee Trail and osprey spotting



    Tis the season to go boating. Check out the 2016s this weekend at the Tampa Boat Show at the Tampa Convention Center. With hundreds of boats on land and in the water, you'll find everything from flats skiffs and tow boats to sportfishermen and mega yachts. Sign up for a boating workshop where you can hone your docking skills, or head over to Fred's Shed and learn how to fix an outboard motor. New this year is Try It Cove, where attendees can get out on a standup paddleboard. Visit from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. $12 adults, 15 and younger free. 333 S Franklin St., Tampa.

    Boat buyers can browse among hundreds of boats on land and in the water at the Tampa Convention Center this weekend.
  4. Tampa Boat Show not just for big spenders



    They say there is no boat that does it all, but Steve Wacker thinks that is about to change.

    "This is really like an SUV on the water," he said of the new 28 XS from Nautic Star. "This is going to be a real marriage saver."

    If Wacker sold cars instead of boats, he'd tell you that this vehicle has the functionality of a pickup truck, but the comfort of a luxury sedan.

    "This is a true crossover craft," said Wacker, of Thunder Marine. "We think it will turn a few heads when it makes its debut at this year's Tampa Boat Show."...

    A Nautic Star 28 SX is taken for a ride on Boca Ciega Bay, 9/25/15, by left, Stephen B. Wacker, and Captin Chris Miles, right, of Thunder Marine, St. Petersburg. The boat will be featured at the upcoming Tampa Boat Show on Oct. 2-4, Tampa Convention Center by Thunder Marine, St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES

  5. Take It Outside Planner: Power boats (w/video), Tampa Bay Watch photo exhibit, tips for paddling Suwannee



    Some call it NASCAR on water, except with offshore power boat racing, the course can change with every lap. If you feel the need for speed, head out to Clearwater Beach this weekend for the Super Boat National Championship & Seafood Festival. Dozens of the world's fastest catamarans and mono-hulls will race deck to deck less than 100 yards off Pier 60. The bigger boats can hit speeds of close to 200 mph during race conditions, but get there early and watch as the boats test their equipment in the practice laps. It's free to watch from a perch on the sand, though you can get a closer look if you buy a ticket for $5 to $20. The action starts at noon Friday when you can see the boats up close in Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater, and at 6 p.m. the Tampa Bay Times Super Boat Parade goes down Cleveland Street with drivers and crews holding a meet and greet after. Saturday, the boats will do test runs offshore in the afternoon, and there will be a celebration at Pier 60 with fireworks after sunset. The big race takes place Sunday on the liquid track with heats at noon and 2 p.m. with the start and finish at the Hilton Clearwater Beach, 400 Mandalay Ave.

    Darry Jackson, Terry Tomalin and George Stovall navigate a particularly tricky section of the Suwannee River.
  6. Super Boats bring skill and speed to Clearwater Beach



    Johnny Tomlinson likes to let it hang loose.

    "The trick is to run just off the water," said one of the most successful powerboat racers in the world. "You want to be free, but in control."

    That fine line flying at 150 miles or more, barely skimming the surface, but not flipping — is what separates the winners from the losers in powerboat racing.

    The great ones, and the mild-mannered Tomlinson can be counted among the legends of the sport, flirt with danger, and at times even death, but always bring it back. For there's an adage when it comes to powerboat racing that it doesn't matter how fast you go if you don't finish the race....

    Randy Sweers, (L) Owner/Trottleman of the # Sailor Jerry offshore powerboat team and driver Daniel Zampaloni (R) will be competing in Super Boat International's National Championship in Clearwater on Sept. 25-27.
  7. Take It Outside Planner: Get a boat, cruise the beach by bike and take fishing lessons from an old pro



    Tampa Bay is one of the best places to boat in the nation. Run the bay or head offshore — you'll never run out of options. Before you start working on a float plan, though, you'll need a boat. But don't waste time you could be spending on the water by driving from dealership to dealership. Head over to the Florida State Fairgrounds and the Tampa Bay Boat Show Friday through Sunday. You'll find hundreds of models, from center-console fishing craft to tricked-out tow boats, all under one roof. Free.

    Join Terry Tomalin for a test drive of Shearwater’s new 25-foot LTZ Bay Boat at You can explore the the latest boat models this weekend.
  8. Hey, boat buyers, make a list and check it twice


    Like many first-time boat buyers, I spent months — make that years — researching different makes and models. I settled on a 17-foot center console, with a new, fuel-efficient engine that was supposed to represent the latest in technology.

    Everything went well at first, until I got caught by a later-summer squall as I was heading home from Anclote Key and nearly took a wave over the transom. Back at the ramp, my fishing buddy, a little shaken by the experience, channeled Chief Brody from the movie Jaws and offered this advice, "I think you need a bigger boat."...

    We test drove Shearwater's new 25-foot LTZ Bay Boat at GT Marine, a new boat dealership in Clearwater. (Jim Damaske | Times)
  9. Take it Outside planner: Explore the Myakka River (w/video), Florida Sportsman Expo, lionfish hunt



    One of Florida's great wild and scenic rivers, the Myakka flows through 58 miles of wet prairies, pinelands and hardwood hammocks south of Sarasota. During the summer months, the river often overflows its banks allowing intrepid paddlers to explore areas usually too difficult to reach. You can also explore Upper and Lower Myakka lakes by canoe or kayak. For an easy day trip, start at the Myakka Outpost Concession on the shores of the Upper Lake and paddle down to the bridge, about 3 miles. You'll see plenty of alligators along the way, but don't worry, they keep to themselves. The current is usually light to moderate, so the return trip is an easy paddle. Bring your kayak or canoe, or rent one at the concession. ...

    Capt. Ray Markham will share his secrets on redfish, trout, snook and flounder at this weekend’s Florida Sportsman Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds. 
Courtesy of Ray Markham
  10. Guy Harvey tournament targets invasive lionfish


    Fifteen years ago, when Bill Hardman saw his first lionfish off the Gulf Coast, he was in deep water where most recreational divers seldom go. Hardman, a scuba instructor and avid spearfisherman, is among a small group of diving elite who use mixed gas to explore depths off limits to most.

    "At first, they were confined to the really deep stuff, but eventually they moved closer to shore," he said. "Now they are everywhere. I have seen them as shallow as 15 feet."...

    Lionfish might look great in an aquarium, but the venomous invasive species can wreak havoc on a natural reef.
  11. In moderation, caffeine can give athletes much-needed kick


    Looking for a boost before your next 5K? Have a cup of joe. The caffeine in a cup of coffee will give you the needed kick to make that last mile count.

    "It can enhance your performance," said Peter J. Adhihetty of the University of Florida's College of Health and Human Performance. "The downside is that you can get habituated. You will have to take more and more to get the same benefit."

    Most experts agree that a cup or two of coffee a day won't do the average athlete any harm. But how much caffeine is in a cup? The answer is not so easy. The average home brew contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup....

    Iced coffee might be better on these hot summer days, but go easy on the cream and sugar.
  12. Take It Outside Planner: Zip 'The Canyons,' surf without a board and float on the Blue Run



    Florida flatlanders don't get many opportunities to enjoy a little elevation. Living at sea level, even driving over a little hill can give you a thrill. But head two hours north to "The Canyons" in Ocala, and you'll get all the height you can stand and more. The zip line complex, built atop a 94-acre limestone quarry, has the highest and longest wires in the state. It takes about 2 ½ to three hours to get through all nine zips, and unlike many complexes where you have to climb towers, most of the runs are cliff to cliff. The longest zip is "Speed Trap." It's 1,100 feet long, and at the peak, you are 135 feet off the ground. Canyons also has a special "Super Zip," where the rider lays prone, that measures 1,600 feet long and carries you 165 feet in the air. Be prepared for a workout. The entire course is about a mile long. There's a special, surprise rappel at the end that will test your nerves. As expected, with the longest, highest and fastest zips in the state, demand is high, so reservations are recommended. Cost is $96 per person. ...

    The Rainbow River, 100 miles north of Tampa Bay, is a popular tubing and kayaking destination. The 5.6-mile run also features public swimming at the Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon.
  13. Snook season back in session


    Snook are an easy sell to tourists and locals alike, according to Tampa-based charter boat captain Mike Gore. "They'll bust a bait like a large-mouth bass and fight like a tarpon," he said. "There's really nothing like them."

    Snook season reopens today after a long summer closure, and Gore, along with thousands of anglers like him, will hit the water from Crystal River to Everglades National Park hoping to land the fabled Florida linesider....

    Yo-ZUri #DS Minnow 70 (SP)   Gift Guide Items.
  14. It's Florida lobster season; here's how to cook them


    There seems to be no debate among Florida lobster aficionados concerning how to cook this delicacy of the sea.

    "You have got to grill them," said restaurateur Frank Chivas. "There is no other way."

    But Chivas and his longtime friend Tom Pritchard, the creative force behind many of his restaurants, disagreed on the next step.

    "I like to start them out shell down," said Pritchard, one of America's top chefs. "You want to protect the meat."...

    Fresh lobsters from the Florida Keys await grilling. The regular season opened Aug. 6 for commercial fishermen.
  15. With hurricane season heating up, take steps to secure your boat


    Danny has disappeared. But Tropical Storm Erika is gaining strength. Maybe it is time to make sure your boat is prepared to weather a storm.

    If you are like me, you probably don't start thinking about hurricane season until the end of August. That's when low pressure systems seem to line up like freight trains and start barreling across the Atlantic. Over the years, several have made landfall on or near the Labor Day weekend, including an epic Category 5 storm 80 years ago....

    Boats are strewn in a parking lot after the dock they were tied to broke free during Hurricane Ike in 2008 in Baytown, Texas.