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

Email: ttomalin@tampabay.com

Twitter: @WaterTribe

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  1. Amberjack season to close

    Outdoors

    making news

    AMBERJACK season to close

    Add greater amberjack to the list of offshore species off limits to recreational anglers. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council announced this week that the season will shut down on Aug. 25 and remained closed until Jan. 1, 2015.

    According to the Gulf Council, sport fishermen will reach their 888,839-pound catch limit by Aug. 24. The Gulf's amberjack stocks are split between the recreational and commercial sectors, with roughly two-thirds of the quota going to sport fishermen....

  2. Florida still loves its snook

    Outdoors

    ST. PETERSBURG — Ron Taylor was just a boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, but he remembers that first snook as if it were caught just yesterday.

    "It was the biggest tussle … such a robust catch," recalled the 72-year-old marine biologist. "Over the years, the visions of snook in my brain, instead of fading, just became more brilliant.

    "For many people, fishing for snook is not a sport," he said in a slow Alabama drawl. "It is a religion."...

    Snook expert Ron Taylor is a fixture at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s research lab in St. Petersburg.
  3. Regular season for spiny lobster opens

    Outdoors

    MAKING NEWS

    LOBSTER SEASON OPENS, RUNS THROUGH MARCH

    If you missed last month's two-day recreational lobsters season, don't worry. The regular season for spiny lobster in Florida state waters in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean opened this week and runs through March 31.

    Many veteran bug hunters wait for August, when the crowds are gone, to dive for spiny lobster. If you are a newcomer to the sport, make sure you measure the lobster in the water. The body shell must be longer than 3 inches. If the lobster is "short," leave it in the water....

  4. Proposed red snapper rules spark debate

    Outdoors

    ST. PETE BEACH — Dave Markett has been fishing the Gulf of Mexico for more than 50 years, but the Tampa charter boat captain and former commercial fisherman fears his grandsons will not be able to do the same if federal fishery managers move ahead with new red snapper rules this month.

    Markett, and more than 100 angry recreational fishermen, packed into a tiny ballroom at the Sirata Beach Resort this week to hear representatives of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council discuss "Reef Fish Amendment 40," also known as sector separation....

    A red snapper, a species that may get new regulations, is shown about 50 miles west of St. Petersburg.
  5. Amberjack season opens Friday

    Outdoors

    GULF OF MEXICO — Some anglers prize grouper for their delicate flesh. Others praise king mackerel for their long, fast runs. But when it comes to on-the-water entertainment, the great amberjack just can't be beat.

    Pound for pound, you won't find a better fighting fish in the gulf. After a two-month closure, the season for these offshore brutes — which can be found from Key West to Pensacola — reopens today....

    James Russo shows off the huge amberjack he caught aboard the Friendly Fishermen out of John’s Pass. Amberjack season opens today.
  6. Half the task of catching lobsters is finding them

    Outdoors

    Forget about getting anything out of Tom Matthews. The lobster biologist is as cagey as the crustaceans he studies.

    "The problem is that lobsters are notoriously hard to count," said Matthews, who works in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's field office in Marathon. "If you took all of the lobsters and put them in one room, they would all gather together in one corner."...

    The two-day lobster sport season runs July 30-31. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  7. Guy Harvey Resort features aquarium

    Outdoors

    ST. PETE BEACH — Keith Overton didn't know what to do about his skinny snook. The avid angler had caught the linesiders in Tampa Bay and transferred them to his new 33,500-gallon fish tank, but now he watched helplessly as the apex predators slowly wasted away.

    "There was plenty of food in the tank," said the man behind Guy Harvey's RumFish Grill & Bar on St. Pete Beach. "But for some reason the snook just weren't eating."...

    Keith Overton, an avid angler and the GM of the new Guy Harvey Outpost, caught most of the fish in the 33,500-gallon aquarium, background, at the resort’s RumFish Grill. The aquarium was featured on Tanked.
  8. Shark attacks? Be wary but not worried

    Outdoors

    World-renowned shark expert George Burgess, keeper of the International Shark Attack File, is used to getting silly questions about the ocean's most fearsome predator. "Are sharks out to get you?" is among the most common, he said. "The short answer is 'No.' " The 64-year-old University of Florida professor is co-author of a new book, Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide, which contains a trove of great information for sharkophiles. "There are more than 400 species of shark but only a select few have been implicated in attacks," he said. "But another way you can look at it is this: Any shark that can get to be 6 feet or longer can be considered dangerous." Burgess said he receives many inquiries about great white sharks. "They are identified in many shark attacks because they occur in areas where they are the only species," he said. "But if you are looking for the most common 'grabber' in Florida, that would be the blacktip shark.''...

    The blacktip shark is the most common “grabber’’ in Florida, but expert George Burgess says that for the most part, sharks are not out to get you.
  9. Epilepsy doesn't deter a triathlete

    Running

    Michael Poole doesn't remember his first epileptic seizure. He was cycling. When he came to, bruised and battered, he thought his triathlon career was over.

    "It wasn't pretty," the 22-year-old said. "I went through a hard couple of months and wondered how I could possibly go on."

    Poole was one of the best young competitive cyclists in New Zealand, and he was just 18. A gifted runner and swimmer as well, many thought he would be the next great champion from a nation that has produced so many gifted triathletes. Then epilepsy nearly derailed his dreams....

    Michael Poole finished third in the 15K Gasparilla Distance Classic on Feb. 22 in Tampa. “I was pretty happy,” he said.
  10. New diver safety rules take effect

    Outdoors

    making news

    new diver safety rules take effect

    Summer is the season for snorkeling and scuba diving so boaters should keep an eye out for "diver-down" flags. But whether you are scalloping on the Nature Coast or "bug" hunting in the Florida Keys, new rules will help keep divers safe.

    Effective July 1, divers and snorkelers have the option of displaying a buoy with a series of divers-down symbols (red field with a white, diagonal line) as an alternative to the traditional divers-down flag. The buoy can be three- or four-sided and must have a divers-down symbol of at least 12-by-12 inches displayed on each of the flat sides. Such a buoy should help divers, especially those in open waters, be more visible to passing boats....

    Times file (2010)
  11. Honeymoon Island is Florida's most popular state park, again

    Outdoors

    HONEYMOON ISLAND — Peter Krulder is no salesman. As the manager of Florida's most visited state park, his product sells itself.

    "I guess you could say we have it all," said Krulder, who not only works but also lives on Honeymoon Island, "… great water, beautiful beaches, a fantastic nature trail … what's not to love?"

    In the fiscal year 2013-14, which ended June 30, Honeymoon Island had 1,144,285 visitors, making it Florida's most popular state park for the eighth year in a row....

    Sunset is just one of the special treats at Honeymoon Island, which had 1,144,285 visitors in fiscal 2013-14.
  12. Bay area fishermen reel in a rare orange-headed tarpon

    Outdoors

    At first, Clark Wright thought they had hooked a giant carp.

    "I said, 'That fish has got an orange head,' " recalled the Bradenton charter boat captain.

    He was fishing a school of tarpon in the Tampa Bay area June 4 when he hooked the unusual specimen shortly after 7 a.m.

    "The first time the tarpon took flight, I noticed the fish had bright orange features around its head and down its back," Wright said. "Each time the fish jumped and rolled and we got better looks, there was no doubt that it was a tarpon unlike I have ever seen or heard of before."...

    A piebald tarpon was caught June 4 in the bay area. Similar fish have been seen here before.
  13. Tips for scallop season

    Outdoors

    HOMOSASSA — Scallop season starts Saturday, a three-day head start on the usual July 1 opening. So now's the time to get prepared to grab your share of the tasty shellfish.

    Before you hit the water, here are a few tips from local fishing guide Jim Lemke, who spends most of his summer scouring the grass beds of the North Suncoast.

    Equipment

    "Make sure all of your dive gear — your mask, fins and snorkel — are in proper working order," Lemke said. "You don't want to get out there and find that you have got a leaky mask."...

    When you head out for scallops, start early. Aim to be on the water before sunrise, and finish before noon to avoid storms and crowded public boat ramps. Tides and location are among other important considerations.
  14. Planning to go scuba diving this summer? Be in shape

    Health

    Summer's a busy season for the Tampa Bay area's scuba shops as veteran divers and newcomers to the sport get ready for tropical vacations and the upcoming lobster season in the Florida Keys.

    "Everybody wants to learn how to dive as soon as lobster season rolls around," said Rocky Welch, an instructor with Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park. "But scuba diving is not a casual sport — you have to take it seriously."...

    For Personal Best: We are doing a story on fitness and diving, what you have to know before you go get certified, and once you are certified, how important it is to stay in shape.  (COVER SHOT) A scuba diver practices in the pool during a class at Bill Jackson's.
  15. Gag grouper season set to open in Gulf of Mexico

    Outdoors

    making news

    get ready for gag season

    Stock up on hooks, line and sinker — gag grouper season opens Tuesday in most state and all federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But if you live in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, hang up your grouper sticks. The gag season closes in state waters off your coast. The gag season will remain open in state waters (except in those previously mentioned areas) through Dec. 3....