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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. Gag grouper regional season about to open


    Making news

    gag grouper regional season close to opening

    Residents of the west-central Florida coast in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson or Taylor county can start fishing for gag grouper on Wednesday. This regional season will be open through June 30. Gag grouper anglers can also fish the waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass. Gags caught in state waters (out to 9 nautical miles offshore) can be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other closed areas. Local anglers must wait until July 1 to catch and keep gags. The season will be open through Dec. 3. The season in all federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico opens July 1 and closes Dec. 3. Gag grouper must be 22 inches long. The bag limit is two per person....

  2. Program aims to build strong stock of Florida largemouth bass


    WEBSTER — Rick Stout watches over his largemouth bass fingerlings like a farmer nurtures a field of corn.

    "It won't be long now," he said, looking over a tankful of fish. "We'll produce more than a million fish a year. Who knows, maybe you will catch one of them someday."

    The Florida Bass Conservation Center, located off State Road 471 in the Green Swamp, doesn't look like much from the outside. But inside the 39,000 square foot facility sit six 80-foot concrete raceways, each filled with 13,000 gallons of fresh water and more fish than you can count....

    The Florida Bass Conservation Center has six 80-foot concrete raceways that contain 13,000 gallons of fresh water and numerous fish. March is a top month to fish for largemouth bass, Florida’s signature freshwater fish.
  3. Biologists seek help researching horseshoe crabs


    Making news

    wanted: help in researching horseshoe crabs

    Every spring, horseshoe crabs gather on beaches throughout the state to mate. Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission need the public's help to pinpoint places where horseshoe crabs spawn.

    Beachgoers are likely to have the most luck seeing mating horseshoe crabs at high tide, just before, during or after a full or new moon. The conditions around the new or full moon (today and April 4) will create an ideal opportunity to view the spawning behavior. Males cling to the shells of the larger females as the females head up onto the beach to lay eggs....

  4. Show the sheepshead some respect


    MADEIRA BEACH — Sheepshead could be called the Rodney Dangerfield of sportfish. They don't get no respect.

    "Everybody wants to catch grouper and snapper," said veteran charter boat skipper Mark Hubbard. "But sheepshead are just as much fun to fight. And the great thing is, you can catch them from a boat or from land."

    Hubbard makes his living taking hard core anglers far from land to catch everything from amberjack to blackfin tuna. But every now and then in between charters, he likes to kick back on a seawall and do battle with these notorious bait stealers....

    Terry Tomalin holds a sheepshead he caught in Boca Ciega Bay near a seawall and dock area. One well-known tip for catching the frustrating species: Learn to set the hook before you feel the bite.
  5. Gary Loomis to make Oldsmar appearance


    Making news

    loomis to make appearance in oldsmar sunday

    Legendary fishing rod manufacturer Gary Loomis will be at Fishing Supply Liquidators, 180 Race Track Road N, Oldsmar, at noon Sunday. The man behind Temple Fork Outfitters, will meet fishermen, sign autographs and answer questions regarding everything from trout to tarpon.

    Marine Yard Sale at Eckerd College...

  6. Angler-friendly jet boat and more at Tampa Bay Boat Show


    LAKE TARPON — The new fishing boat got a few curious looks at the boat ramp.

    "A lot of people have seen jet boats before," said Marty Skapik of Cycle Springs Power Sports. "But this … this is something completely different."

    Jet boats are nothing new. They've been a hit with the personal watercraft crowd for more than a decade. But while these speedsters may be ideal for running out to a sand bar for a picnic lunch, they've never been popular with anglers, who need easy access to bow and stern when it comes time to a fish....

    Yamaha’s new 190 FSH Sport features a single 1.8-liter high output marine engine, and will be among the 2016 center console offerings on display at the Tampa Bay Times Tampa Bay Boat Show at Tropicana Field. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  7. 300-mile Everglades Challenge brings twists, turns


    TAMPA — Bill Whale has been in battles with the Gulf of Mexico and expects no quarter on Saturday when he hits the water for a 300-mile paddle to the Keys.

    "The ocean will show you no mercy," said Whale, who is about to attempt his fifth WaterTribe Everglades Challenge. "It doesn't matter how many races you have done before, you never know what to expect. Anything can happen."

    The canoe/kayak/sailboat race from St. Petersburg to Key Largo can take eight days to complete. For the first half of the race, contestants in a variety of small boats and paddleboards can stick to the relative safety of the Intracoastal Waterway. But once they round Cape Romano near Marco Island, all bets are off as paddlers enter Florida Bay and the wilds of the Ten Thousand Islands....

    Bill Whale of Apollo Beach demonstrates some of the gear he will use during the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, a 300-mile race from St. Petersburg to Key Largo.
  8. St. Petersburg sailor a winner in NOOD event



    st. petersburg sailor dumas tops nood event

    Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg took top honors at this year's National Offshore One Design (Regatta) after his Tripp 38 Warrior came out on top in the PHRF 1 Division. Dumas' team had the best performance out of the nine classes. The regatta drew more than 130 boats and thousands of sailors vying for a berth at the NOOD Caribbean Championship, which will be held in October in the British Virgin Islands. Other top local finishers included Marty Kullman's boat New Wave in the J 70 class, Rob Britts' Hot Mess in Melges 24, Andrew Walford's Commando in VX One, Zeke Durica's Vision in Ensign, Woody Cope's Cowbell in A-Class Catamaran, Allen Thomas Wired in PHRF 1, Raymond Mannix's Semper Fi, Harvey Ford's WildKat and Robert Wetmore's Family Circus in PHRF 2....

  9. 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:...

    It’s probably safe to assume that Terry Tomalin thoroughly planned this fishing trip before he hooked a tarpon.
  10. Two-time Olympian Ritzenhein wins Gasparilla half-marathon


    TAMPA — Two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein had thought the weather would work in his favor at Sunday's Gasparilla half-marathon.

    "It was minus-10 degrees when I left Michigan, so I was looking forward to some warm weather," said the 32-year-old from Grand Rapids. "But after the first couple of miles, I could really feel the humidity."

    Most Florida runners would think a 60 degree start at 6 a.m. a bit cool. Ritzenhein, a former American 5,000-meter record-holder, thought it a little muggy, yet he still managed to cover the 13.1-mile course in 1:03:17, shattering the existing record by nearly a minute....

    The half-marathon begins at 6 a.m. on the streets of South Tampa. Overall, more than 30,000 competed in the four Gasparilla races.
  11. Finish Gasparilla half-marathon, get wedding proposal


    TAMPA — Mike Bocanegra supports his girlfriend's running hobby, but he doesn't make it to every one of her road races. That is why he knew his marriage proposal would be a surprise.

    His girlfriend, Amy Nichols, thought he was home, fast asleep, back in Orlando when she lined up in the dark at the starting line at Sunday's Gasparilla half-marathon.

    "We've been together for eight years," said Bocanegra, 38. "We've been looking at rings … a lot of different designs, so I think she knew the day was coming."...

    Mike Bocanegra of Orlando takes a knee at the finish line of the half-marathon to propose to girlfriend Amy Nichols as soon as she completes the 13.1-mile race. Her response? “Yes.”
  12. Florida Supreme Court upholds net ban



    net ban upheld by florida supreme court

    The Florida Supreme Court denied a petition by the Wakulla Fishermen's Association that challenged the state's net ban amendment that was passed overwhelming by voters in 1994. The commercial fishermen won a circuit court ruling in 2013 that allowed them to briefly reintroduce gill nets into Florida waters. Many anglers credit the net ban amendment, passed by 72 percent of the electorate, with helping bring back mullet and other forage fish, as well as various gamefish, including red drum, spotted sea trout and snook....

  13. Fishing legends promote a cause for kids


    CLEARWATER — They say great minds think alike. So when three fishing legends got together on a party boat and were asked a simple question, it is not surprising they all had the same answer.

    "If you have one tip for the average angler, what would it be?" I asked Bill Dance, the 74-year-old host of Bill Dance Outdoors. Dance stopped for a moment, tipped the brim of his Tennessee Volunteers baseball cap, and said "Get there early and stay late."...

    Fishing legend Jimmy Houston shows 13-year-old Ty Harris, right, how “you have to give the fish some sugar” after Harris caught a grouper. Other legends present were Bill Dance and Roland Martin.
  14. Sailors head to Pier for NOOD Regatta


    ST. PETERSBURG — Marty Kullman has sailed all over the world in a variety of classes, but he always looks forward to February when the National Offshore One Design Regatta Series kicks off its season on the waters of Tampa Bay.

    "It is just a great event," said Kullman, who works for Quantum Sails. "It really brings out the best sailors from all over the U.S."

    Coming less than a month after Key West Race Week, the event, known as the NOOD Regatta, typically attracts a wide range of elite sailors who don't mind racing in Florida, especially when there's snow on the ground up north....

    Marty Kullman sails one of the more than 50 boats last week in the highly competitive J/70 class in the waters near the Davis Island Yacht Club.
  15. Proud father enjoys sons' powerboat success


    BRADENTON — Powerboat racer Terry Rinker stays calm, cool and collected flying across the water at 120 mph. But the Formula One icon does get a little nervous watching his sons race.

    "It is kind of nerve wracking," said Rinker, who has been a fixture on the professional powerboat circuit for 20 years. "Sitting it out on the sidelines is hard. Our sport has a great safety record, but in racing anything can happen. You just never know."...

    Today’s Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta on the Manatee River will feature Formula 2 powerboats and personal watercraft racers.