Partly Cloudy61° FULL FORECASTPartly Cloudy61° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

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

link
  1. Take It Outside planner: Cayo Coasta, sea turtle safety, grouper regulations

    Outdoors

    DESTINATION: CAYO COSTA

    If you are looking for a good weekend getaway, Cayo Costa State Park, just across the pass from Boca Grande, has 9 miles of beautiful beach just waiting to be explored. This barrier island hasn't changed much since the Spanish explorers first sailed by its shores nearly 500 years ago. This island is heavily wooded — pine, oak and palm — and accessible only by private boat or ferry. With more than 2,000 acres of wilderness to explore, spend the day or stay in the night in a rustic cabin or your own tent. The sunsets are fabulous. Bring your snorkel gear and fishing rod for the beach and your hiking boots and mountain bike for the trails that crisscross the island. Captiva Cruises offers ferry service to the park from locations in Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Reservations are recommended. (239) 472-5100. cayocostaferry.com....

    Costa’s new Rafael glasses with the 580 lenses retail for $249.
  2. Take It Outside planner: Fort Zachary Taylor, Myakka airboating and fishing tourney

    Outdoors

    DESTINATION: FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR

    Looking for the best sunset in Florida? Fort Zachary Taylor, Florida's southernmost state park, is as good as it gets. Built in the mid 1800s to defend the nation's southeastern coastline, Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. You can sign up for one of the daily guided tours or just chill out on Key West's favorite beach, at the southern end of the park. There's good fishing and snorkeling too, a pleasant break from the bars and T-shirt shops of Duval Street. Interesting fact: Fort Taylor was originally built 1,200 feet offshore, but in the mid 1960s a U.S. Navy dredging project landlocked the fortress. floridastateparks.org....

    The Postal Service receives about 40,000 suggestions for stamp ideas each year, yet only about 25 topics make the cut. To have your photo appear on a stamp after is extremely rare.
  3. Two 65-pound king mackerels rule Wild West

    Outdoors

    Anglers call it the Wild West for a reason. One hundred miles from shore, out in the deep blue water of the Gulf of Mexico, anything can happen.

    It is a dangerous, unforgiving place. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, you are on your own. Only a select few have the fortune or fortitude to venture that far from land.

    "You are out there," said Jim Naset, whose Pro Marine Team is known for its long runs and big fish. "It isn't always worth with it, but sometimes it is."...

    Brian Brandano, left, and Jim Naset hold the 65.85-pound king mackerel they caught last week to win the second leg of the Wild West Kingfish Tournament Series.
  4. No age limit on adventure for WaterTribers

    Outdoors

    Bill Fite is no stranger to adventure. But the 73-year-old Tampa man, who just sailed and paddled 1,600 miles around and then across Florida, doesn't like to talk about himself.

    "I'm an old guy in good shape for my age who can sail pretty well," said Fite, who goes by the nom de guerre "Jarhead." "I just think you should live your life to the fullest."

    When contacted recently about his latest accomplishment, Fite mentioned a dozen other WaterTribe contestants — America's Cup sailors, Olympians, Hall of Famers — more deserving of a story....

    Tampa’s Bill “Jarhead’’ Fite, 73, has a much greater appreciation of sleep and Ramen noodles.
  5. Doctor ties friend for most St. Anthony's Triathlons

    Outdoors

    ST. PETERSBURG — Dr. Michael Reilly, who works at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, was feeling a little under the weather Sunday, but he still lined up for his 32nd St. Anthony's Triathlon because he knew a record was at stake.

    Reilly, a multisport enthusiast since the 1970s, knew his longtime friend Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Helinger had a sore knee....

    JUST PASSING THROUGH: Triathletes on the bike portion of the St. Anthony’s Triathlon ride by Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.
  6. Cameron Dye, Sarah Haskins win St. Anthony's Triathlon

    Outdoors

    ST. PETERSBURG — Cameron Dye has no secrets when it comes to strategy.

    "Everybody knows how I race," said Dye, who won his second straight St. Anthony's Triathlon on Sunday. "I go out as fast as I can, and if you think you can keep up, come on."

    Dye, 32, was second out of the water, but once he got on his bike, he proved impossible to catch.

    "The conditions have never been better," said Dye, who covered the Olympic-distance course in 1 hour, 46 minutes and 46 seconds. "You really could not have asked for a better day."...

    Cameron Dye wins his second straight St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “I can’t think of a better way to start the season,” he says.
  7. Married triathletes look forward to St. Anthony's return

    Running

    Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O'Donnell have it figured out.

    The married professional triathletes support each other's careers and often ride together, but they stop short of giving each other tips on training and technique.

    "We both have our own coaches," said Carfrae, known in triathlon circles as Rinny. "When I am not racing, I am on the sidelines cheering him on. And I am always there to listen. But I leave the hard stuff to his coach."...

  8. Take It Outside Planner: Look out for manatees, hit Ocala National Forest, catch bass

    Outdoors

     

    TIS THE SEASON: MANATEES ON THE MOVE

     

    You know we have had our last cold spell of the season when manatees leave their winter refuges and head out across Tampa Bay in search of food. Large numbers of these protected marine mammals are now on the move, so boaters need to slow down in posted areas and obey speed limits. State law enforcement officers have increased patrols in these critical feeding areas and are strictly enforcing seasonal regulations, which took effect April 1 and run through Nov. 15 in manatee protection zones. Manatee zones and maps are available at myfwc.com/manatee, where you can select "Protection Zones" for links to county maps. Boaters can help by wearing polarized sunglasses, which make it easier to spot manatees. Another way to spot a feeding manatee is to watch for the circular slicks on the surface of the water. To learn more about Florida's manatees, visit myfwc.com/manatee. To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the FWC's wildlife alert hotline toll-free at 1-888-404-3922....

    Ocala National Forest is known for its backpacking trails, great campgrounds and world-class freshwater springs, but it is also a haven for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts (dirt bike, ATV and four-wheel drive).
  9. Red drum keep a steady beat in area waters

    Outdoors

    WEEDON ISLAND

    Even on an afternoon in the middle of the week, the boats were lined up along the mangroves like cars at a drive-in. But that didn't bother Wes Burns.

    "They should get started any time now," he said like a movie patron sitting through the previews. "We won't have to wait long."

    The red drum had been as predictable as a theater schedule. As soon as the tide turned the fish started feeding....

    Kai Tomalin (left) and Capt. Wes Burns (right) show off an oversized redifsh
  10. Local lifeguard, pro triathlete trains to win

    Health

    CLEARWATER BEACH

    Brittany Pierce knows what it takes to be a world-class triathlete. "Work . . . a lot of work," she said. "If you don't love training, don't think about it."

    The 31-year-old St. Petersburg native joined the professional ranks three years ago but still finds it hard to make ends meet on prize money and sponsorships alone.

    "I had to get a job," she said. "But fortunately, I have the best one in the world."...

    Brittany Pierce, 31, of St. Petersburg works as a lifeguard on Clearwater Beach four days a week. She typically trains at least 20 hours a week for triathlons.
  11. Take It Outside Planner: Croom offroad trails, shorebirds and hidden creek adventure

    Outdoors

    RIDIN' DIRTY: DIRT BIKE TRAILS

    If you have an off-highway or all-terrain vehicle, you probably already know about the Croom Motorcycle Area in Withlacoochee State Forest. With more than 2,600 acres of trails, this a true playground for motorsport enthusiasts. Open seven days a week, the Croom Motorcycle Area has something for riders of all levels, including a training area for those new to the sport and another section for younger riders. The state forest acquired two bulldozers in 2012 so some of the trails are now groomed and graded, but there are still miles of natural rough throughout the park for those who like a challenge. While you are there, keep an eye out for Croom's population of white piebald deer (sometimes called the ghost deer). Call (352) 797-5759 for information. Helmets are required for all riders....

    Sam Griffin blasts through the sand while riding at the Croom Motorcycle Recreation Area in the Withlacoochee State Forest.
  12. Kingfish tournaments all about the battle, not the big bucks

    Outdoors

    Eric Sidor can't decide what he likes most about the Wild West Kingfish Tournament Series.

    "First there's the shotgun start," the 37-year-old captain of team En-Vi-Us said. "You have 50 boats all lined up outside of John's Pass, and when they say 'Go Fish,' everybody just takes off going 50 mph. It really gets your adrenaline pumping … what a way to start the day."

    After an hour or two, Sidor and his teammates usually find themselves 80 or 90 miles from port, out in the deep blue where the sea monsters roam. If you want to catch big kings, the smokers of legend, fish so feisty they'll melt the drag on a fishing reel, you have to be willing to roam....

    Team En-Vi-Us gaffs a king during last year’s Wild West Kingfish Tournament, when it finished fourth. Team captain Eric Sidor says there is a lot to like about the tournament, but it’s the fight that “keeps us all coming back.’’
  13. Take It Outside Planner: Shark Bite Challenge, Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers and spiders (eek!)

    Outdoors

    Paddle Up: Shark Bite Challenge

    If you paddle anything that floats, head to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin for the Shark Bite Challenge & Paddlefest from Friday to Sunday. Canoes, kayaks, surf skis and paddleboards will compete on courses that range from 4 to 8 miles.

    A crowd favorite are the Hawaiian outrigger canoes — 50 feet long and weighing 400 pounds — which race Sunday. New additions to this year's challenge are Friday's performance paddling clinics featuring world-renowned coaches and paddlers. Legendary elite South African paddler Jasper Mocke will host a surf ski (performance kayak) talk, and outrigger canoe coach Johnny Puakea will share his secret to success in a "Train Smarter, Not Harder Clinic." Paddlers can participate in a 1-, 4- or 8-mile distance race in their single crafts, including one or two-man outriggers and surf skis. ...

    Paddlers in the 2014 Shark Bite Challenge distance races at Honeymoon Island Sate Park in Dunedin.
  14. Five effective spring lures

    Outdoors

    Snook and largemouth bass have a lot in common. Both are ambush predators that use shadows and structure to attack prey. With water temperatures on the rise, the snook are moving from their shelter of the backcountry creeks and canals to the beaches and open-water passes to prepare for the summer spawn. These fish are hungry and it doesn't take much to trigger a strike. Nothing beats a handful of scaled sardines but if you are an artificial enthusiast looking for a challenge, here are five spring lures guaranteed to get a bite....

    SPRO Sports Professional Bucktail Jig. 1/2 oz., an old reliable that will work in all conditions.
  15. Take It Outside Planner: Learn to dive, visit Corkscrew Swamp and catch a lionfish

    Outdoors

    'Bug hunters': learn to SCUBA dive

    Are you planning a Caribbean vacation? Is diving for lobster in the Florida Keys on your bucket list? Then you should learn how to scuba dive — now, this spring. While you can get certified in less than a month, don't settle for the least expensive or shortest course. Shop around and talk with friends who dive. Think of it this way: If you were learning how to skydive, would you sign on with a school that advertises the cheapest parachutes? And remember, learning to scuba dive is sort of like getting a driver's license. Sure, you can get behind the wheel of a car, but that doesn't mean you're ready to race in the Grand Prix. One advantage to getting your training out of the way now is you will be ready for the two-day "mini" season for lobster, scheduled for the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. Then you can tell your friends that you are one of the "bug hunters." That's because the Caribbean spiny lobster, or Panulirus argus, like all crustaceans, comes from the same phylum as insects, Arthropoda....

    While you can get certification as a scuba diver in less than a month, don’t settle for the least expensive or shortest course. Shop around and talk with friends who dive.