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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. Fort De Soto Paddle Roundup set for weekend


    Making news

    Paddle event set at fort de soto

    The Fort De Soto Paddle Roundup and Shore Explore offers standup and prone races for paddlers of all skill levels today through Sunday. The family-friendly event features a 10-mile race for elite athletes around Mullet Key and a 3-mile recreational race. Other activities include a shorebird and turtle workshop, paddlecraft demos, clinics and "eco/shore" activities for the kids. See a variety of watercraft, including surf skis and outrigger canoes. Paddlers can gauge their fitness level in the PaddleFit Challenge, a hybrid event that tests power, strength, balance, endurance and paddling skills. And check out the H2YO SUP Yoga with Julie Roach. More information is on Facebook and at ...

    Paddleboarder Dennis Navarrete, 43, Palm Harbor, navigates the waters of Tampa Bay just of of Ft. DeSoto Park, 4/3/15. The Egmont Key lighthouse can be seen in the background.
  2. Training for a triathlon? You might want to team up with others



    It wasn't the swimming, biking or running that drew Tom Kennedy to triathlons back in the early '80s. It was the camaraderie.

    "We all shared a common interest," said Kennedy, a 57-year-old attorney from Clearwater. "It's always great to get together with people who like to do the same things you like to do."

    But as triathlons grew in popularity, and became more of a business than a sport, something was lost, Kennedy said....

    Coach Matt Hess, standing, works with triathletes with Kennedy Law Racing as they do a training swim off Dunedin Causeway on a recent Thursday evening.
  3. Suncoast trip pays off for kingfish tourney anglers


    TREASURE ISLAND — Today's tournament angler is faster, smarter and can run longer, deeper in search of fish.

    "Technology makes a difference," said Brian Hasson of the kingfish team Kindred Spear-It. "We can do more than ever before in a shorter period of time."

    The 35-year-old St. Petersburg resident and his teammates traveled more than 120 miles southwest of Tampa Bay Saturday morning to bring home the 61-pound winning fish in the Suncoast Kingfish Classic, one of the oldest king mackerel tournaments on the Gulf Coast....

    From left, David Raciti, Jennifer Hasson, Skyler Hasson, Brian Hasson, Sam Warner, Cheyenne Warner, Copley Gerdes and Tim Brundage show off the 61-pound kingfish that won last week’s Suncoast Kingfish Classic. The team ran more than 120 miles southwest of Tampa Bay for the catch.
  4. Taking the fast track along the Withlacoochee


    INVERNESS — My kids said that I must be getting old when I told them that I'd be exploring the Withlacoochee by airboat instead of my usual canoe or kayak.

    "I once paddled all the way from the Green Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico," I told the airboat captain, hoping to establish some river cred. "It took three days."

    Steve Brown looked at me like I had just confessed to eating road kill. "Why?" he asked. "Nobody had a real boat?"...

    Terry Tomalin takes us airboating on the Withlacoochee River with Wild Bill's Airboat Tours, 12430 E. Gulf to Lake Highway, in Inverness. The tour loops through a section of the 141-mile-long Withlacoochee River, which originates in central Florida's Green Swamp, east of Polk City. It flows west, then north, and then turns northwest and finally west again before it empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Yankeetown.
  5. Kingfish Classic kicks off spring tournament season


    Making news

    spring tourneys will begin with kingfish classic

    The kings are on the beach, signaling the start of the spring tournament season. First up is the Suncoast Kingfish Classic with a $10,000 prize for heaviest king mackerel on April 11 at John's Pass Marina on Treasure Island. Sign up for this Southern Kingfish Association's Division Six competition at The Wild West tournament series opens April 18 at John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach with more than $100,000 in cash and prizes. The four-tournament series continues May 16, with fall events scheduled for Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. Go to to learn more....

    Terry Tomalin takes us outside on Kings Bay in Crystal River, Citrus County (arguably the manatee tour capital of the world), with the Crystal Lodge Dive Center 's Manatee Tour. Kings Bay is Crystal River's headwater, or point of origin, and is fed by 28 springs in the bay that produce a constant temperature of 72° F all year round attracting and providing a habitat for hundreds of manatees during the winter months looking to escape the cold water of the Gulf of Mexico.
  6. Pompano provides plenty of pleasure


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Yarrington was worried about the water temperature.

    "You should have been here last week," the angler declared. "They were biting like crazy."

    Pompano, Yarrington's favorite prey, are not difficult to catch. But they can be hard to find. Popular with both recreational and commercial fishermen, this member of the jack family can be caught in the bay and off local beaches....

    As a child, Rick Yarrington was drawn in by “these silvery fish flashing in the surf’’ on Sunset Beach. He’s loved pompano since.
  7. 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....

  8. 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.
  9. 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....

  10. 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.
  11. 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...

  12. 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]
  13. 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.
  14. 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....

  15. 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.