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. 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.''...

    While blacktips and spinners are implicated in most surfing-related attacks, the heavyweight champion of the shark world, the great white, pictured, has attacked and killed surfers on numerous occasions. [AP photo]
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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."...

    Good cardiovascular fitness gives a diver more “bottom time,” scuba-speak for a longer, more enjoyable underwater experience.
  8. 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....

  9. Help still needed on tarpon study

    Outdoors

    making news

    after awards, help still needed on tarpon study

    Florida's tarpon anglers have helped biologists learn much about the migration and reproduction of tarpon, one of the state's premiere sportfish. The Florida Guides Association and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced the winners of the annual Spirit of Tarpon DNA Sampling Challenge....

    A study tracked tarpon since 2005.
  10. Famed park ranger Jack Coleman calls it quits

    Outdoors

    THONOTOSASSA — Jack Coleman knew that long hair and a beard might be an impediment to promotion. But he didn't care. Out in the swamp they call Seventeen Runs, folks don't give a hoot what you look like.

    "Usually, they're crying for help," said the park ranger known as Dead River Jack. "They are just happy to see somebody … anybody … who will show them the way out."

    Coleman, 60, doesn't know exactly how many people he has rescued from that stretch of the Hillsborough River in his 30-year career that ended this month but he figures the grateful souls number in the dozens....

    Jack Coleman, also known as Dead River Jack, wrapped up a 30-year career at Hillsborough County’s Dead River Park this month.
  11. Father's Day gift guide for outdoorsmen

    Outdoors

    As a professional outdoorsman, proper equipment is essential to my survival. Consider them tools of the trade.

    So for those last-minute shoppers among you, here's my gift guide to get you started:

    1. Chaco Z/2 Yampa Sandal

    You might think $100 is too much to pay for shoes that you can't wear to a black-tie event. But Chacos are guaranteed to get you there and back again. The Z/2 features a wrap-around toe loop that keeps your feet secure in the footbed. Adjustable straps create a custom fit and the polyester webbing dries fast. The non-marking Vibram outsole provides good traction and durability on land and water. www.chacos.com...

    Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System is $24.99 at Bill Jacksons Shop for Adventure on US 19 in Pinellas Park.  Thursday, 5/15/2014.  Ultra light: Only 2 ounces. Effective: Removes harmful bacteria, protozoa, and cysts. Versatile: Drink instantly from the pouch or straw, use inline with a hydration pack or screw onto a bottle. Long Lasting: 100,000 GALLONS. www.sawyer.com.   CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  12. Manhattan marathon swim awaits two bay area men

    Swimming

    The 28.5-mile Swim around Manhattan will be hard, but not nearly as tough as covering the length of Tampa Bay one stroke at a time.

    Or at least that's what open-water swimming buddies Chris Burke and Dr. Mark Smitherman hope when they hit the water in New York on Saturday morning.

    "In the 2012 Tampa Bay Marathon swim, I got stopped at Mile 18 because of lightning," said Burke, a 52-year-old contractor from St. Petersburg. "I went back the next year and finished in 12 hours, 15 minutes, which is a lot longer than what I think the swim around Manhattan will take."...

    Chris Burke of St. Petersburg and Dr. Mark Smitherman of Clearwater are in New York City prepping for Saturday’s 28.5-mile Swim Around Manhattan.
  13. Bonefish make rare appearance in Tampa Bay

    Outdoors

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jose Luna has been fishing local waters for most of his life. The charter boat captain has caught everything from tarpon to triggerfish.

    But on Memorial Day he hooked a fish that made him stop and wonder.

    "There was a lot of boat traffic on the water so we decided to stay close to shore and try to pick up a few pompano," explained Luna, 42. "We picked up a few fish, then we hooked something that we could tell was a little different."...

    Doug Husenitza shows off one of three bonefish caught while targeting pompano in the Fort De Soto area.
  14. Tarpon Springs woman aims for Dunedin Rotary Triathlon win

    Running

    TARPON SPRINGS — Balance. That's the cornerstone of Celia Dubey's triathlon training regimen.

    "You have to keep it fun," said the 42-year-old multisport athlete. "It can be hard finding time for family, work and a social life, but you have to do it. It makes you better in the long run."

    Dubey, a frequent visitor to the winner's stage on the sprint triathlon circuit, was the masters' champion at last weekend's Madeira Beach Triathlon. She hopes to be the overall women's winner at this weekend's Dunedin Triathlon on Honeymoon Island....

    Tarpon Springs’ Celia Dubey hopes to win this weekend’s Dunedin Rotary Triathlon.
  15. Weather Channel's 'Catching Hell' turns bay area spearfishermen into stars

    Outdoors

    The Cubera snapper looked at home with the amberjack. At 75 pounds, the fish would fetch a nice price back at the dock.

    Scott Childress kicked toward the school of jacks and tried to "herd" the monster snapper into deeper water. But the commercial spear fishermen suspected he wasn't the only hunter hovering above the rocky reef.

    "We are always on the lookout for sharks," said the 45-year-old captain of the fishing vessel Just Shoot Me and one of the stars of a new Weather Channel reality show, Catching Hell. "They are the top predator out here and after the same thing we are — fish."...