go fish! 5 ways to keep bugs away while fishing
Smart strategies for keeping biting insects at bay.
Whether angling on rivers, streams, lakes, or the ocean, you will eventually encounter voracious mosquitoes, no-see-ums, black flies, or other biting insects. And a fisherman’s hands are too busy to constantly wave them off. Here are some smart strategies for keeping biting insects at bay, so you can focus on enjoying your surroundings… and catching fish!
What to Wear: Fishing Fashion
Even in hot weather, wear light pants or waders, a long-sleeve shirt, a wide-brim hat and/or hood. Consider a neckerchief draped under your hat to hang over your neck and ears to cover as much skin as possible. This also protects your skin from UV exposure from both direct sunlight and light reflected off water. When insects are especially thick, wear a head net. You can also look for clothing with a UPF rating of at least 30. Wear synthetic clothing in cooler temperatures because it dries fast, preventing cold, wet clothing against your skin. In hot temperatures, cotton keeps you cooler by holding dampness against your skin.
Ride with the Wind
Topography affects wind, meaning that one spot might be dead calm while another spot not far away has a nice breeze to tamp down the bugs. You can harness the power of the wind (or even a light breeze) in places like a bend in a valley or canyon, or on a point of land jutting into the lake or the sea, or by taking a boat out on the water.
Face Into the Wind
If bugs are really thick but there’s a strong breeze, face into the wind and the insects will cluster behind your head (where you should already be protected by a hat, hood, or head net) instead of in your face—where they’re the most annoying.
Go with the Flow (of Water)
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so lake fishermen might not be able to escape them, but if you’re on a river or stream, find a spot where the water’s moving fast (but where the river still has pools where fish might congregate). That’s usually where the terrain is a little steeper, which may also be a spot where you’ll get more wind.
Break Out Your Weapon
Sometimes, you have to break out the big guns against a tenacious enemy—and when that enemy is clouds of mosquitoes in the backcountry, you need a reliable insect repellent. Fishing guide Sean Sullivan’s primary line of defense? He keeps a small spray can of Off!® Deep Woods Sportsmen Insect Repellent within reach. “It’s nice and small, so it fits in your fly-fishing vest pocket,” he says.
Repellent can be sprayed directly onto clothing, but check the label of each individual product first. In general, you should spray any repellents containing DEET on the exterior of clothing only, including shirts, pants, hats, and socks. It will not damage cotton, wool, or nylon, but avoid using it on synthetics other than nylon (like rayon or spandex), or on leather or watch crystals. Mosquito repellents containing picaridin like OFF!® FamilyCare Clean Feel can also be sprayed directly on outer surfaces of clothing and will not damage any fabrics or watch crystals.
With these tips, you can enjoy your time fishing and not waste time swatting away insects.