When we go fishing, we want to catch fish, big ones, and lots of’em. But we also want to have a good time, and really, we usually remember the good times more than we remember the big fish. There are things we can do to have a better time fishing that has nothing to do with catching more fish but with safer fishing. Following are some of those things.
Most people fish during the summer. Summer can provide outstanding fishing, but summer is also when the bugs come out, and bugs, particularly mosquitoes, can make life unpleasant sometimes. When you’re out on the water away from shore, the mosquitoes aren’t so bad, but when you’re fishing from shore or loading the boat on the trailer at the end of the day, mosquitoes can be a nuisance. This is where insect repellant comes in.
Insect repellant won’t keep all of the mosquitoes and other biting bugs away, but it will make things more tolerable. DEET is the active ingredient in most repellants, and repellants come in different DEET levels. Some are very strong. I’ve used a lot of formulations over the years and it seems like the lower DEET products keep the bugs away just as well, but you need to apply it more frequently. The higher DEET levels keep bugs away just as well and for longer periods of time, but if you spray some on plastics or other materials, bad stuff happens to the plastic and other materials. I’ve seen tackleboxes ruined by over-spraying bug repellant. I greatly prefer the milder formulas of insect repellants.
Another thing that can cause problems is over-exposure to the sun. Anglers spend a lot of time outside during the day, and too much sun can have long-term effects. Use sunscreen! Especially if you’re fishing with youngsters make sure they are protected from the sun. Go with a high SPF(Sun Protection Factor), at least 30. Back in the day when a tan was desired, I once used a sunscreen that was low SPF, but that promised a “Savage Tan”. I got a “Savage Burn”. Protect your skin from the sun. You’ll be glad you did when you get older.
More and more, when outside, I’ve been wearing Guidewear shirts from Cabela’s. Some of these shirts come with built-in sunscreen and insect protection. I’ve been wearing long-sleeved shirts as they provide more protection from the sun and bugs. You might think the long sleeves would be too warm, but the material that they’re made from is very lightweight and not hot at all.
Last thing. Again back in the day, lifejackets were uncomfortable and bulky. We didn’t wear them too much.
Today we have access to small, lightweight, and very comfortable inflatable vests. Some inflate automatically, some are manually. There is no reason not to wear these vests all the time on the water, but certainly when moving from spot to spot on a plane. This year I started wearing an inflatable belt pack that goes around my waist like a fanny pack. You don’t even know it’s there. Cabela’s makes this one, it’s called the Essential 2500 and it’s Coast Guard-approved.
Originally I thought these ideas wouldn’t help us catch more fish, they would just make our fishing more enjoyable. But if these ideas enable us to go fishing when we ordinarily wouldn’t because of bugs or whatever, then we will catch more fish. With that in mind, use insect repellant and sunscreen and go fishing more often this summer.
PHOTO CAPTION—It was a hot mid-summer day but Mike Frisch wore long sleeves to reduce sun exposure. This walleye didn’t care what Mike was wearing.
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By Bob Jensen