Bug Juice Ain’t The Only Thing Missing!

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Photo by Tim Harden

Photo by Tim Harden

By Justin Pickett

The Everglades is certainly known for its amazing fishing, scenery, bird life, and the myriad of other animal life that inhabits the ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the one thing that has everything else well outnumbered is the mosquitos. And not just any mosquito. These damn things have evolved into a dominant force that could easily be used as a form of biological warfare. Even urban legends exist of people dying from incessant attacks from mosquitos. I’m not even getting into the diseases that mosquitos can carry…. Don’t wanna get that zika!

With this in mind, I packed a few pairs of lightweight pants to wear along with my usual long-sleeved shirts and HooRags while out fishing in the creeks and bays “inside” the Glades. I wanted to prevent being eaten alive so that I wouldn’t be constantly scratching and smacking myself like a lunatic. I did completely forget to pack bug spray, but I knew I could pick some up a local grocery store. Besides, I think bug spray for these gnarly gnats and mosquitos only adds seasoning to our already tender meat…

Day one in the Glades came early. Rising well before the sun, Tim Harden, the Venturing Angler, and I met up with our guide, Capt. Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters, at 4:15am. Waiting for Jason to finish fueling up the boat, we carried on a casual conversation. Jason stepped around from the gas pump and gave Tim an inquisitive look followed up with, “Did you bring pants? The mosquitos are awful. They’re probably the worst I’ve ever seen.”

I hadn’t paid it any attention in my morning stupor, but Tim had ventured out of the hotel room wearing a long-sleeved shirt and… a pair of lightweight shorts.

Apparently, Tim had never experienced mosquitos bad enough in the years past that he had visited the Everglades. At least not enough for him to think of wearing pants out on the boat. I thought Tim had simply lost his mind. This was my first trip to the Everglades, but I just assumed the blood suckers would warrant extra protection and I’m glad for that.

As we arrived into Flamingo and the truck came to a stop, immediately the mosquitos began to blanket the surface of Jason’s pickup. It was horror movie material. They were everywhere. Did clothing help? Well, yeah, but only to an extent. By the time we made it out of the canal and into the bay, we had all been brutally attacked and had bright, red dimples covering any little patch of bare skin. My lip was even swollen from where I had been bitten through my HooRag, which I had pulled over the brim of my hat in a feeble attempt to keep them off my face.

Then, there was Tim. Poor, poor Tim.

If you hadn’t known that Tim had just been the main course at the mosquito family reunion, you would have thought he had contracted some awful, exotic rash. His legs were covered in red bumps that seemed to run together and his ankles were beet-red and swollen. I think it’s safe to say Tim regretted the decision to leave his pants at home, and, of course, I had to heckle him about it all day. I think Jason even threw in a couple jabs here and there. You live, you learn…right?

The second day would prove to be a stormy day in the Glades, though we did make an attempt to get the boat in the water and get some fishing in. While the fishing didn’t happen, I’ll tell you what did….Tim wore pants. After the prior day’s experience with these voracious bugs, I threw Tim a pair of my pants to wear on the second day so he could avoid becoming a human buffet at the boat ramp. I think he would have bought those pants off of me, but I’m not the type to add insult to injury. Needless to say, I think the Everglades cured Tim of ever leaving his pants at home again.

In all seriousness though, when planning a trip to anywhere warm, be sure to pack appropriately for the bug life in the area.

Make sure to bring plenty of bug spray loaded down with deet. Also, make sure to bring long-sleeved shirts, pants, sun gaiters, gloves, hats, and even mosquito netting to cover up as much skin as possible. You can even purchase clothing with bug deterrent built in to the fabric. The last thing you want to be is lunch for these little bastards! Even when the fishing is good, being eaten alive by bugs can make you miserable. So plan accordingly and don’t get caught without your pants!


Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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6 thoughts on “Bug Juice Ain’t The Only Thing Missing!

  1. FYI: A relatively new bug spray alternative to DEET is a lemon/eucalyptus mixture that has proven to be as effective as DEET in several scientific studies. I have used it myself in the Amazon, and I’ll never go back to DEET, which once melted the crystal of my watch. I used a Cutter’s pump spray of the stuff……..extremely effective!

  2. Hi Guy’s,
    First, I want to say that Gink&Gasoline is my favorite site, love this blog.
    Second, not sure if you’ve had the chance to use a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent unit, they work great for me, even when I’m out in the kayak..

  3. Fairly recently, David Petzal over at the Field and Stream blog site, put up a post relating his experiences with the extreme nastiness of tse tse flies he has dealt with on his hunting trips in certain regions of Africa. You guys should compare notes.

  4. While visiting the Everglades on a birding trip ( we left the fly gear at home) we stopped at gated road. In the rental car we applied repellent on everything but our eyes. Once we were ready, we got out and headed to the gate. In those few steps the space between my sunglasses and eyes was filled with mosquitoes. I would guess between 1000 to 2000 per eye. Birding in that location quickly became a nightmare. We got back in the car and did not venture out again in the Everglades. I have heard rumors that state legislature has considered making the mosquito the state bird.

  5. I know a poultry farmer in Florida that is cross breeding mosquitoes with turkeys so make the turkeys hardier. And the mosquitoes easier to swat.

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