The experts say to keep mosquitoes off of you, your best bet is to use a bug spray with DEET in it. We used to swear by Muskol, but I haven’t found it on store shelves for years. I think they still make it, but the OFF! line of insect repellants must have a better marketing plan, because that’s all I can seem to find anymore.
Muskol was 100% DEET. I figured if it’s DEET that keeps the skeeters off of you, it would be best to use something that’s all DEET, right? OFF! and Repel both make a version of bug spray that’s about 99% DEET, and both of those work pretty well. In my search for Muskol online, though, I found a site that explains that a higher the percentage of DEET doesn’t work better – it just lasts longer. I’m not sure that’s true, because I used a version of OFF! with a lower percentage of DEET in it, and I got eaten alive.
The higher the percentage of DEET, though, the higher likelihood you’re going to melt any plastic you touch. Even though the EPA says they have no evidence DEET causes cancer, the fact that it’ll eat your fishing rod probably isn’t a good sign.
I’m going to test some non-DEET bug sprays this summer to see if any of them work. I’ve read glowing reviews of Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent, which is completely natural. There’s also Sawyer Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin, which is supposedly less gnarly than DEET, but people swear it works well and doesn’t smell as bad. I’ll try those brands out and let you know if they work or not.
But if they don’t, it turns out you can still get Muskol. Just keep it off your fishing rod handle.