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Fighting back vs. no-see-ums

July 18, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Being able to somewhat withstand the attack of thousands of biting, crawling down your neck, in your eyes and ears and up your nose no-see-ums is a plus when fishing 94-degree Florida mangrove summers.

Either liberally apply the bug juice or cover up. I'm not much on coating myself with various poisons so I cover up.

Long pants and sleeves, gloves, socks, hatt, full face and head cover with cotton in my ears. Bugs can't get me, but the heat stroke may do me in.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

It's odd how some are plagued by no-see-ums while others like me are able to somewhat tolerate that which drives others to madness. Like everyone, I do have my limits, but seem to have a high tolerance. I've often turned to look at a fellow angler, huge cloud of the little devils all around him, begging me to fire up the big motor and scoot while I would be leisurely swatting at an apparently lost few that weren't aware of the real and obviously more delectable feast going on in the back of the boat.

I suppose the old hide toughens and some sort of immunity builds up over the years. One thing that guarantees massive attacks of no-see-ums aboard my boat is female clients or friends. Must be the lotions and potions they use or the tenderized skin, but ladies seem to be bug magnets.

Over the years I've had more than one couples trip ended, as in the first five minutes of actual fishing, by a bug sensitive partner.

All in one sentence, "Honey I know you planned this trip for us for a year and saved all that money and yes we finally got here and the boat ride was great and I know you said it might be a little buggy, but if you think I'm going to be out here in this hell you're both crazy!" Now, she's mad at me? "Drop me off I'm going shopping and if you two lunatics what to be bugbait, have at it!"

I have a personal theory that no-see-ums love and thrive in the bug spray they disperse from helicopters all summer. It kills off the weak ones and leaves the survivors meaner and tougher. Huge colonies of Superseeums. Just guessing.

Again, I don't like applying poison to my skin, so if they are eating you alive then try some old natural recipes that I recently saw.

Rubbing citrus oils, as in rubbing orange and lemon peels on your exposed skin, works well for some.

Lemon-eucalyptus spray. This natural mosquito, flea and tick repellent is government approved for being just as effective as DEET. Make your own bottle of spray by taking a small spray bottle filling it up halfway with distilled or boiled water. Next, fill up the rest with some witch hazel from your local pharmacy. Then top it all off with 50 drops of lemon-eucalyptus oil, commonly found at most health food stores"

Many still swear by Skin-So-Soft. I just cover up and try to fish with bug attracting types.

It's great to see so many juvenile snook in our local waters. After the big freeze of 2010 we need to continue to build back to even greater numbers. Fishing between showers, dirty water, and for redfish, this past week we caught snook after snook on our spoons and soft plastics in shallow bays.

Visiting flyrodder Jeff Shannon from Ontario caught 25-plus snook Thursday morning with a hand tied popping bug while I poled him through the shallows.

Wednesday evening he landed a 40-pound class tarpon and broke off another in a SW Cape canal both on fly.

I've heard of tarpon off Knapps Point, but I've not been out to verify. I do know that Cape Canal tarpon are active and if you put in your time scouting you might easily find your inshore honeyhole.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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