It was Sunday a couple of weeks ago when I received a call
from David Di Girolamo. He was visiting his in-laws in
Edgewater and wanted to book a charter. I do love those
calls. This is great time of year to venture in the lagoon
for reds and trout. I figured we could get an early start
and be back before afternoon showers.
Trust old Mother-Nature to throw a wrench into our plans.
All weekend it rained. Monday was the same thing. Tuesday
was supposed to clear with thunderstorms in the afternoon.
David called and asked if I could pick him and Beth up at
the Hacienda del Rio Boat Dock, which I hesitated on but
agreed to. This dock put us 1 mile north of River Breeze
Ramp and 4 miles from Georges Bank in Mosquito Lagoon.
Actually Mosquito Lagoon's boundaries run north to Government
Cut, so theoretically we could go another half mile north and
cut through Blue Hole and fish a big circle east and then back
through the mangroves to Georges. I don't normally take this
tact because the lagoon has a tendency to start getting choppy
around 11 am. But the plans were made and we would do well
as long as Mother-Nature would cooperate.
My other concern were the insects, mosquitoes and no-seeums.
Most of the time I worry about no-seeums because they bite
and they are extremely annoying. They are just the insect
to ruin an otherwise great fishing day. Most anglers who
venture south to fish our backwaters don't realize the magnitude
of our insect population.
In the old days we just doused ourselves with anything containing
DEET. You would smell like rotten fish and even the dogs would
steer clear. Only problem is that DEET will eat away at your
fishing rods (the graphite ones - aren't they all graphite now)
and lines. This isn't as much of a problem if you use your
sticks once a year, but where guides use their rods everyday
a build up of DEET can be expensive.
You won't find DEET in products on my boat. Up until three months
ago you had to bear the bugs. Once you are running out on the
water they aren't as bad as at the ramp. The other reason I
don't keep products with DEET is that a lot of young kids go
fishing with their parents, and a lot of new parents don't want
to infect their infants. Such was the case with David and Beth.
So it was a good thing that I was picking them up at their dock.
They could see me motoring up the river and get quickly into
However a serious fact remains, West Nile Virus has been reported
in every state east of the Mississippi River. Two horses in
Florida have died and one man in Volusia County. The threat
is real and we each have a responsibility to protect our
charter clients and ourselves from contracting this some
times fatal disease.
"DEET is one of the safest, most reliable products on the
market. Researchers are constantly searching for new repellents
and during the past 40 years, nothing has come close to DEET
in terms of repellent efficacy against biting arthropods (insects
and ticks)." Jonathan F. Day, Professor of Medical Entomology,
University of Florida, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory.
In 1951, The U.S. Government developed a poison called DEET
that would ward off and in some cases kill insects on contact.
That same year the EPA approved of its use (how convenient).
DEET also kills grass, dissolves paint, and rots human flesh.
A friend of mine told me that on his trip to Kenya, the guides
said to put the DEET on their clothes but not on their skin.
Obviously the concentration levels of DEET have a lot to do
with their effectiveness. DEET is not a safe alternative to
preserving our environment. It is hazardous to your health.
"Induce vomiting if swallowed," the label says.
Bottom line - DEET is out! Just recently in Ormond Beach, Florida,
a doctor and nurse developed an all natural alternative that mixes
Vitamins F, A, C, E, Aloe Vera and lots of Citronella (a natural
insect repellent - I have the stuff growing in my backyard) and
Orange Oil. The other, and almost equally important function
of this product is it is PABA free and provides protection from
UVA/UVB and has an SPF of 30. I often wondered why they (the
chemical companies) couldn't bottle citronella. Now they have.
The product is called All Sport and it doesn't stain either.
A couple of months ago I started using ALL Sport and testing
it in the Lagoon and Tomoka River, especially after a drenching
rainstorm. It took about 10 minutes for the insect repellent
to kick in. With a hint of citrus aroma - a pleasant smell,
the product seemed to work well. I couldn't wait to test it
on a sunny day, if it ever stopped raining long enough for the
sun to appear. My trial period worked fabulous and now it was
time to introduce All Sport to my unsuspecting clients.
When I arrived at the dock, the mosquito swarms were light.
I picked up David and Beth and we motored north to Blue Hole.
I figured we could fish the oyster bar and maybe score on some
snook or trout. After an hour and no takers, I moved us
through some mangroves and out to the old Shipyard Channel,
north of Government Cut. We fished the tail out of Cedar
Creek and still no bites, but a lot of pushes were evident
along the grass line. We headed out again and I noticed
a thunderhead moving southwest from below Tiger Shoals.
I thought that we might have a chance if I headed for
Georges Bank. I got us up on plane and made the 5 mile
run from Pumkin Point, south towards the Shotgun. I
rounded the corner at the ICW and Marker 13A and headed
south towards Marker 19. But the lagoon was starting
to kick up its water so I turned around and headed back
up the Shotgun for Pegg's Flat.
The wind was blowing out of the east and I would make a run
up the flat and then drift back out. This worked for a while
and the drift pace was perfect. I made small adjustments from
the poling platform and we worked the edges from the back of
the flat. I saw a couple of redfish but no trout, and no
hookups. About half way down the flat the wind picked up.
I looked to the east and was surprised to find a wedge of
awesome storm clouds.
Concerned about our situation, instinctively I thought of
where to get out of the weather. I thought seriously about
taking them back, but the dark cloud mass was in the direction
of Shipyard Channel and I didn't want to take them into the
storm. There was another front just to the south. Finally
I figured our best spot was the old slew across from Plantation
Island and up against the west facing tree line. This would
take the wind out of the picture and maybe a lay up out of
harms way. The fish bite was off anyway. So we brought in
the rods and we were under way again. I shot up the Shotgun
heading northeast and then made the turn down the East Channel.
At the second crab trap I made my swing into the slew.
The water was dead flat calm. The air was still. There was
activity on the grass line. Hey the fishing was going to improve.
And, the bugs were out in force. To keep David and Beth from
getting eaten alive, it was time for the ultimate test of All
Sport. After about ten minutes the product seemed to throw
up an invisible shield. You could see them land on your arm
and then take off. No one got bit and the location proved
successful. The storms moved around us and the fishing was
great. We caught some keeper Flounder and Trout. Beth made
sandwiches and still no bugs came to feast on our parade.
The sun felt good and with our combination sunscreen and
insect repellent we were safe. What a great day after all.
Now it is your turn to try All Sport. All Sport has all the Fed
approvals and also their patent on the formula. They went through
the approval cycles fairly quickly - 3 years. You can check out their
website at http://www.allsport-health.com or contact Dean Tate
at 386-673-5252. Tell them Capt. Doug sent you. I know that
the product is available at Rudy's of Lake Ontario in Oswego (NY),
Magic Outfitters in San Antonio (TX), or John B's Fly Shop in
Stuart (FL). Way to go All Sport!
Protect yourself from the sun and insect borne diseases.
And, please don't teach your trash to swim.
~ Doug Sinclair
Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to
Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters.
Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental.
Catch him on the web at
www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500.
Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.