If you are looking for an insect repellent that will not do damage to your fly fishing line, leaders and flies, the Sawyer fisherman’s formula might be for you. Ever since I began fishing at a very young age, I have always hated putting on insect repellent. To this day I have always waited until the insects became unbearable before applying any DEET to my skin. Now of course there have always been DEET alternatives, but honestly they rarely worked very well. All fly fisherman have to rely on being around a lot of insects while we are out on the water. Honestly, if there aren’t a ton of insects out there, fishing probably won’t be very good. On the afternoons and evenings where fishing is just plain awesome, there will be a lot of biting bugs on the prowl looking for your blood.
I was fortunate last year during a guide trip that someone left a bottle of the Sawyer Fisherman formula in my boat. I’m not sure who left it, but I’m glad they did, otherwise I might not have been turned on to this great product. I have found that this amazing insect repellent does not burn, or give you the uncomfortable feeling you get from DEET based repellents. You will notice a light lemon scent when you first apply it and shortly afterwards that scent dissipates leaving you odorless.
Picaridin chemical has been used for a very long time in Europe and Australia for controlling biting insects, but here in the US, it has only been available for the last ten years or so. Picaridin seems to do its job so well by blocking the insects ability to identify us as their prey. Picaridin is a synthetic chemical that was created in a laboratory in the 1980’s to simulate piperine (a natural chemical found in plants to create black pepper). Picaridin is much less likely to be absorbed into the body than DEET, making it a clearly better alternative.
A couple years ago I was making this night fishing video and literally became ill from using too much DEET. My glands in my neck got huge, and I ended up spending a few days in bed. That was the last time I put any insect repellent with DEET on my body. Since then I have used a lot of Sawyers insect repellent without any side effects and have enjoyed excellent protection from mosquitoes.
If you have ever accidentally sprayed your fly line with insect repellent that contained DEET you are likely aware that I does a lot of damage. As a matter of fact it will literally melt your expensive fly line before your eyes if enough is applied. Sawyer fisherman’s formula will do very little, (if any) damage to your fly line in comparison to DEET based products. I have not been able to find any damage to my fly lines and other gear after using this Sawyer insect repellent heavily on several trips.
You can buy this Sawyer insect repellent in both spray and lotion formulas. I am personally fond of the spray varieties, because they are much quicker and easier to apply. When I am fishing I don’t want to take any more time than necessary to apply insect repellent. It has been said that the Sawyer insect repelling lotion will last longer and be more water resistant than the sprays, so you can make the choice of what you want to use. Perhaps another benefit of the lotion variety is that it can be applied with more accuracy than the sprays, however the lotion would not be possible to apply to your clothing. On Sawyers website, it says that the lotions will repel insects for 14 hours, the sprays for 12 hours and 8 hours against biting flies, gnats, chiggers, and sand flies. I have personally never had this stuff work effectively against mosquitoes for more than a few hours, however most insect repellents will lose effectiveness in a fairly short period when they are exposed to water, sweat and high humidity.
If you are on the market for a much more natural, safe and very effective insect repellent, Sawyer fisherman’s formula is the solution for you.