You love fishing. It is not just a means of catching food for your family. Fishing is a pastime for many people and a way that generations can spend time together out in nature. Some combine fishing with camping. Others are all about fishing every weekend that they can.
For all of these reasons, fishing is relaxing, bonding, and peaceful unless gnats have swarmed you and your fish. That situation can be a big hassle that distracts you from the fun and relaxation you hoped for.
You must be searching the web for this question because you have experienced this trouble firsthand. Well, you have come to the right place for answers! Read the following to find out why gnats show up and how you can keep them away.
Why Do Gnats Show up When You Are Fishing?
1 – You Are in Their Breeding Grounds
Of course, you may have guessed it. Gnats are already there. You are invading their territory. This area of the water or shore is where they live, breed, lay their eggs, hatch, and feed.
In fact, many insects breed in still waters near the shore or in the shrubbery there. These are renowned spots where fishermen often look to park their boat and fish, or some stand at the shore to fish. So you are their meal while you are fishing for yours. This is no fun! It is best to avoid these types of places as you fish every time.
2 – Don’t Be Sweet
Sometimes gnats show up because you are wearing cologne or another substance that smells fruity. Unfortunately, this will attract gnats to you. Your goal should be not to wear any body product that has a fruity smell to it, which could be cologne, cream, or other body products.
There are, however, some people who naturally attract gnats or so it seems. Some research shows that an O blood type actually attracts more insects. Other research shows that insects may be drawn more to women who are pregnant. You can’t control these things but it should remind you to take every effort possible to make sure to keep the pests away.
3 – Put up the Food
There are many foods that will attract gnats as well. They love the smell of fruit, sweet food, and some other smells, such as vinegar. Keep food sealed in containers that block the smell or leakage. Perhaps you shouldn’t even bring fruit, sweets, or soft drinks that might be spilled and become an attractive presence for those gnats.
Have a sealed bag for trash. You may even bring a gallon-size zipper locking bag to hold smaller trash since some bags gape open and allow for gnats to enter them.
4 – Watch What You Eat
You may not have any of these foods with you as you fish but if you eat foods high in sodium or potassium, you can attract gnats. They are also attracted to the lactic acid that you produce.
So this means if you particularly love banana in your smoothie or avocado toast, you will be more likely to attract gnats because of the potassium. Sodium can equally cause gnats to be attracted. We add extra salt to our foods but many of our canned foods and other processed items are filled with sodium already.
Your muscles produce lactic acid after exercise so your sweat can literally contain lactic acid. Keep cool and you may have a better chance of keeping gnats away.
5 – Don’t Drink Alcohol
Now, this may spoil some fishermen’s plans for the boat or lake. But the alcohol can attract gnats as well as the higher temperature that it brings to your body. So it is best to skip the beer in your boat.
Perhaps you will plan to go to a favorite place to drink after you are done fishing for the day. This trip to a restaurant or bar can be a treat, reward, and way to fellowship with your friends or family who are fishing with you.
How Do You Keep Gnats Away?
Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to help keep gnats away from you when you are fishing. Consider the following ways to help keep them away. Again, some of these will be more effective if you are on a boat compared to shore. So consider carefully the ones that fit your fishing plans.
1 – Watch the Wind
Face the wind in your boat, both while you are boating and fishing. That will keep the gnats away from your face. This trick makes it wise to try to stay in moving water flowing downstream, with perhaps great spots to fish in places with deep pools. You don’t want to be in still water near the shore.
Moving will also produce some wind that will help keep the gnats behind you as well. So be conscious of the wind or breeze everywhere you go and as your boat travels forward. If you are on shore, you can find a spot where the wind or breeze seems to be blowing in your face for similar results.
2 – Wear Appropriate Clothing
Gnats will swarm and attack where you have bare skin. Wear a hat and clothes to cover areas open to gnats. This fact means that you should indeed wear long pants even in warm weather. You should also wear a long-sleeved shirt.
Your hat options are infinite but even hoodies work to keep those sensitive areas covered. Your clothing is an excellent start to keeping those gnats away from your person. Gnats tend to fly toward your head and will be attracted to your top so a hat is essential.
Studies show that they are also attracted to darker clothes so it is a good idea to make sure that you are wearing light-colored clothing. This choice of clothing will also keep you cooler in hot weather since dark clothing absorbs heat.
If you are fishing from a boat, it is a good idea to wear sunglasses as well. They will protect your eyes from gnats that might happen to fly toward your face while you are navigating the body of water you are fishing in.
Gnats are also attracted to sweat so wearing cooler clothing will cut down on sweat. Thus, it will cut down on gnats as well. You might also choose a face covering such as a gaiter that will cover your neck, mouth, and nose. Gaiters are comfortable to breathe through and will provide protection from boththe sun and gnats.
3 – Fish at the Time of Day When Gnats Are Lowest
Gnats tend to swarm in the evening. So fishing in the morning or heat of the day can be less susceptible to being bothered by gnats. Many fishermen will tell you that the cool morning is the best time to catch fish anyway. So why not go when fish are active and gnats are not?
4 – Use a Natural Repellent
Many natural repellents are mentioned as helpful to keep gnats away. Some natural and essential oils work. Other substances that you might never consider are also good repellents, such as vanilla extract.
The question is how do you use them to keep the gnats away? Some advise you to wear the oils and extract on your exposed skin so that it repels the gnats away from your body as mentioned previously. Others mention burning it like incense to keep the gnats away. However, this can be a dangerous approach in the small confines of a boat.
Still others suggest that actually filling a spray bottle with a mixture of the essential oils and water to spritz your body and clothing is helpful. That way, you don’t have to carry around bottles of oil but can have a spritz bottle prepared to spray any time that you need it.
5 – Use a Product that Repels Gnats
It should be mentioned first that there are plenty of options without DEET for you to consider. DEET has been flagged as harmful to humans so choose a repellent without it. DEET repellents should be your last option.
Read the instructions for use carefully. Also, see if there are any warnings about misuse being harmful to you. Carefully weigh whether the use of repellents outweighs the bother of the pests. Many repellents can be sprayed directly onto your clothes too. That will additionally help repel those bothersome pests.
6 – Use Spices to Control Gnats
Some say that sprinkling spices all around your boat can also deter gnats and keep them away. Many insects are repelled by garlic but you can also consider using cinnamon, pepper, and cayenne to help keep the gnats away.
Overcast and windy conditions will lower gnat activity. They are much more likely to be active on warm days, especially if it is a very humid day. The overcast days are a little cooler. The wind will keep gnat activity down, as mentioned previously. Plus, you can face the wind and help reduce gnat activity as well.