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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Florida’s Forgotten Coast features some of the most pristine marine habitat in the state. Thousands of acres of protected federal land, undeveloped shoreline, tidal creeks and lush sea grasses are ideal for shrimp, crabs and juvenile fish to grow. That abundant nursery is also why the variety of saltwater game fish are so plentiful.

Yet that bounty comes with a price. The salt marsh which forms the basis for the estuary also cultivates countless species of insects. Mosquitos, ticks, black and yellow flies and no-see-ums or sand gnats top the list of annoying pests that invariably bite and chew on anglers fishing the inshore waters. The bugs can be annoying at best and downright dangerous with the threat of health risks. That’s why repellents are such an important aspect of outdoor gear.

The majority of available repellents are based on high concentrations of DEET, a long-used chemical ingredient that causes toxic reactions in many users. Alternative products based on natural extracts like eucalyptus oil, citronella and others are only partially effective. This situation was the impetus for the development of Proven® Repellent, a non-toxic product line that uses a 20 percent concentration of Saltidin (Picaridin). That active ingredient is recommended by the EPA, World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control as an effective repellent against mosquito-borne illnesses.

Although it’s a manufactured ingredient produced in the US, saltidin is modeled after piperidine, a colorless organic compound found in the black pepper plant. Saltidin adapts well in various applications and is compatible with skin, textiles, gear and plastic materials. Applications last up to 12 hours in sprays or 14 hours in lotions, so it doesn’t have to be constantly re-applied. Proven® is gear-safe and will not melt or damage plastics like DEET can.

Like many others, I cannot use repellents containing DEET due to adverse reactions. I’ve also tried several natural alternatives in the past with limited success. Some only work for short periods while others still left me slapping at yellow flies or snorting no-see-ums on the water or at the marina afterwards. So when I was offered a sample of Proven® to try, I wondered if it would be more of the same. It wasn’t.

The ultimate test came while competing in the RedTrout Shootout, a regional contest held every spring along the Forgotten Coast. I launched before dawn and raced to a favorite spot back in the marsh, but not before liberally spraying Proven around my exposed head, on my hands and over my clothing. I was using the scent-free formula, which doesn’t leave any sticky residue.

Once the sun came up, the bugs came out in force. There were more than a dozen normally vicious yellow flies on the bow and deck, yet none landed on me and I wasn’t bitten once. The same thing occurred with no-see-ums back at the wash rack. They were buzzing around, but avoided contact with my sprayed skin. Subsequent trips have re-confirmed the product’s overall effectiveness on gnats, flies and mosquitos.

Available in odorless or gently scented formulas, Proven® insect repellent sprays and lotions are sold at select stores. They can also be purchased online in a range of sizes at for $7.95 to $12.95.

If you’re susceptible to the adverse effects of DEET or prefer a non-toxic product to ward off bugs, give Proven® a try. The gear box in my skiff will definitely have a bottle of it from now on.


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