This is a rather lengthy post, but after all the bites I've had and good fishing I've missed, I made it a mission to beat the bastards.
Bugs...lets narrow it down to one...marsh devils...mosquitoes.
Per the beach...not so bad, unless you get a land breeze and then you'll be worried about the flies more so than mosquitoes. For the beach I use Avon Skin So Soft. It works...
Here are some tips for fishing:
Be ready to fish the moment you park. Stop off and put your waders on, prepare your tackle, use the bathroom, etc. in a less buggy area before you get to your spot. For instance, if I fish Bodie Island Light, I stop off before I turn off 12 and get ready. I get back in the car, waders on and all, even have a fly on my leader and when I park by the gate, I jump out, grab my rod and necessary items and walk/run to the water. Before I started doing this, probably 75
% of my bites were between the car and the water.
If you wade the backwater or hang around the inlets, once you get a ways out in the water, it's not so bad. I don't care how hot you are...put on bug proof clothing. I think Cabelas sells a thin "bug proof" shirt. Haven't tried it yet, but I might get one for the fall. They will bite through my chamois shirt...look into a headnet for the really bad days (which can be most of them). Don't wash your clothes with detergent containing deodorants and use no softeners in your dryer. Frankly once I get a shirt nice and "DEETY", I don't wash it...it gets real stinky, but I don't get bitten.
Avoid yellow colors during the day and when night fishing, try a red filter on your lights. Easier on your eyes and you wont attract as many bugs.
As for repellents, I have tried all the naturals...eucalytus, lemon, cactus...they love the stuff. Even the Avon SSS does not help much...although it helps on the beach against the flies. So...if you don't mind using it, get a lotion or spray with as much DEET as you can stand. I use Bob's Bug repellent(95%) on the bad days and it will hold them off. Combined with a the right clothes, you'll be fine. Just don't get it anywhere near you bait, tackle, flies, lines, or any kind of poly clothing.
Cigars don't really help...the smoke does keep them away but you produce more CO which attracts them to you.
Has anybody tried that stuff from 3M? Ultrathon?
In answer to your question...yes the bugs are bad.
Sorry for the windy post, hope this helps.