I’m wondering how many of you have ever carried a sidearm while flyfishing.

In roughly 25 years, I never have. Never carried pepper spray, or anything else, for that matter. And I have fished a lot, from Alaska with the bears, down to South America. (Okay, on that Bolivia story, we had pistols, but we didn’t actually wear them while fishing.) Not that I have a problem with carrying sidearms. I enjoy shooting them.

But have you ever, really, felt the need to carry when you fish?

I remember a classic story: It involves the Alaska guide who shows up with a .22 pistol. The client says: “A .22? That won’t stop a charging bear…” and the guide answers, “No it won’t, but it will blow your kneecap off when it’s time to run.” Okay, that’s not funny…

This summer, I’m heading up to bear country on a self-guided fishing trip, and I’m thinking that a stainless-steel insurance policy might be in order. Anyone have any advice for me in this regard?