Most of us who’ve fished and hunted long enough have had close calls or moments that made us pause to think “what if.” Call them times that fit into the “tight sphincter” category. An email I just got from guide friend and writer Dave Sherwood, who temporarily left Maine and is experimenting with a newspaper job in Costa Rica (really an excuse to go fishing), brought this up.

Dave was on a “tough” assignment fishing peacock bass in the Panama Canal. He’d found a local old-timer commercial fisherman to take him out for gas money, a guy with a leaky 12-foot tin boat and a grumpy old outboard. The guy was grumpy, too, and didn’t speak English. But what got Dave’s attention while fighting a bass was the first 900-foot freighter that suddenly loomed over his shoulder and ultimately passed within 50 feet! Some swell! The old timer wasn’t concerned. He did it again, and again. I guess Dave finally believed he wasn’t going to sink but it wasn’t peaceful fishing.

That reminded me of fishing the St. Lawrence Seaway times back in fog and suddenly having huge ocean ships appear spookily almost silently towering over my little fishing boat. Or the time I was riding shotgun with a tournament bass pro with the boat going flat out (in fog again), and then suddenly seeing another bass boat barreling out of the gloom head-on at us. Quick reflexes saved the day, but I didn’t like it at all.

I’ve had a lot more scares, some even worse, but I’d like to hear some of yours from times out there. Say, have you ever had a cottonmouth fall into your boat?

OK, your turn.