The OP never said anything about having other alternatives available.
You are correct, I specifically did discuss other alternatives, as I do live among "Big Bears" in Alaska; just as others also discussed other alternatives, and the difference between hunting and defense.
I believe that if the OP can make it from Florida to where the "big northern bears" live to go fishing, he can probably afford at the minimum a can of bear spray.
But if not, I will personally lend him one of mine if he ends up in my neck of the woods.
And where did this assumption come from?