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Thoughts on tipping guides and charter captains

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by New-B-Angler, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. My son and I are going smally fishing on the New River in WV. We have hired a guide who will supply the float and all tackle. I'm wondering your thoughts on tipping. I normally start at 20% in a restaurant and work down if the service isn't good. When I get a haircut I only tip if the person isn't the owner of the shop. Do you tip a guide? Does it depend on how many fish you catch (.50/fish or something?) I guess if one of us hooks the guy or knocks him off the boat then I owe him big time. Since he owns the operation and can set his price wherever he wants maybe I don't tip at all.

    I'm sure all the guides and charter capts will respond positively to this one.

  2. This is a good question and frankly I am totally ignorant on the subject. Have never chartered.....or paid for a guide. I will be interested to see how people respond.

  3. I'm sure the money is welcomed but we have also given them things from this area that they don't get often in other parts of the state or country. Trail and cheese from this area was always liked plus some home made BBQ sauce. If it's good service a few extra bucks is in order,don't think any of them are getting rich these days with the price of gas and insurance.
  4. CoolWater

    CoolWater Multi-Species Fanatic

    For me, it just depends on how the trip goes. If the fishing is slow or a skunk, I don't tip. Even if the captain/guide is working relatively hard. Usually, the charters I've done are rather expensive and I think most captains understand if you don't have anything to show for it (or not much) - a tip shouldn't be expected or necessary.

    If the trip goes well as far as catching - I tip, and rather generously. A $50 tip to the captain I've done more than once. On a headboat that goes well, when the hat gets passed - I'll throw in a $5 for the captain and a $5 for the first mate.
  5. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    Usually mates work for tips and the ones that depend on them will work very hard for the customer, changing baits and etc.. With the fuel like it is and rates not much more than it used to be, Captains are cut short do to all the expenses if operating a big boat. There are more than just fuel ie: insurance, license fees, dockage, general maintence, expensive costs of repairs, research time and effort daily that goes with all the experience to keep your catch rate up, 1st class electronics and tackle to be able to target fish effectively, storage, and so on. Ya know, if ya had good service at the restaurant and tipped, the waitress remembers you when you come back. Wouldn't you think the Captain would appreciate the tip and really in his conscience upon your return trip think..."Man, I gotta get these guys some fish!" even if its tough. Most Captains go way "overboard" to cater to the crew, besides thats what they are paying for, a memorable, enjoyable and most of all a SAFE trip. There are also crews that can be a real pain and they hope they dont come back. Just my 2 cents. I believe if they do a great job even if catch rate is down, they should be tipped for all the extra effort put forward.
  6. ShakeDown

    ShakeDown OGF Staff Staff Member Admin

    I tip based on the enjoyment of the trip, and the captain's efforts...regardless of whether or not we limit/catch fish. No one can force a fish to bite, but if they try their hardest at doing so and we still have a great time then I tip accordingly.

    We've all had slow days on the water, and you can't walk into a trip looking at it as a guarantee you'll slam em.

    Good example...About 8 years ago, I wanted to learn how to float-n-fly for winter smallies on Dale Hollow. Booked the most well known and accredited fnf pro on the lake, to teach me just that. We had the worst possible weather for that lake...high cloudless sky, bright sun, no wind on a lake with vis a good 5-6 feet. Fishing was awful that day as a result, but I learned the technique well enough that I've been able to apply it down there for the last 8 years (and pass it along to others) with great success.
  7. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    with regards to the particular trip you're taking.
    as mentioned,most guides don't need a brinks truck to take their money to the bank.contrary to what some people may think,many barely get by on their wages.if they were looking to get rich,they would have listened to their mothers,and become gynocologists;)
    they do it because they love doing it.
    anyone who believes that number of fish caught should be a gauge for tipping needs to look at the whole picture,and all the things mentioned above are part of it.if a guide provides you with a good time,works hard,gives it all and the conditions,etc result in less than stellar reults,he deserves to be shown that you appreciate his efforts.he WILL remember that.
    as for amount,that's dependent on all the above,but 10-20% should be fair,based on quality of the experience(not fish caught).
    try putting yourself in the guides shoes,and let your cocience be your guide(no pun intended,lol)
    just a little hint as to guides' incomes.....................i recently watched a show about several flyfishing guides on the white river.for all the hours and effort they put in,some are lucky to make 30k a year.putting in 12-18 hours a day 7 days a week,that doesn't amount to minimum wage.
  8. A charter captain should never expect tips from everyone. Some of my clientele save all year to be able to afford just 1 trip on the lake. Hell I've had some sleep in their cars because of hotel costs in the Coaster season. I don't mind a bit when they pay the going rate without a tip.

    I have others that are almost embarrassingly generous with tips, others that feed me the greatest sandwiches known to man(my favorites). They are all welcome to return and most do.

    If I had to live on my Charter income it would take 100 trips a year and that would keep me at poverty level after expenses, I ran 30 last year and expect 40-50 this year. Most of us have another source of income to live on(I'm retired) and do the charter thing because we love fishing and love sharing the knowledge. There are a few on Erie who make decent livings doing it but even they have huge expenses and I don't even make enough to pay their adveritsing costs and show participatioon expenses in the winter They are doing out it of love of the sport as well.

    Bottom line is if you can afford it and enjoyed yourself Tip, if you didn't have a good time because of a surly captain, poorly maintained boat, inexperience, shortcut time, or can't afford it then don't.
  9. I'll tip at 20% for a good trip. That does not mean that we have to box out...just that the entire experience was enjoyable. I've been on charters in the Caribbean where I felt very quickly into the trip that we were going for nothing more than a boat ride. No tip there...and it was sad to see the mate begging for tips...."we make chit mon....we need da tips..."

    Well...don't drink my beer, sleep on the couch, change one bait in 4 hours, then ask for a tip...

    This statement needs to be taken with an * though:

    There are more than just fuel ie: insurance, license fees, dockage, general maintence, expensive costs of repairs, research time and effort daily that goes with all the experience to keep your catch rate up, 1st class electronics and tackle to be able to target fish effectively, storage, and so on.

    All of which is able to be written off come tax time.

    But I agree, having several friends that charter part-time...they do not do it for the money...they do it because they love to fish and share the boat with others, and would struggle mightily if it were their sole source of income.
  10. if there is a mate MAKE SURE YOU TIP HIM!! when i mated on a charter i got a little cash from the captain but busted my balls for 8 hrs fishing and another hour cleaning up when we got back. most tipped well but some didn't tip. let me tell you that is a lot of work for the little cash the capt would pay out. that being said $25 was about par for the course. as stated previously some tipped some insane amounts of money though!

    if you choose to tip the guide or mate do it based on the effort they put in not the amount of fish you catch.
  11. i always tip the captain---there was only a couple salmon trips that had mates---i dont ever go out with any guys that didnt bust thier butt trying to get everyone dialed in and catching
  12. Hetfieldinn

    Hetfieldinn Staff Member

    Merry Christmas, Ebeneezer.
  13. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    i can't imagine why:confused: :rolleyes:
  14. Thanks for all the input. I'll play it by ear. Its just my 10 yr old son and I on a raft with a guide. He works for the resort we are staying at so I'm sure we are overpaying for the trip. I could save money if I looked for an independent. If he works hard to teach us, I'll include a tip. If he doesn't work hard, I won't.
  15. Best advice in the world on tipping can be found in the early part of the movie "Reservoir Dogs."

    Steve Buschemi is absolutely brilliant...

    But don't watch that one with your 10 year old...