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Thread: Tipping A Guide

  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    Tipping A Guide

    For those of you who have used a fishing guide, what amount is appropriate to tip over his regular fee, if he shows you a good trip? I have never used a guide before but have a guided fishing trip scheduled soon. I would not want to insult the man. Thanks for any help in advance.

  2. #2
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    They only expect their charged fee therefore anything over the amount due is considered a bonus to them and appreciated. A twenty dollar bill or slightly more will always be enough. Some guys tip real heavy if the trip is just stellar and over the top.
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  3. #3
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    I have only used a guide a few times and I've always gone with 50 bucks. Split between two or three it's not that bad. Seems appropriate to me if the guide is a good fellow, makes for an enjoyable trip, any answers questions you may have.

    Personel preference though. I am sure anything is greatly appreciated.
    Likes GeoFisher, CaptObvious liked this post

  4. #4
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    Tipping A Guide

    The input is much appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2015
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    Tipping a guide

    I would say that if the guide is the business owner he probably doesn't expect a tip considering how expensive the service is to begin with. Just my opinion.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2015
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    I worked part time on a striper charter up in mass for a bit. Tips are very appreciated. Between 50-100 depending on how good the fishing was. We've had everything from beer to fish to gift cards as tips.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgin d View Post
    I would say that if the guide is the business owner he probably doesn't expect a tip considering how expensive the service is to begin with. Just my opinion.
    Here are some facts to think about from someone that is the business owner in a full time guide service and has been for over 20 years:

    1. The prices we guides charge are dictated more by what the public is willing to pay, not how much profit we can make. If you check around you will see that guide prices are pretty much the same around the area where you are thinking about hiring a guide. These prices are dictated by the amount of possible clients in that area vs the amount of competition. We guides are providing a service of convienience in most cases and not a service that people need or have to have. If we set our prices above what the public coming there are willing to pay, you won't be in business very long.

    2. The amount of days realistically available during the year that you can reasonably expect to get enough clients is limited by the location of the area where you are providing service vs the number of folks that would be available during the different seasons of the year to make it economically feasable to be a full time guide. In this latitude, realistically that works out to be about 9 months of the year.

    3. One must also take into account, out of that 9 months of the year, how many days are there going to be that the weather will not allow you take out clients that have scheduled with you and you must cancel out the trips. Also, how many clients are going to cancel their trips at the last minute. All of us full time guides get deposits to try to encourage our clients not to cancel, but it does happen and the deposits do not cover the profits we lost that day due to a cancellation.

    4. Most guides can only do one trip a day, so when you lose a day due to weather, you lose a day's pay.

    5. Also, of the days available during the season, how many days can you actually expect to be booked. 9 months would equal out to roughly 270 possible days. Now take those possible days vs how many days you will actually get booked vs how many days you will lose due to weather.

    6. You are running a small business so there are no paid vacation days or paid sick days. You also can expect to put in 14-16 hours a day just as any small business owner does. It is not just getting in a boat and going fishing for 8 hours...there is prep time, maintenance time, paper work etc that goes along with all small businesses.

    7. There are expenses to be paid. Maintenence, equipment, gas, oil, insurance, licenses and let's not forget taxes. You are a small business so for every cent of net profit you make, you are taxed at about 35% by the feds and don't forget state taxes, property taxes etc.

    I am not bitching...just talking realities that most folks don't realize goes into being a full time guide. We realistically do not make a lot of money by the time all these realities are taken into consideration. If we set our prices at what we would need to set them at to make a lot of money, we would not have enough clients willing to pay those prices to bother trying to have a business. Like other guides, I do this because I like to do it. I enjoy the independence of being my own boss, I enjoy spending my days working with folks that are with me to have a good time and want to learn. I enjoy spending most of my working days in a boat and not in an office. Fact is, we full time guides could probably make as much bottom line money during the year if we gave it up and became door greeters at Wal Mart full time.

    When I first became a guide, it was traditional for clients to tip you to assist you in paying your expenses unless they were not satisfied with your service. This has changed over the years and because of this change in attitude, I nor other guides typically expect to be tipped anymore. But, like other guides, I certianly do appreciate it when a client does show their appreciation by tipping us for our services.

  8. #8
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    I would look at the purpose of trip when deciding to trip. If it's just a group of people going on a fishing trip it's one thing, if everyone chips in a little then it turns out to be a decent trip. If it is just you and someone else wanting to learn from the guide how to fish then that's a different story.

    When I first moved here I went on a striper fishing trip with some friends from work. We caught fish, had a good time, and all 4 of us chipped in $20 to the tip. At that time I had no boat but the trip sparked an interest that caused me to buy a boat. My first year striper fishing, about 6 weekends of fishing, I blanked. Meaning I was on the water 20+ hours every trip and never caught a fish. Factoring the gas towing the boat the lake, the lodge room, gas for the boat, and bait it was easily over $300 a trip and I was going home empty handed. Thinking of it in those terms if a guide could have put me on fish in one trip it would have saved me $1,500 and a lot of frustration

    The second year wasn't going much better. Finally, despite having my own boat, I broke down and hired a guide to learn from. I asked a ton of questions, learned a lot, but the two fish we had on got off and I went home with nothing. I still tipped the guide $75 because of the information I learned. The next day I took my own boat out and caught fish. I have caught fish pretty much every trip after that. Fast forward a few years, my boat was out of commission but I had promised my g/f a fishing trip. I hired the same guide who was now chartering at the opposite end of the lake and booked another trip. I wanted to learn the pattern and area near Fishing Creek. He remembered me from before and went out of his way to show me the area and try to put me on fish. My g/f caught the only fish but the effort and information was excellent. I believe my tip was around the $100 mark. When my boat was working again we went out and I was able to use the information the guide provided was on the fish even though it was 6 months later. In the context of using a guide to learn from a 30% tip might seem like a lot but it is well worth it.

  9. #9
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    As we all know, we cannot make a fish bite so tipping your guide should have nothing to do with whether you catch fish or not. Tipping should have everything to do with the friendliness and efforts of your guide. I would say at least 10% of the fee would be appropriate.
    Likes Brian Brown liked this post

  10. #10
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    Apr 2007
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    Blanchester
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    I've been with a guide a couple of times on Lake Cumberland fishing for stripers. The first guide was so full of corn you couldn't tell what was true and what was a lie. I actually caught a couple of fish with him and he imparted some knowledge to my one buddy, who got skunked. We now have many years of fishing for stripers under our belts and laugh about how full of corn that guide was. I haven't heard anything about him and think he no longer guides. We did tip him well. The second guide is well known on LC and has a great reputation. We took him out in Nov. one year. My buddy and I took our wives. Worst trip I've ever been on. Record cold front had come through the night before. It was cold. I would say we fished for a total of about half an hour. All we did was drive around from the dam to half way down the lake. At one point our wives needed to get to a lady's room. The guide pulled over to the bank and let them out. They come back after walking a ways to find some privacy only to have the guide joke that we didn't see any deer, but we saw a couple of whitetails. At another time he said, "look up the hill, deer"! We all turned to look and then we hear the sound of water. We turn around and he is standing at the front of the boat taking a leak. Our wives weren't impressed with his service and neither were we. I expected the fishing to be tough, but he didn't even try. He would look at his fish finder and say, "there's one, and a couple more, and here's a few more", as we kept on moving. He would say, "there could be 50 more stripers just off the cone". We still kept moving. I got the impression he was looking for the mother load so he could get our limits and get back to the house. He kept saying how he wished he was in the deer stand. Kept talking about his son was hunting while he was out on the lake. Our wives have not been back with us since. Oh and we tipped him well. We were under the impression that it was expected.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2012
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    Tipping a guide

    I've never used a guide in freshwater, but I assume the protocol is similar to saltwater. I've been on numerous 6 man charters in salt water. There is a captain and at least one "mate". Most of the mate's income is derived from tips. I believe the captain and mates split the tips. It is customary and sort of expected to tip. I'd say 15-20 %.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2007
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    tipping a guide

    I think Daves comment was out of line.I am a delivery driver. I go out of my way to do everything I can for customers and get nothing. I don't expect anything either.My bills are figured in what I make.There is a gude I would tip, the best Lance.
    Likes GeoFisher liked this post

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