Tipping a guide...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Jonathan Gardner, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Let's see, $350 divided by 8 hours = $43.75 per hour. You rich guys can go ahead and tip. I'm sure the guide probably working for someone else still get's $20 an hour. I guess I just don't get it. Too bad. Oh well.
     
  2. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

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    If thats the math you use to see how much a guide is making you honestly do not get it Larry.
     
  3. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    Pretty interesting topic and responses. I've only used a guide twice when I was much younger and I believe my father tipped the guides around $40 or so. Nowadays, after learning to fly fish, I don't even consider using a guide. It seems like cheating to me. I prefer to research the hell out of new waters before I go there. It has worked out pretty well so far. I've gotten good information from posters to web sites like this one (thanks Chris and Gary). If I used a guide service (and I can well afford it) it would take a lot out of the experience for me. I own many types of float craft and can usually locate a shuttle service through the local fly shops or internet fly fishing sites. Gotta love the internet and information age!

    I thoroughly enjoy all the pre-planning, researching and adventure of fishing new waters. I'm sure others feel the same way.

    Steve

    BTW, If you use a guide, I believe you should be prepared to tip based on good service performed (15%-20%).
     
  4. Sloan Craven

    Sloan Craven Active Member

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    :hmmm:Same breath:hmmm:


    Well, I have sampled the marketplace. I believe in tipping good guides but not the bad ones.
    As most guides are independent they can set their own price. They aren't working for tips like waiters or other professionals so no one should feel obligated to tip all guides. The exception being in situations like bluewater fishing when the deck hands work only for tips. However, in a marketplace where half the guides are just guys that have fished for a few years and have a pretty big egos or just some punk kid that has figured out out to row, it goes a long way to tip those guides that know the waters and work their tail off to get you into fish.
     
  5. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    I guess I don’t get it. But I think I will get my guide license and charge $250 with “no tips required” and show them your favorite sea run cutthroat beaches! :D
     
  6. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    Sloan,

    I get your point. Although I'm not sure about the "same breath" part. If I was even considering hiring a guide I wouldn't consider just anyone. I'd research him/her extensively before plucking down $350-$400+ for a day of fishing. Rolling the dice on a "kid" or egomaniac with a few years experience would be a nightmare and probably a waste of time and money. Over the years the old adage still rings true: You get what you pay for. Rather than hiring a guide and fishing public waters with everyone else, I've found it best to pay to fish "private" waters. The fishing is always better, not crowded and to boot, costs less than hiring a guide.

    I must have missed it, but has anyone here posted that they have gone with a guide and not tipped them? The few people I fish with that use guides several time per year all told me they generally tip between $25-$50 and don't know of anyone in their fly fishing clubs who don't tip. What says the group?

    Steve
     
  7. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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  8. Sloan Craven

    Sloan Craven Active Member

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    It was a joke, referring to the fact that you mentioned that you don't use guides and believe it takes away from the spirit of the sport, then discuss the proper etiquette of tipping guides.
    Just a joke, only a joke.
    And I've not tipped. But I think if he thought he deserved a tip it was made up in all the the food and drink of mine that he helped himself to.
     
  9. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    Ok, I get it now. I'm just a lil' slow (product of public education). Not that I care to book a guide, but if I did I would tip proportionate to the level of service received/perceived. Call me a conformist if you will. When you plop down $350+ for a trip, what's another $40 or so if it makes someone's life a lil' better? I have nothing against guides earning a living. I just get more out of the whole planning/logistical part of the fishing trip. Having a plan/trip come together and actually catching fish is the icing on the cake for me.

    I do agree with you that the guy eating your food and drinking your drink probably did not deserve a tip. Neither would a guide who showed up late then made me pay for his breakfast and the launch fee. I've heard of a guide who behaved in such a manner.

    Steve
     
  10. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Randal,

    I thought I was finished in this thread, but you motivate me to keep writing. Uh-huh, I'm a cheapskate who tips wait staff, cab drivers, housekeeping some places, and even fishing guides, altho no logical reason has been established for doing so, when comparing that occupation with other service industry occupations and relative pay scales. BTW, I've never taught school, altho I have taught fly casting and maybe some steelhead fishing in a mentorship way. To have forgotten more about the game than I will ever know isn't saying much unfortunately. Trout fishing is a sideline in my fly fishing hobby. Altho I did a brief stint as a guide mainly for the change of pace, it was also to help a friend who was outfitting multi-day steelhead float trips. Altho I wasn't a professional guide of long experience, I was well qualified for the task as I'd done it numerous times on my own and with friends.

    Of course I have no idea about the relationships you have with your clients. I don't need or really care to know. I was focusing on Bill Dodd's post and his relationship with his guide. It read odd to me, too much like the relationship turned on the exchange of money, which is precisely why I went extreme and used the hooker analogy, since those relationships typically exist only on the basis of money being exchanged. I said what I did because Mr. Dodd's description didn't come across that way at all to me. So I took some entertainment liberty, literary license if you will, to point that out. I agree completely that mutual respect is the sound basis for a friendship type relationship. Sharing bourbon can easily be a part of that relationship. However the dead presidents aren't shared; that's a one-way street from client to guide - legal tender for services provided. Nothing wrong with that, but the exchange of money generally denotes a business relationship moreso than a friendship.

    Lastly, as some point out, I sure hope you aren't the Randal who owns Blue Skies guide service because as PT so aptly points out, it's a lot harder to establish a good business reputation than it is to hurt it. That post probably didn't win any new friends for Blue Skies.

    OK, so lastly again, I have no where in this thread advocated not tipping fishing guides. I've even indicated that I have tipped the guides that I hired. I participate in these threads because I'm personally curious how other people think about the subject. Except for noting that tipping is considered customary, not one person has offered up any other rational reason, since guides are not nearly as low paid as wait staff, and many are independent businessmen. But this thread contains a panoply of emotional reasons for tipping guides, and the emotions have run pretty strong at times. Keeping emotions in check can be a good thing. No guide service ought to be harmed by a marginally relevant internet thread.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  11. snarlac

    snarlac Member

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    well - I don't get it at all:

    The way I see it - especially if there's a drift boat thrown in there, with shuttle cars and so forth, and the guy's time and (for some guides, not all) considerable experience and knowledge; $350 (sometimes for up to 2 anglers) is not a whole lot of money for a day's fishing. Either these guys are doing it for occasional fun, or for tips. If there is an expectation for tips - I for one - am not offended by the snarky request in the form of "make sure you tip your guide" remarks on some websites, and even advertisements and preparation lists for trips.

    What I am offended by, is calling it a tip in the first place. A tip is not for "good" service, and is not "customary", or "expected". It is for exceptional service, and it is entirely discretionary. So what's exceptional? that's up to you to decide, not this forum. But one example is telling. Another website had a guide participate - who - in addition to boasting about the number of fish he always catches and hawking for clients, remarked about the insistence of a client wanting to do only dry-fly fishing on this home river of his. He proclaimed his dismay about this - apparently not familiar with anything other than soaking san juan worms and prince nymphs, ergo, unfamiliar with jack. Yet many client's don't know jack either, so they wouldn't know the difference and would shower this guy with tips.


    This "always" tip thing is a US custom that contorts the meaning of the term - if guides undercharge with an expectation of a tip, it is basically amounts to them working as a volunteer, for fun, or at a loss - and you are simply being made to feel guilty.
     
  12. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    This right here was an opportunity for me to sit in the front seat with my friend and enjoy a day of being told where to cast. Not on the fly but fishing is fishing. I think it was about 11 or 12 fish to the boat and the guide is a class act. You can call it working or you can call it guiding.. Whatever it is, it's a chance for me to enjoy a day in someone else's boat who knows what the heck he's doing and is worth every penny including a substantial tip.

    The first time I fished with him he knew by the end of the day that I'd saved for quite a while just be able to pay his base fee and he probably didn't expect any tip at all. After a couple years we built a relationship and I was in a financial position to tip him a bit and help his bottom line. This past year while fishing with him he found out I was in a pretty crappy business cycle and didn't expect a penny more than his base fee. Also lent me some gear and some knowledge to fish on our own in an area he knew we could walk into and have a good chance.

    It's a bit of give and take. If the plumber is working I'm looking the other way. A guide? I'm watching every knot he ties and slot he rows me down. Anyone care to row Hells Half Mile with me?
     
  13. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    I don't care how much you tip or your reasons behind it. I know what I'm going to do. There's a guide on S Andros who knows I don't have much to offer other than a good cast and maybe he gets a picture with a client holding a nice bonefish. Maybe next year I can throw a couple extra $ at him...
     
  14. g_smolt

    g_smolt Recreational User

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    Interesting thread, and sort of grotesque at the same time.

    I have tipped and not tipped, and been tipped and not been tipped.

    If the guide pilots the boat, hands me a store-bought sandwich, and doesn't do much else, that makes for a fee-simple day.

    If I come away from the trip with a better understanding of the game, or an insight or angle that I hadn't explored or considered, I tip.

    He didn't have to do that, but he did, and I show my appreciation in the universal language of cash.

    Anybody can row a boat and tie on flies. Some are decent teachers. Few can enlighten folks without giving away all the secrets of the profession.
     
  15. bubba700

    bubba700 New Member

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    A long but good read, Am friends with a few guides back home and its funny to hear how they talk about tips, the ones that work their butts off always pull good tips, and the ones that lack in the profesional department are on the lacking side but the common thing between both groups...................... they appreciate what they get and they don't expect the tips.
    Tips are a personal thing you can't tell me as a guide that knowing that the tip was given sincerely dosn't play into it. I have a hard time believing that a guide is going to look down on a $10 tip from a guy that says he has always dreamed of a guided trip and has saved for a year to do it, he is throwing a 20 year old rod and you know that $10 is alot for that guy.

    To the comment that points out that they are off for periods of time well there are givens in each proffesion and we choose to accept them when we go into those fields. Lawyers go to court, construction trades slow down in the winter, and guides are going to be seasonal. Its their chosen profession am I supposed to feel bad for them because they made that choice to be a guide? I don't think so.