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Thread: Tip Your Guide x Posted

  1. #1
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Default Tip Your Guide x Posted

    I thought that it would be worth the time to post this particular thread for many different reasons.

    I'd like to remind and encourage those that are lurking these boards and planning a guided trip to be sure that you tip those that guide you whether it be climbing, hiking, fishing, hunting, or simply visiting our wonderful state.

    In lines on this particular topic specific to this forum, what do you believe would be appropriate to tip your guides? Do you expect that trophy fish? What if you don't catch any fish at all? Would you still tip your guide and what does that constitute? Good personality? Good hygiene? Positive attitude? Producing fish? All the above?

    I am always curious to know and up for the debate if this thread entails one.

    ...and one last thing. To whomever that particular lurker was that just so-happened to have my husband has a guide, thank you for your generous tip and if you ever make it up to our neck of Alaska, we'll cook you up some mean King Salmon!

    ~COtoAK
    Lurker.

  2. #2

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    would appreciate hearing the logic here. one tips "servant" types–waitresses, doormen, shoe-shine boys, etc. one doesn't tip "professionals"–lawyers, doctors, dentists, architects, etc.

    why would one tip a guide? are they not "professionals"?

    what is the rationale for tipping a guide?

  3. #3

    Default tipping a guide

    I used to be a firm believer in tipping guides. But I have come to the conclusion that most don't provide enough service to warrant a tip. I personally feel that I pay a guide to put me on the fish. If they can't at least put you on the fish they have no right to call themselves a guide. They must do everything in their power to allow a person to catch the fish species you are after. If not, no tip. They make enough money doing what they do. If they don't get tips it shouldn't change a thing. Being a guide shouldn't be about tips anyway. They are welcomed yes, but a guide has to be a unique. They have to love what they do and treat you accordingly. I have been on about a dozen fishing trips with guide here in southcentral alaska. I will have to say that only one of those trips had a guide that provided good customer service. That is sad to say, but all they want is your money for the least possible effort. I guess I should do my own part to change this, I have thought of becoming a guide for years now. With that said good luck fishing to all, take a kid fishing. Enjoy Ak, we only live once.

  4. #4
    Member JimJimmers's Avatar
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    Tipping is a personal decision. If you feel the service(s) performed are worth a few extra bucks, then go for it. (I typically give 15-20% for the guided trips I've been on.) I'm sure it's always appreciated and welcomed. However, no guide should ever EXPECT a tip...that's just rude.
    A tip is for someone who goes above and beyond.

    I've been on some guided trips where the captain paid very little attention to us and seldom gave us fresh bait (or checked to see if we even had bait left on our hooks). I have also been on some guided trips where the captain constantly kept us in fresh bait and moved to new locations.
    Who do you think I tipped?

  5. #5

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    interesting comments, but they don,t at all answer the question about why one should even consider tipping a guide for his or her services, even if the guide provides excellent service, which should be the rule, not the exception.

    should one then tip their physician for excellent service? one,s lawyer?

    one expects to tip a waiter or waitress but a guide? why?

  6. #6
    Member JimJimmers's Avatar
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    Gretchen-
    Do you tip the baristas at Stabucks? : )

    -JJ

  7. #7
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Interesting Post indeed

    Left / Right / Middle.

    This might be the wrong time to toss in my .2 cents however I will.

    First let me state that most guides work for someone else i.e. very few guides who are owners running most of the trips. That is not to say there is not a fair share just not the norm. When your paying lets say for a Grayling Gudied fishing trip and the owner of the boat is the guide and your tossing 250 at him yes he is making all the money and yes you have paid for the service and there should be a certain level of expectation for that money directly related to that service.

    Guides are not Doctors, nor Lawyers tossing those profession into the same mix as a fishing and or hunting guide IMO is a comparison that is not equal. Guides again IMO are service related.

    Here is what I tell people when I guide them. You have paid for a Service our pricing is set for the services and there is no Tip required or expected. If I meet or exceed your expectations please feel free to Tip however it is not a requirement and I promise I will not have my hand out looking for it.

    As a River Guide certain things are outside my control like the weather and water levels not to mention the amount of fish in the system. That being said the guide should have enough knowledge of the river to assist the Client i.e. that person who has a set expectation in making a sound judgement on to what his or hers expectations should be for that given day. A prime example of this would be last week on Monday! Smoken hot fishing 18 Kings caught in one day by 6 clients. On Tues the River came up and the fishing stunk! Sorry Sir and or Ma'am the river is up and the fishing will be tuff. I understand your expectations are to catch your King however based on current conditions fishing will be extremely slow would you like to reschedule your trip?

    Now looking at it from a consumers point of view. I have tipped my Furnace Repair guy, my Vehicle mechanic and my carpet installation dude when they have exceeded my expectations. I have also not tipped previous fishing guides as well as waitresses for lack of meeting my expectation for those things I thought should have been no brainers like changing baits / lures or stopping in to see if I need a refil on my drink.

    Sorry for the long read.

    Blue Moose

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I habe been a guide for the past 20 years. I have worked on charter boats on Lake Ontario as mate and guided for a high dollar lodge high in the arctic. I have never been the owner/guide just a lowly guide . That said guides who are employees such as myself get paid a set rate (varies according to outfit/location) that is pretty low when you consider what you are paying for the trip. I don't expect a tip, but I work my butt off to make sure the client has an awesome trip. I go above and beyond on a daily basis, wether it be making sure the customer is comfortable, has a fresh beverege in hand, popping out an unexpected snack tray etc. But my job entails a lot more than baby sitting the clients, it's my job to teach them the proper techniques for both fishing and fighting the fish we are after. I'm am also incharge of the safety of all the clients on board. Boat control, watching the weather, watching for other hazzards, knowing when to shut down a trip if the clients are being foolish, drunk or otherwise unsafe.
    Most clients think that all the guide does is drive the boat, change baits and net fish for them, they very rarely see the hidden things that guides do such as the safety aspects. Remeber experience counts for more than extra fish in the boat, it may save your life.

    Several years ago I was out with 2 clients on Great Bear Lake fishing for Lake Trout in one of our 17' Alumarine fishing boats. The weather was poor (strong onshore winds with 3 foot waves) We were fishing within sight of the lodge for obvious reasons. I was making trolling passes infront of a submerged reef that the waves were breaking on (and catching fish on each pass ) On one pass with my back to the incomming waves I heard the tell tale hiss of a large wave cresting, I turned in time to see a 6 to 8 foot rogue wave about to flip the boat and smash it on the reef.
    Instinctively I turned hard to starboard (into the wave) and pinned the throttle and rode over the wave.

    In this case if the Guide had not known what to do all three of us would likely have been in the 45 degree water and been in big trouble.

    When was the last time a Lawyer saved your life???

  9. #9
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Wink My 2 Cents

    This is indeed an interesting post, I guess my 2 cents consists of the following:

    First to answer why one would even consider tipping a guide, we must first examine why one tips anyone in the first place. Normally tipping in the standard sense requires 3 prime prerequisites, first to supplement payment for a service provided by someone with a very low paying hourly wage, second as a means of keeping someone on their toes in a tedious job, and lastly as a token of appreciation for exceptional service.

    We tip a waitress for service because they are paid very little and put up with a lot, if they can still be courteous and polite, not to mention quick, they have "earned" that little boost in pay that comes from a tip. Now I ask who would ever think of tipping a doctor? It is simply not done, their payscale is such that they can and do very well on their primary income, not so for the waitress or the valet parking attendant, they often depend upon tips for their monthly income. We are not just tipping "servants" but anyone who is rendering a service for which they are insufficiently reimbursed.

    On this note, the last time I checked,a guided fishing trip is reasonably costly, but the guides themselves are not making a tremendous amount of money, especially in the rather competitive market of Alaska sportfishing. A guides salary cannot even begin to be compared to that of a professional such as a lawyer, doctor, or engineer. Boats cost money to keep up, coast guard and state licensing costs money too, paying a receptionist wages,hiring deckhands, keeping the coolers full and the bait well stocked, keeping gas in the tank and the tents etc clean and new, it all costs money. The guides themselves are not raking in as much as we might think. I know this to be especially true of hunting guides, who tend to have a much smaller window of time for their services.

    Next, we should briefly note that an individual who thinks they just might be rewarded for exceptional service will pay close attention and be very alert to their paying customer's needs no matter how tedious or boring their job becomes. Take again the example of a waitress, who works long hours, with few breaks, doing the same thing over and over and over again. It becomes very tedious with time, and human nature is to settle into a routine that can be maintained with minimal effort, the possible reward of a tip however can keep a waitress alert to a glass running low, a patron who is ready to pay, or an order that came out wrong, despite the tedium of their job.

    In the case of a fishing guide, that possible reward will help keep them on their toes and giving 110% towards an excellent fishing trip. Too often we forget how much work, and tedious work at that, a guide performs. Every day they answer the same questions, do the same boat maintenance, take the same type of pictures, often they see the same old scenery, it is easy to slip into the bored and inattentive routine.

    Some might argue however that a guide should always be giving above and beyond, attentive regardless of if there is a chance of being rewarded or not. In response I ask how often does anyone actually pay close attention to what they are doing and what they see when they drive to work? Sure everyone (at least I hope) pays enough attention to make sure they don't hit someone or get hit, but I am talking about noticing things along the way, like the scuff marks and dent on the lamp post that is tell-tale evidence of someone hitting it the night before, or the new color paint on someones storefront along the way. Do you honestly see those things everyday? Or do you settle into your bored routine? There is no real difference between this and tedium of guiding, it is tough being 110% attentive and alert when somewhat bored from doing something highly repetetive.

    It was brought up in a previous post that we give tips to servants, never to professionals, I have 2 statements in response to this.
    First, I believe guides somewhere between well paid professionals and poorly paid servants. In clarification, I submit to you that guides are professionals whose primary role is that of a servant... everything revolves around their client, they clean up after you (cleaning the fish, sorting the tackle, washing the boat, maintaining the engines, etc.) they answer your questions, bait your hooks, untangle your lines, in some cases set up your tents, boat your fish and so much more. How can we call them anything but professional servants? Just because they are serving us should in no way mean that we do not respect them as the professionals that they are.

    Second, it should be noted that in the non-professional world, such moneys in excess of normal wages are indeed called tips, in the professional world they are called bonuses. Bonuses are paid by a given employer to a professional employee for exceptional performance. This is the case for Engineers, Nurses, Lawyers, and many other professional level employees. Now note; we as the customers are essentially in the position of the employer when it comes to hiring guides, while a Lawyer will normally be paid his bonus by his firm, or an engineer by theirs, a doctor or a nurse may recieve a bonus from their practice or supervising position.

    The moral? Tipping guides should not be out of the question, since they are not highly paid, they are not only professionals, but they are also servants, and giving a tip may keep them on their toes and giving 110% through both rain and shine no matter how bored they become. If the word "tip" bothers you, call it a bonus. If you really enjoyed your time with them and you feel they had a lot to do with it, let them know and show your appreciation.

    I should conclude with while I have never been on a guided trip, nor been a professional guide, I have met enough and seen enough while on the water that I feel I can speak with reasonable conviction on the topic while remaining in the position of an independent 3rd party.

  10. #10
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Default Wow, I type slow

    Wow, in the time I typed my 2 cents, 3 new posts arrived. I would like to say a big thanks to BlueMoose and Drifter, they are right on the money and I wish I could copy and paste some of their job descriptions into my previous post, suffice to say it was a good deal of what I wanted to convey. Watching out for clients safety is a big one on that.

  11. #11
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    It would be a cold day in hell before I ever paid a charter fee and then gave the owner a tip in addition to what they charged me.

    The entire sporting industry has gone nuts with trying to wrestle more money out of potential clients.

    I also dont tip when we charter aircraft. Being a repeat customer on a fishing, hunting, or aircraft charter is tip enough.
    Tennessee

  12. #12

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    good answers. i have pondered the question of tipping guides ever since hearing a kenai river guide and member of kenai river professional guide association describe guiding as a "profession." i have no problem with a guides describing themselves as professional guides. after all, anyone who does something for money does it professionally. i don,t, on the other hand, regard guiding as a profession.

    just because someone does something professionally–that is, to make money from the endeavor–is not to say what they do is a profession. while we may have professional waitresses or bartenders, that is not to say waiting tables or tending bar is a profession.

    a profession, by social definition, demands a very high degree of disciplined, academic education, the expectation of high ethical standards, and much more, all of which are exercised toward the betterment of human affairs and conditions. guiding hardly qualifies.

    i guess my position is that guiding is essentially a servant occupation, and, regardless of the occupation,s perceived economic status, society tips servants. it,s simply expected. it,s fundamentally a status thing. economic considerations are secondary.

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It all comes down to weather the service provided was exceptional, and you want to acknowledge that service with a tip, or not. I've been on boats that have a sign about tipping the deckhands, essentially saying the captain doesn't pay them squat and you are expected to subsidize that. In the 1/2 dozen or so halibut charters I've been on, I can think of two good examples of how to, and how not to run a charter. Both boats were 43' deltas, the whole boat had been chartered by a company in each case, one ran out of Homer, the other out of Seward.

    On the trip out of Homer the captain ended up putting is on 5 different spots before we got a good bite, and we kept catching and throwing back the little buts looking for decent ones. I don't recall a single big fish, but I do recall pulling up around 20 halibut, I lost count. I wished I'd hade more than $20 to tip the crew, they worked hard and made for a great trip.

    Conversley the Seward trip we motored to the outside of Montague, the water was nearly dead flat, we anchored up and they sat us on the same spot for almost the entire day. The bite never got hot, between the 16-18 or us there was maybe a dozen halibut, 4 ling cod, 1 yelloweye, and about a dozen silver salmon. The finally conceded that they should hit a chicken hole, so on the way back in we drifted over one, ended up hookign dogfish, and they said well thats the day. I don't think they recieved so much as a penny in a tip, and they certainly deserve one.

  14. #14
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Question The Fishermen are Friendlier... :D

    Wow, you guys. Thank you so much for responding. I didn't think that I was going to get really good posts out of this thread after reading on the hunting side.

    I'd like to say that it's hard work out there. After seeing and experiencing all that my husband does made me realize that this thread is worth posting.

    I just wondered, though, would someone like my husband have to produce a trophy fish, an interesting float, good food... or does he just have to smell nice (with repel bug dope)? Do you want him to filet your fish, pack it for you, send it down to the Lower 48?

    It's a good question, too. I'd like to believe that you should tip you guides. My husband has done and outstanding job in producing Kings in these last couple of weeks, but there was one group (and they are ODD members) where they didn't even catch a single thing while they were out there.

    Who knows. I would debate if necessary, but I just want feed back on if it's really necessary and what that would take?

  15. #15
    Member JimJimmers's Avatar
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    I've been on boats that have a sign about tipping the deckhands, essentially saying the captain doesn't pay them squat and you are expected to subsidize that.
    That's absolute bull****....If I ever saw a sign like that, not only would I refuse to pay the tip, but I'd call the owner out on the carpet and share my dissatisfaction for employing such a tacky maneuver.

    A sign like that, subtly lets the customer know that they do in fact expect a tip. Truly classless!
    Last edited by Brian M; 06-27-2008 at 14:30. Reason: language

  16. #16
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimJimmers View Post
    That's absolute bull****....If I ever saw a sign like that, not only would I refuse to pay the tip, but I'd call the owner out on the carpet and share my dissatisfaction for employing such a tacky maneuver.

    A sign like that, subtly lets the customer know that they do in fact expect a tip. Truly classless!

    Whoa whoa whoa.
    Play nice now.

    I agree with you that there is there is no class inside of doing something like that, but I want to affirm you too, JimJimmers, that there are outfitters that definitely work that way. Although my husband is not working for one that's like that, they are out there.

    Back to the topic.
    What would you expect if you were being guided? A trophy fish? A good experience?
    If you did tip, how much would that be?
    If you don't tip, would you expect the guide to be paid from the fee in which you paid?
    Last edited by Brian M; 06-27-2008 at 14:31. Reason: language in quote

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    I see tips as a way to motive a guide to provide better service. I don't tip according to results, but rather for effort and more imporantly, attitude.

    The biggest tip I have ever given was to a goose hunting guide. It was a "blue bird" day and we never even saw any birds all day. However, the guide was so personable and kept us entertained with great stories all day that I had a great time. He also gave us a nice demonstration of his very well trained dog. It wasn't his fault the weather didn't cooperate, but he managed to salvage the day.

    I have also been on several successful hunts and fishing trips where the guide was only going through the motions. Those guys recieved a modest tip. The experience would have to be less than what I expected for me to not tip at all. That has never happened.

    That being said, an exceptional fish/bird/whatever will usually earn the guide a nice tip, too.

  18. #18
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It has nothing to do with catching the biggest fish, limiting out, record bear etc. Sure there are a small percentage of clients that see the pictures of 100+# halibut hanging on the hook and expecting that as a typical day of fishing, or the bear hunter that will only be happy with an 8+' interior grizzly or 10+' coastal brown. And a select few are just misearable folks that can't be made happy no matter how good the guide.

    What makes a top guide is someone that has a true love for the outdoors, communicates that love by pointing out the various flaura, fauna, and just making the client have a great time no matter if the fish are biting or not, or if they spot the game they are persuing. That is the good guide that will make any trip a good one, and the client happy to tip them, because they had a great time, a unique experience and they learned something. Unfortunately those guides seem to be the exception to the rule.

    As opposed to the captain that says that's a good fish when you hook a 15# halibut, and it's clear his goal is get the boat to limit out as quickly as possible and back to the dock, and hopefully achieves that at the first spot he anchored up.

    Lots of folks work really hard to get the money for that guided fishing or hunting trip, and they expect a decent experience for their exenditure. Hearing well the guide works hard rings hollow when they aren't the only ones in the world that work for their living. If the two halibut you catch yield less meat then you could have purchased at the seafood store, and you didn't enjoy the experience getting them, you can understand many folks attitudes towards guides.

    Parting thought, if the outfit the guide works for isn't willing to pay them a decent wage, and the guide will only make it on tips, perhaps that guide should look for a different outfit. Nobody should work in a situation where they aren't being fairly compensated. It can be tough to just up and quit, but often times that leads to a better situation coming up.

  19. #19
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    If a "guide" provided different levels of service based upon expecting a larger tip then he would never get my business.
    On the other hand if they worked extremely hard for me they would get my repeat business. That is in itself is a wonderful "tip".
    Tennessee

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by COtoAK View Post
    Back to the topic.
    What would you expect if you were being guided? A trophy fish? A good experience?
    If you did tip, how much would that be? you don't tip, would you expect the guide to be paid from the fee in which you paid?
    can,t comment on that since i find the whole notion of guided hunting and fishing repulsive . . . an oxymoron if you will.

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