Tips & Tricks

Why—and how much—you should tip your fishing guide

What’s the most important false impression in regards to the lifetime of a fishing information? It’s a query I’ve been requested, and have heard requested, numerous occasions. If I had to offer a solution, it will be that it’s simple. That it’s as easy and stress-free as merely taking somebody fishing. That the day begins and ends on the boat ramp.

Behind the veil of a full day’s guided journey, there are numerous hours of accrued fishing data and native data; years spent finding fish and finding out their habits and tendencies so as to nail down simply methods to get one to eat a hook; hours spent tying flies, constructing leaders, and sustaining gear; automobile and boat upkeep; time spent getting ready meals for lunches; drive time; hours spent driving a desk making journey and reserving strategies; conserving insurance coverage, promoting, and different enterprise operational mechanisms in tune; on-the-water instruction; and the immeasurable slew of choices that should be made nicely to maintain anglers on fish and having probably the most gratifying expertise doable. It’s, in any case, the service trade.

And since it’s the service trade, tipping is customary. Nonetheless, there may be nonetheless a very good little bit of confusion amongst anglers as to how, when, and why guides ought to be tipped. As of late, it’s usually accepted that an acceptable tip is roughly 20% of your journey value. For a full-day float (whether or not one or two anglers are within the boat), that sometimes works out to round $100. For offshore or pricier charters, it is perhaps extra, whereas for a walk-and-wade day on a small trout stream, it is perhaps a bit much less.

However, as an alternative of leaving you with my one-sided perspective, I’ve recruited the enter of a various assemblage of a number of the most revered guides from across the nation and requested them to share their ideas why, when and the way a lot you must tip your fishing information.


Brian Pitser—The Northern Angler

“Considered one of my most memorable ideas was early on in my information profession. I took a father and son out fishing and I might inform immediately that they had actually been saving for the journey, and we had a spectacular time. We created some nice recollections for these two to share, and on the finish of the day the store particular person requested in the event that they wish to go away a gratuity for the information service. This utterly caught them off guard, and it was apparently unplanned and doubtless out of their finances. The man reached into his pocket and gave me $17 for a full day journey. He shook my hand and thanked me with a most real smile, and guaranteed me that they had a beautiful day and that this was an expertise they may each keep in mind eternally. I thanked him genuinely for the gratuity, and with a little bit of a lump in my throat, I slid his hard-earned money into my pocket. I’m fairly certain it was their fuel or meals cash for the journey residence. To at the present time, it nonetheless ranks as some of the beneficiant ideas I’ve ever obtained.

Typically, your tip for a fishing information ought to be based mostly upon the overall expertise of the journey. There are days the place the fish will not cease biting and days that you just work as onerous as doable and catch nothing for the efforts. The quantity of gratuity ought to be based mostly on how the information controls all of the variables, not on the variety of fish caught. I consider that the majority guides value their salt would agree. As a information, I’ve the privilege of sharing very particular occasions with shoppers. My shoppers work onerous to make their cash and I work onerous to offer them the perfect total expertise in return. A typical information gratuity for our outfitting service is 15 to twenty%. That, roughly, has turn out to be a normal within the trade. Whatever the tip quantity, the hassle is identical on my half, and I’m extremely grateful for any gratuity on a day’s guided journey.”

Patrick Fulkrod—South Holston River Company

“Each time I journey to fish, I rent guides. I really feel my expectations of the information could also be greater than most. Nonetheless, being a information myself, I all the time tip. I’m not saying a tip is obligatory, however it’s a simple solution to acknowledge a job nicely carried out. I’ve this similar philosophy with the waitress on the restaurant, and the man driving the Uber. The quantity of tip can converse tremendously to the satisfaction of the visitor. I believe the information must really feel like he earned the tip. When I’m requested by a visitor in regards to the protocol on tipping, my motto is: ‘A tip isn’t anticipated, however all the time appreciated.’ Guides are filled with tacky one-liners so there’s one other so as to add to the record.”

Brian Porter—Far Out Fly Fishing

“Having labored in numerous bars and eating places through the years, I attempt to have a look at ideas as not anticipated, however all the time appreciated. That mentioned, its takes fairly poor service for me to tip lower than 20% for meals or drink.

Guided fishing journeys are a bit completely different, although, and because of the unpredictable nature of the game, it may be simple for folks to gauge the journey, and consequently the tip, based mostly on the ‘success’ of the day. Most folk who rent a information are hoping for a terrific day of catching, and so lots of occasions a very good tip is given when that occurs. What lots of them may not notice, nonetheless, is that the information’s job is rather more troublesome when circumstances are lower than superb. That’s once you actually earn your ideas. Success on a troublesome day normally means having to dig deep and work onerous to beat excessive water, unhealthy climate, uncooperative fish, or any of numerous different elements that make the sport of fishing what it’s. To me, having the ability to preserve prospects engaged, having enjoyable, and studying when fishing is gradual is an important talent set for a fishing information. Getting a extremely good tip for working your ass off on a troublesome day is all the time a terrific feeling. Any information value hiring goes to need their prospects to catch fish as a lot, if no more, than the purchasers do.

Early on in my guiding profession, I had a extremely powerful steelhead journey the place my man bought blanked and I felt horrible about it. After I bought residence, I spotted that he had left me the most important tip I had ever gotten at that time, and I used to be fairly certain that he’d miscounted. Already bummed in regards to the day, I turned tremendous fearful that I had taken an excessive amount of cash from this man, so after stressing about it for an hour or so I made a decision to name him and ensure. What began as an extremely awkward telephone name ended with him telling me he had actually loved the day, discovered lots, and that I had earned the tip. For sure, I went from bummed to elated in lower than a minute, and on prime of a terrific tip, that gentleman left me with a lesson I’ll always remember.

It’s simple for a information to be the hero when fishing is simple, and there is completely nothing mistaken with leaving a very good tip on these days to point out that you have loved it. No person needs to battle with nasty winds or excessive water or another troublesome circumstances, however these are the precise conditions that make guiding an occupation of expert labor, in addition to a service deserving of gratuity.”

Brian Shumaker—Susquehanna River Guides

“Tipping ought to by no means be anticipated, nor ought to it dictate the standard of service that the information offers on a visit. I’ve shoppers that haven’t tipped or tip little or no, however have fished with me for years and they’re nice shoppers, and I’ve shoppers that tip above and past. I believe it actually will depend on the background of the shoppers, so far as if or how a lot they tip.

The rationale for tipping guides: You possibly can have unhealthy climate, the fish do not need to cooperate, and so forth., but when the information does all the things that they’ll to offer a top quality expertise, then sure, I do consider they deserve a tip. In the event you catch an distinctive fish or fish, if you happen to be taught one thing new, or come away a greater angler (enhance your casting or method) it’s value tipping.”

Jason Shepard—Fly Times Charters

“I by no means point out ideas, however admire them. The payment for the constitution covers the journey—the boat put on and tear, fuel, gear (your rods, reels, and flies), data, license, the comfort to fish a brand new space, and having anyone stand on a ship and push or row you round all day.

Ideas, for my part, are for a way nicely the information carried out. Was he on time? Was he skilled? Did you catch fish or did they no less than put you on fish for alternatives for photographs? Did you be taught something new that day?

I really feel that individuals that bait fish and change to fly fishing and go on journeys usually don’t perceive how rather more goes into our aspect of the game. It’s lots more durable than sitting on a gap for hours, dropping bait, ready for a chew, after which going residence. We’re pushing or rowing boats, preventing currents or tides, looking and figuring out fish, and placing the shopper within the spot to get his shot.

Now, so far as the quantity of a tip, that’s up within the air. More often than not, for a very good journey, it will likely be $100. That’s sort of customary. Tarpon journeys might be extra with a number of hook ups. There are days when it’s $0-$50, although they caught a number of fish with a ton of labor by you. Nonetheless, there are days the place all the things simply isn’t there working proper—no fish, unhealthy climate, mistaken space, and so-on. If I haven’t carried out my job or carried out as knowledgeable information, I flip down the tip. That mentioned, it’s necessary to not punish the information with no tip or unhealthy critiques for not catching fish when she or he put you on all of them day. It’s our job to provide the alternative to catch the species you’re chasing.

The underside line is that this: if you happen to loved your day and had alternatives at fish, whether or not you caught something or not, your information ought to in all probability be rewarded for a job nicely carried out.”


Take into account these views the subsequent time you’re planning to take a guided journey, anyplace. Guiding fishing journeys isn’t a simple line of labor, and likelihood is, if you happen to rent a information, you admire their time and vitality. It’s necessary to comprehend that, on the finish of the day, you’re supporting an individual, similar to you’re once you spend cash with another small enterprise. So, if you happen to admire the expertise you will have—and even if you happen to don’t, however you perceive that the negatives had been outdoors of anybody’s contro—tip to help the information as a person, to maintain their lights on, and to maintain them in enterprise and on the water for subsequent time.

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