Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What is a Good tip?

The past couple of days I have tried hard to catch big fish and sucked. We caught fish. I am having a great fish dinner tonight because we caught fish. But I didn't catch the big guys.

Yes, that happens. Sometimes the big guys get away or don't bite. So I am at the dock this morning fuming because of missed shots the day before. The crew on the dock are talking about how much a guide should get tipped. This really got me going!

A guide should get tipped whatever the customer wants to tip them! Then they start talking about mandatory gratuities. That's an oxymoron, there is nothing mandatory about a gratuity. A gratuity is a show of appreciation for what was attempted or accomplished. If you had a less than expected experience, don't tip! I would recommend buying the guide a beer if he is walking around talking to himself about how stupid it was to chase hero fish when he could have kicked butt inshore.

Fishing is fishing. I am one of the few I know that if you have a bad time I won't charge. Do I guarantee Fish? No, I guarantee you learn something and catch fish.

Like today. I have a crew that rented a boat from another boat rental company that I won't name. They had been fishing for three days and had not caught squat. The rock anchor on their boat has no chain and the line is tied direct to the top of the rock anchor. Rock anchors are trip anchors that can't trip if tied to the top. After borrowing some chain and a shackle I rig their anchor up so they can fish though with only 60 foot of line it is still a challenge.

After catching a few good fish in the morning until the current change into the wind, I started the tour of where to go if you have the right conditions. Yes, the bite sucked after the current change, so I spent most of the afternoon helping them plan their next day and showing them how to operate the boat. It wasn't that big a deal. The boat renter had a 27 foot twin engine and had never driven any boat over 23 or any twin engine boat. We spent an hour while the bite sucked learning how to turn and dock a twin engine boat.

We also spent time learning how to operate the GPS, how not to run aground, how to read the water, how to anchor and how to catch fish. So how much was the gratutiy? Exactly what it should be because it is what they felt was right.

There are no mandatory gratuities fishing. You tip how you feel you should. Are there guide lines for tips? Yes, most say 15 to 20% of the service charged is normal. I tend to get more than that but maybe I offer more and ask less.

On the Fishing 101 trips, come with the attitude to learn and have fun. Whatever you tip is fine. I have never told anyone other wise.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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