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May 21, 2008

The Guide Confessional

By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

The Fly Fish Chick caught it, and in doing so, called me out ... "I root for both fish and anglers."

It's true. I do. There are many times when, under my breath, I'm rooting for the fish after that hook-up. I'll admit, when I'm guiding a type-A, know-it-all, he may just happen to find himself hoofing lead across a heavy current into a 30-m.p.h. headwind. And we may or may not get a good shot at that 24-inch rainbow that lives in a spot I know more intimately than my own underwear drawer.

Conversely, those who "get it," get the VIP treatment. Am I going to guide Purgatory for this?

I want to hear your river confessions. Tell us, truthfully, have you ever held out ... put "Jimmy the Jerk" in a bad run on purpose? C'mon ... have you said, as he/she reels in that tail-hooked rainbow, "It ate it, and must have rolled over on the other fly?" When's the last time you cut someone off?

Your flyfishing soul is at stake, and Fly Talk is the path to absolution.

Deeter

Comments (11)

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from Alabame Flygirl wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Luckily, we have always had friendly, helpful guides when we have fished with one. We always tip and probably would even if we didn't have that great of an experience. Last year, we were fishing trophy waters in N Georgia and I had on a huge rainbow that was way bigger than anything I had ever caught. Our guide was using a new net and not used to it. He ended up getting tangled up with the fish and it got loose. It was a great experience even though we didn't land it. I have a great story of the "big one that got away"...it gets better every time I tell it! He felt really bad and did not charge us for flies that day. He still got a tip and we will fish with him again!

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from KD wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Halfastfisherman -My answer (and others can chime in if they disagree) is simple:Start with 15% as the baseline. But how hard a guide works, what a guide teaches, and how enjoyable the day is what determines the tip. Someone who just nets fish and adds little else ... EVEN IF he/she puts you on 40 fish, is to be tipped less than the guy/gal who busts their butt, adds to the experience, keeps you safe, and most importantly teaches you something you didn't know. The number of fish in the net should matter zip.My #1 meter of a guide: teach me something I do not know. That's different than demonstrating to me how much better than me you are. Teach me. If you don't learn at least one great lesson or insight on a guide trip you paid for, you got ripped off.

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from halfastfisherman wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

What do guides considered proper tipping etiquette? Pretty sure everyone understands that in a restaurant you should tip fifteen to twenty percent of the total. While in college my sister in law worked as a bar tender in a top-notch club – she expected a dollar or two for every drink. Then take into account a limo driver; the faster he gets your bags loaded and gets you to the airport, the bigger the tip. So what do you base a guide’s tip on – percentage of the total bill, number of fish he gets you on, swiftness with which he gets you hooked up, or a combination of all three?

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from scott g wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

thanks, for gettin my back KD!!! that was kind a brutal kick to the teeth for no good reason.... a smile as a tip??? ummmmmmmmmm OK...... I have had alot of newbies in the boat on their first trip, who cant cast well, dont have the first clue on mending or how to fish a fly, but they are like sponges, eager to learn. by the end of the day they can cast well enough to get into fish. do they smile? hell yes, do they tip? some do, and some who are new to the sport on their first trip dont, they dont know what is proper protocol. That doesnt bug me one bit.I have several regulars who based on principal dont tip, thats fine. they get the 9 to 5 treatment, no extras, no above and beyond the call of duty benefits. do I still work my ass off for them? Of course.the situation that is frustrating is the guy/gal in the boat who talks all day about the exotic locations they have visited, fish they have caught and after a 10 hour day on the water to make sure they had every chance to catch that fish of a lifetime, a small amouunt of cash is exchanged along with the aformentioned smile....If you think that paying for the services of a guide as well as including a tip is to expensive then maybe you can't afford to take the trip and you need a better paying salaried job.......love to say more but gotta go tie flies for tomorrow's trip to replenish what was lost today....

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from KD wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Peeet, you hit an important point. A REALLY good guide is a total open book, because he/she doesn't have to count on the secret spot or the magic bug. If you're that good, you spill the beans, and the karma always comes back on you. (Trapper's my buddy ... always been really cool to me).Wablo -- Dude, your "get a salary job comment" reflects exactly the 'tude I'm talking about. After you've burned through 2 dozen of the guide's flies, burned his/her gas, if he/she has busted all day and put up with your crap, you need to tip. It's like going to a restaurant, and if you don't want cold food, or worse, understand the way the game works and play it. I can assure you that no guide is getting filthy rich at this game.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Peeet wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

I'm usually the guy on the bank you're floating by on most rivers but occasionally I do pay for a float. If I ask if you're having any luck as you float by, some good info would be nice for I can see the name of your shop on the side of your boat and might want to hire you someday. When floating with friends and the role is reversed I'm not shy sharing the wealth if I'm having any.While we're there, I know of one shop in the Silverthorne, CO area that is pretty much full of attitude. Should one expect good advice and fly suggestions even if you're not hiring a guide for the day? Sorry Trapper, I almost dread walking in your shop.

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

I work in a shop and confess to screening those I give info to depending on their overall demeanor and level of "Hot $hit, know it all" attitude. My favorite is when a customer walks in the shop and asks your advice on something then blows you off like you don't even know what you're talking about. Even if you gave them the location of a honey hole top secret spot set up with the killer fly they still wouldn't listen because they're $hit don't stink...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wablo wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

people give bad tips to bad guides, who cares if they tip a lot, they already payed and arm and a leg for your service. The tip should be the smile on their face at the end of the trip and if you deserved a tip then you should get one. Maybe get a job where you can earn a salary and don't have to worry about tips.

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from scott g wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

bad tippers get no love!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan V wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

I hate people who can't take a hint to move, when they're blocking all other anglers by cross-casting. So other anglers have to wait til they leave or reel in and then cast fast.Oh and spin fisherman who come to my water(Yeah I call it my water, I fish it more than ANYONE)when they stock it and try to take over the limit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnny wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Dude, that's cold.

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Post a Comment

from Alabame Flygirl wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Luckily, we have always had friendly, helpful guides when we have fished with one. We always tip and probably would even if we didn't have that great of an experience. Last year, we were fishing trophy waters in N Georgia and I had on a huge rainbow that was way bigger than anything I had ever caught. Our guide was using a new net and not used to it. He ended up getting tangled up with the fish and it got loose. It was a great experience even though we didn't land it. I have a great story of the "big one that got away"...it gets better every time I tell it! He felt really bad and did not charge us for flies that day. He still got a tip and we will fish with him again!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KD wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Halfastfisherman -My answer (and others can chime in if they disagree) is simple:Start with 15% as the baseline. But how hard a guide works, what a guide teaches, and how enjoyable the day is what determines the tip. Someone who just nets fish and adds little else ... EVEN IF he/she puts you on 40 fish, is to be tipped less than the guy/gal who busts their butt, adds to the experience, keeps you safe, and most importantly teaches you something you didn't know. The number of fish in the net should matter zip.My #1 meter of a guide: teach me something I do not know. That's different than demonstrating to me how much better than me you are. Teach me. If you don't learn at least one great lesson or insight on a guide trip you paid for, you got ripped off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from halfastfisherman wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

What do guides considered proper tipping etiquette? Pretty sure everyone understands that in a restaurant you should tip fifteen to twenty percent of the total. While in college my sister in law worked as a bar tender in a top-notch club – she expected a dollar or two for every drink. Then take into account a limo driver; the faster he gets your bags loaded and gets you to the airport, the bigger the tip. So what do you base a guide’s tip on – percentage of the total bill, number of fish he gets you on, swiftness with which he gets you hooked up, or a combination of all three?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scott g wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

thanks, for gettin my back KD!!! that was kind a brutal kick to the teeth for no good reason.... a smile as a tip??? ummmmmmmmmm OK...... I have had alot of newbies in the boat on their first trip, who cant cast well, dont have the first clue on mending or how to fish a fly, but they are like sponges, eager to learn. by the end of the day they can cast well enough to get into fish. do they smile? hell yes, do they tip? some do, and some who are new to the sport on their first trip dont, they dont know what is proper protocol. That doesnt bug me one bit.I have several regulars who based on principal dont tip, thats fine. they get the 9 to 5 treatment, no extras, no above and beyond the call of duty benefits. do I still work my ass off for them? Of course.the situation that is frustrating is the guy/gal in the boat who talks all day about the exotic locations they have visited, fish they have caught and after a 10 hour day on the water to make sure they had every chance to catch that fish of a lifetime, a small amouunt of cash is exchanged along with the aformentioned smile....If you think that paying for the services of a guide as well as including a tip is to expensive then maybe you can't afford to take the trip and you need a better paying salaried job.......love to say more but gotta go tie flies for tomorrow's trip to replenish what was lost today....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KD wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Peeet, you hit an important point. A REALLY good guide is a total open book, because he/she doesn't have to count on the secret spot or the magic bug. If you're that good, you spill the beans, and the karma always comes back on you. (Trapper's my buddy ... always been really cool to me).Wablo -- Dude, your "get a salary job comment" reflects exactly the 'tude I'm talking about. After you've burned through 2 dozen of the guide's flies, burned his/her gas, if he/she has busted all day and put up with your crap, you need to tip. It's like going to a restaurant, and if you don't want cold food, or worse, understand the way the game works and play it. I can assure you that no guide is getting filthy rich at this game.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Peeet wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

I'm usually the guy on the bank you're floating by on most rivers but occasionally I do pay for a float. If I ask if you're having any luck as you float by, some good info would be nice for I can see the name of your shop on the side of your boat and might want to hire you someday. When floating with friends and the role is reversed I'm not shy sharing the wealth if I'm having any.While we're there, I know of one shop in the Silverthorne, CO area that is pretty much full of attitude. Should one expect good advice and fly suggestions even if you're not hiring a guide for the day? Sorry Trapper, I almost dread walking in your shop.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Visitor wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

I work in a shop and confess to screening those I give info to depending on their overall demeanor and level of "Hot $hit, know it all" attitude. My favorite is when a customer walks in the shop and asks your advice on something then blows you off like you don't even know what you're talking about. Even if you gave them the location of a honey hole top secret spot set up with the killer fly they still wouldn't listen because they're $hit don't stink...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wablo wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

people give bad tips to bad guides, who cares if they tip a lot, they already payed and arm and a leg for your service. The tip should be the smile on their face at the end of the trip and if you deserved a tip then you should get one. Maybe get a job where you can earn a salary and don't have to worry about tips.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scott g wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

bad tippers get no love!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan V wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

I hate people who can't take a hint to move, when they're blocking all other anglers by cross-casting. So other anglers have to wait til they leave or reel in and then cast fast.Oh and spin fisherman who come to my water(Yeah I call it my water, I fish it more than ANYONE)when they stock it and try to take over the limit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnny wrote 5 years 47 weeks ago

Dude, that's cold.

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