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Like sean said, I have fished charters all over. I've paid a lot more than $800 on some trips, and feel a $50 tip is minimal.  NY charter captains deserve more than $800 for a day trip. Especially on Ontario. He probably spent $200 of it or more on fuel for the boat. If your paying $800 for a charter, $50 tip to a good mate is minimal. Most guys would spend that on beer!

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Everyone on this site with a decent boat and decent gear who fish regularly, every weekend at least, know just how expensive it is. Captains arent over charging and earn every single penny! Break down your cost per trip recreationally including boat winterize, storing, slips, GAS, repairs, insurance, tackle and you will see its not a huge profit. Oh by the way they work 12 plus hours a day for you. Does anyone really think they charge too much? It costs 250 to 300 just to rent a boat....so for that again you get a captain, gear and oh by the way you catch fish....

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Again... I think a lot of this is due to my initial comment... I never said the going charter rate is too high... I simply said 800-1000 dollars should not be referred to as dirt cheap like another poster stated... and that if the mates pay was figured into the up front fee, it would be more fair for everyone (especially the mate).

A tip is a gift of generosity. It is not something that should be expected. Price a charter to include a mates pay, captains wage and all operating costs, even if it increases the up front cost. Easier for everyone.

Also would stop captains from saying (as has been alluded to in this thread already) "people who dont tip will receive bad service next time".

If you arent pricing your charter rate correctly, thats your fault not the clients. Time to establish a better business plan.

Another thing mentioned here...

Someone stated how charter captains have a limited time to make their money. Who chose to be in a seasonal business? Wasnt the client.

I grew up with a grandfather (who was basically my dad) and uncle that were guides. I have worked for guides. I have considered being a guide. I have several friends that are guides. Only one of them makes 100% of his income off guiding.

The rest all have jobs that fill the other season(s). Only reason the one is able to make 100% off it is he guides year round - ice fishing, open water fishing AND fall hunting.

Kind of like a landscaper I know. He didnt want to have to work in the winter so he went up on his lawn mowing prices. He got the winter off... but he got the summer off too as all his clients hired people with better prices.

You cant always have your cake and eat it too.

I know exactly what goes into chartering. Been there. There are days that suck and days that leave you smiling ear to ear. Its a job you have to love to do. If you dont love it, and are in it only for the money, your clients will know. They wont be back.

A good guide also doesnt necessarily have larger expenses than a bad guide. Good equipment is well kept equipment. Well kept equipment lasts many years. Depreciate items over their life span and fishing can be a relatively inexpensive journey.

I probably have 20 grand in rods, reels and tackle for the many fisheries I frequent. I certainly didnt buy all that stuff in one year... more like twenty years. And the cost lessens every year. You can only own so much stuff. At least that is what my wife tells me. :o

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I fish tuna once a year on a charter out of Long Beach Island N.J. It is an extremely expensive trip(3600.00) for an overnight trolling/ chunking. The captain makes it very clear that his mate does not get a paycheck and suggests that he be 'tipped' 20% of the fare. do the math, the 3600.00 trip really costs 4320.00! I resent having to pay for his laborers. In this situation, the mate is making 720.00 for 36 hours of work, ten of which are spent sleeping on the way out and back in. Granted were going 100 miles out in the ocean but come on. I think the captain should pay his help a fair share and not depend on the clients to pay his salary.

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Justtracytrolling, I was not referring to your post. Someone else made the comment that if you are paying less than 800 its dirt cheap and so you should add 200 in tips. That could mean a 800-1000 day of trolling on Lake O. Yes, the fishing can be great, but that is not "dirt cheap". Thats all I was getting at with that statement.

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Actually justtracytrolling, for your 500-800 bucks, in most cases, the Captain & mate catch the fish, the client reels them in.

 

 

 If the only way I could fish for LO Sal & trout was to hire a charter and do the above, I would choose my times & chuck Clios off the piers or trib.

 

I wonder if the IRS knows about this Tuna Capt & how he pays his help & if those "tips" are reported as income.

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I think its understood that the captain puts the boat on fish and sets up the trolling spread and drives the boat. That's how it is for my guests too. I thought that was the whole point. If I hired a charter I certainly hope the captain isnt counting on ME to catch the fish as you put it. If you can do it yourself dont hire a charter. Or hire a casting/jigging trip where you can think your catching the fish...its still the captain putting the boat on fish no matter how you look at it.

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What people need to understand about the charter business is how expensive it is to operate a charter business.  What Lake Ontario captains make is a drop in the bucket compared to what captains make in the salt.  What you get for the price of a Lake Ontario charter captain is a great deal.  Throwing the guy a tip should not even be questioned.  A day of fishing, fish cleaned and some good old stories from the years past is worth the investment if you ask me.  Go to the store and purchase the amount of fish you get from a charter and you spent most of what it cost for the trip.  I think last time I looked, wild caught salmon was around 14.99/lb. 

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If the charters are not making much money, why are they still in the business . 800 dollars is way too much money for a Lake Ontario charter. I take a charter out of Port Clinton Ohio and only pay 450.00 for an eight hour charter ,"and we tip the mate "

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In order for a captain to make a living, he has to work his a$$ off in the short season here on Lake Ontario.  After expenses, not a lot is left at the end of the day.  Doing double trips a day, working every day during the season are the only way to survive chartering.  They are under paid in my opinion. 

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I would agree with that. They are certainly under paid! And any argument about tipping a mate for making your day is just being cheap! Give him what hes worth, and don't quibble about it. You wouldn't think twice about spending 50 on beer! If you know the rules or the status of the situation, shame on you for ****ing! You knew the situation when you signed on. As far as the IRS, shame on you for even speaking like that. What a !!

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Wow!!!! Very emotional topic this has become. As an owner of a small business , I understand the Captains of a charter biz plight. Unfortunately the market is what determines the rates of a charter overall on average. Some Captains can command a higher rate than others because of their reputations they established others will get less for a boat ride they provide. As far as tipping is concerned I always give a tip but it's never based on fish caught. This too is based on my overall emotions of service provided. I've had good days fishing with some captains yet I would never set foot on their boat again nor recommend them to anybody. Their are captains that I would love to fish with again but are no longer in biz. Use common sense and do what you feel is fair. Even though life has no rule book for "fairness" .

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Let me preface this post by saying I fish lake O on my own boat and don't operate a charter business, however I am accutely aware of the costs involved in Chartering on Lake O.  

 

This is a rediculous topic. When you go out to eat you tip the waiter or waitress based upon service, if you feel you received good service, you provide a good tip.  To the construction company owner, jobsite, GET A CLUE DUDE, If you dont think $800 is a good deal for a full day of fishing on Lake Ontario then go out and do the following:

Go buy a $20,000 boat, spend another $10,000 - $15,000 to get it set up to fish Lake O, Drop $2-300 a trip on gas, Do not ever compare your fuel costs with that of a charter captain!, There is some science involved, moving a vehicle through the water and moving a vehicle around on land are 2 very different things and its not close. pay the $1,000 to to keep your boat at the marina, dont forget about upkeep of all of the equipment and the vessel itself. The costs associated with getting and maintaining a coastguard certification. And they do all of this to provide you, jobsite, with an opportunity to go out and potentially catch the fish of your lifetime, so do them all a favor take your 3 buddies pony up the $200 a piece, and if your captain has a mate tip that person as well.  Or, jobsite, are you telling me that you cant afford $225 for a day of trophy fishing on one of the best inland bodies of water in our country. That is a you problem!!!!  

 

From an income standpoint, many of these Captains do this as a labor of love, they don't make a ton of money. Even though I don't take a charter often maybe once a year to try and learn new things, I don't feel anyone should complain about the cost, I think it is a fantastic value. Bottom Line is cheapskates are cheapskates! That will never change, not today, not tomorrow, not next week.

 

To the captians that I know thank you for what you do, you are often the leaders in the conservation of our great lakes, and you are too often criticized. 

 

And Jobsite, there is no rebuttal, don't try you will only look more foolish!!

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Plus these captains help ALL of us with their participation on this forum. Byoung62 is spot on! I just looked up Yankee Trollers rates...650 a day or 1000 for two days that isnt 800!! if anyone thinks this is too much check out what a rig like his runs, and what it costs to maintain. Plus there must be plenty of smaller charters that are cheaper. Bottom line is if you think its so much dont hire a charter. Just keep fishing off your boat, and dont add up what you spend on your boat!

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Byoung62, you apparently didnt read my posts thoroughly. I expressed several times that I didnt think the charter captains were pricing incorrectly or too steeply. All I said regarding price was in regards to 800-1000 dollars being called dirt cheap. As far as tipping, I stated several times that tipping should be based as a gratuity for good service and not "expected" whether the service was good or not. I have zero problems with tipping and tipping well. My statement was that tips should not be mandatory for the mate to get paid. That is unfair to the mate.

The reason I entered my pay for a day was as an example as why 800-1000 a day cannot be considered dirt cheap. I have far more expense into running my construction business than the items you listed... and yes, I have all the items you listed for boating also (minus the CG cert).

Not once did I say a charter captain should not or could not charge 1000 per trip. I simply replied to a post saying that price could not be considered dirt cheap. If the market allows it, by all means charge it.

I completely agree that the going rate of 350 to 500 for a charter on Lake O is low. Not once have I stated that dollar amount until now. My past posts that stated "not dirt cheap" were in regards to one specific post and the way it was worded. Yes, I completely agree that 500 for a trip on Lake O is inexpensive and well worth it. Heck, if I didnt have my own gear, I would pay that happily.

The only thing I specifically said regarding Lake O charter pricing was that it would be more fair to all involved if the prices included pay for the mate. And I even stated that the prices should go up to cover that. Doing that would ensure that the mate is paid a fair wage even if the clients didnt tip. I have been a mate. Even on trips with very well off clients, lots of fish caught and many laughs amongst crew and clients... some people just dont tip. Luckily I was on a boat that paid me a fair wage regardless if I was tipped or not.

The whole idea that a base price is given (say 500) and then the client finds out the day of the charter that another 200 is "expected" as tip to the mate and captain is not "up front pricing". Lots of people go on their "first ever" fishing charter every year. These people do not know ahead of time about this added expense. Most charter websites I have seen state the following - "tips are appreciated but not mandatory". That leaves people thinking the captain and mate are already receiving a wage. If it says "mate depends on tips as his/her wage", then that is a different story. But very rarely have I seen it stated that way. Lots of times, charters are booked over the phone and there is no discussion about tips.

Wouldnt it just be easier to raise the rate 100 or 200 and state "unlike other charters, we have no hidden fees"? Haha. Eventually everyone would swap over to that system... all mates would be paid regardless of client opinion - and they would receive a tip "in addition" to their pay. Tip: a bonus... a gratuity.

Yes, restaurants have tipping to waitstaff as well... but that system fails in most regards as well. A good majority of restaurants now require wait staff to "pool" their tips at the end of the night and split them. And its not uncommon for a portion of the tips to have to go to the cook, bus boy and host/hostess. How fair is that? One person may bust their butt making sure their tables are well served... another waitperson just skates by with the bare minimum service and yet in the end they get the same split of the tips. Plus their base pay is far lower than the bus boy, cook or host... Too many people "expecting" to get their fingers in those tips. Plain and simple, tips should be a bonus paid directly to the person providing service. I know this is way different than charters... but just providing another example of tips not being a fair form of income.

I would much rather pay a charter a flat rate of 600 (knowing the mate was making a wage) and then tipping an additional 100 or more based solely on service, attitude and overall experience, than to pay 400 and be expected to pay a "tip" of 200 at the end, whether I enjoyed myself or not. Option A cost me 100-200 more, but would leave me with a much better impression.

Not once did I say charter captains were charging too much. Go back and read my posts. If it came across that way, I am sorry. I tried to reiterate several times that this was not what I was saying. My comments that seem to have wound a few of you up were comments made in reply to ONE post and the way it was worded. Take a deep breath... realize I have no negative feelings and meant no ill will... and have a great day. :)

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I want to give all the captains a gold star. You have to be a special kind of person to do it. You have to have the knowhow to fish the lake through all its ups and downs. You work in a high service field. You put up with the bad ones(you know what i mean). Worst of all, people are touching your gear all day. That would drive me crazy. Take a charter...Tip the man...

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I wish there was a way to simply "like" some of these posts!

Thank you to those who support us captains and mates.

Brian...Gambler....has summed up the challenges for this business the best.

As for other posts ...... A few of them the ignorance was only exceeded by verbosity.

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I wish there was a way to simply "like" some of these posts!

Thank you to those who support us captains and mates.

Brian...Gambler....has summed up the challenges for this business the best.

As for other posts ...... A few of them the ignorance was only exceeded by verbosity.

The challenges as a captain are what kept me from being a captain.    If I did not have the job I have, I might have ended up chartering.  I give any captain a lot of credit.  As for the true full time guys, I give you even more credit.  Not the easiest way to make a living. 

 

I have no problem staying a rec fishermen and fishing a couple tournies here and there.  Makes life a little easier!  Anyone that has an issue with the prices of a charter, or tipping, try first mating on a boat or getting your license and seeing first hand what captains deal with every day! 

 

Edited by GAMBLER
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