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Why tip a Charter Captain?


Todd in NY

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A waitress serves your food and refills your drinks and she/he expects a 15% tip or more.

 

A charter captain trolls for salmon and trout in varying conditions for up to 8 hours, trying different lures, depths and setups, and basically works tirelessly to get you a limit of fish in an environment completely out of his control, when the odds are usually against him. So I believe that kind of hard work deserves at least a 15% tip.

 

I am not a charter captain, I am not related to a charter captain, I don't work for a charter captain, and I am in no way associated with any charter service. I've only been on one charter where the fish were being caught in deeper water but the boat captain chose to stay in shallower water and catch only a few fish (gas prices were extremely high that year). The other charters I have been on were amazing. I've only caught my limit once, and it took more than 8 hours to do that, on a 6 hour trip, no salmon were biting, so we went after lake trout. The captain and I agreed before the trip that if the salmon weren't biting I would be ok with fishing for lakers. It paid off for me and the captain. He and his deck hand worked their butts off and I showed my appreciation with a great tip.

 

I am posting this because running a charter boat can be tough business, and I have talked to some customers who don't think a tip is needed because of the cost of the charter. Figure in the cost of equipment, fishing lures, tackle, fuel and boat maintenance and the cost of a charter trip makes a little more sense.

 

I hope all charter boat captains are earning their tips, and that the customers are taking notice on how hard the captain and deck hand are working to catch your fish.

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I never tip the owner of a business he has the ability to set his price. Employees thats another story. The only exception I make is my barber who puts all his quarters in a jar for his grandson I make a habit of having a couple of bucks in quarters for a tip I have on a few ocasions paid the entire cost of the haircut in quarters. I've gone to this barber for almost 40 years and he understands me. When he is done and holds up the mirrior to show the back I usually reply It's ok I've got a hat.

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The tip is for the deck hand not the captain

Not all Charters are created equal. Some pay way less and the whole tip goes to mate. My dad mates for me and I give him more money than 95% of other captains would, but he's my dad and does a ton of work on the boat. We split the tips and I would say that most boats split tips regardless of what the mates are paid. Right or wrong, its how its done. Most of the captains at the Genny don't have mates and still get tipped well.

silverfoxcharters.net

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I feel that your captains have gone through certification, put in their time aboard other Charters before obtaining their own license, also fronted the thousands of dollars for their rigs and keeping up to date equipment to be competative, not to mention insurance costs(liability) especially. You're actually paying that Professional not only to put you on fish, but  to ensure your safety throughout your outing. Yep, I'm going to tip him and tip him well....also his mate that is working his butt off too. My son and I hired a reputable charter back in the 90s. For the years after, this guy was giving us info and even took the time to show us how to rig cut bait. They are still in business today with their 2 lake boats, guide service, etc. Seasonal business, before the sun comes up long after the sun goes down. Thanks to them, you can get help out on the water. Water spout reports....the list goes on. Thank them for it! Respectfully, Steve..........  

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I will start this off by saying I'm not a captain. MOST charter captains will work their butts off to put fish in the boat ALL DAY. There are some that feel ok with putting an couple fish in the boat and setting the cruise control for the rest of the day. Take a trip with a couple different captains and you will see the difference. If the guys work their butts off, I feel they deserve a tip. If they sit back and do nothing, don't tip.

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I started going out on charters back in the 1990's in the Gulf of Mexico, out of Texas. None of those captains or deck hands owned their own boats, so we always tipped the captain, who in turn split it with the deck hand 50/50. Those salt water captains are dropping anchor over a rock or other structure, and many of these spots are saved in their private record books after decades of fishing out there. Those were always 12 hour trips because we had to go out 30 to 50 miles, depending on what we were fishing for.

 

Like some of you said, the tip is dictated by how hard they try to put fish in the box. I've been out enough times on the inland lakes in my own boat, marking fish like crazy, and can't get them to bite. 5 hours later, and multiple lure changes, etc and not a fish in the boat. So I think we all know the pain and frustration with seeing fish under the boat (on our fish finders) and not being able to get them to play.

 

I started this thread because all but one of my charter trips have been great. So hats off to you captains and deck hands who work your butts off to put fish on the boat!

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I totally agree with you guys on the Captains working hard for you, and not coasting after a few fish. Fortunately, back inn the day, when we were trying to choose a good charter, many good references came in about this certain one that we chose. Mexico Bay and North, you can't imagine the amount of Charter Fishing services that are available. Word of mouth is usually where the decision stops. Again, I was very fortunate. That trip my son and I took was back in 1996. We still talk about it today as if it happened yesterday. By the way, to defer costs, we offered seats for another Father and Son that couldn't afford one of their own. We had a blast, the 4 of us. Respectfully, Steve......

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On the heals of this topic. A couple of weeks ago I was doing a little Web Surfin. I did not see Genesee Charter Boat Association listed. Are they still there? Or did I miss something? Thanks, Steve............

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The other scenario is 2 charter boats and 2 captains that are business partners along with 2 first mates. Add drift boats in the mix and 2 families depending on income. Yep, they both work their azzes off for their clients. I watched these guys for years, At the dock 4am engines warming up, Diesel fuel in the air, getting rods set up, tackle. One would take off to the"Big Microwave" OZ, and the other towards Sandy Pond. They would cross talk and share info with each other and make decisions from there.They also include filleting of fish and wrapping it for you. You provide the cooler. These 2 guys and mates- great sense of humor along with years of experience on the Lake. They were there late at night, sometimes replacing broken rods due to some clown aboard grabbing it and thinking he was in the Bass-masters or something setting the hook so hard the tip of the rod hit the Hard Top on the boat and broke. The Captain doesn't expect the client to pay for it. Those rods are not cheap, are they Rick? Yep, don't tip, be a cheap skate, while loading fillets in your nice new truck, watching the Captain and Mate clean the blood and guts up, along with the cigarette butts that blew back in when you flicked them towards the water. The wrappers and food you brought along that fell to the floor. Yep, that's right, "Don't tip them, because, that's their Job!" and guess what? They will great you kindly next year, as the Professionals that they are, for your repeat performance! 'Nough said.! Respectfully, steve.............

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As I have stated previously on this forum on different posts, in the world of salt water charters, there is a standard 20% tip added to each charter for the mate. The captains display a placard on board which states "mates work solely for tips, they do not earn a salary". If you want to fish with a salt water charter, be prepared to shell out another 20%. That's a size able tip when you go on an off shore tuna trip which runs 3600 to 4000 dollars to begin with. Add another 7 or 8 hundred before you even leave the dock.

They all do it. No choice. Good service or not. It's all part of the deal..

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As I have stated previously on this forum on different posts, in the world of salt water charters, there is a standard 20% tip added to each charter for the mate. The captains display a placard on board which states "mates work solely for tips, they do not earn a salary". If you want to fish with a salt water charter, be prepared to shell out another 20%. That's a size able tip when you go on an off shore tuna trip which runs 3600 to 4000 dollars to begin with. Add another 7 or 8 hundred before you even leave the dock.

They all do it. No choice. Good service or not. It's all part of the deal..

 

That's way above the $800 it cost to charter a 6 pack boat where I was living. We caught tuna (out of shear luck being in the right place at the right time) and dorado dolphin and king mackerel along floating weed lines , but our primary target was red snapper, other snapper varieties, amber jack, the occasional grouper and the always accidental sharks that we kept, but didn't fish for. We even caught a sail fish once while trolling for king mackerel.

 

That was back in the early to mid 1990's when you could still keep 7 red snapper. I think the limit is just 2 per day now, which almost shut down the snapper fishery for the average recreational anglers.

Edited by Todd in NY
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Todd

We generally fish out of Long Beach Island NJ. The tuna grounds are anywhere from 85 to 130 nautical miles off shore depending on which of the canyons you run to. We also catch the Mahi, an occasional wahoo and have wrestled with some big sharks as well. These are usually 36 hour trips which raises the prices considerably.

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Creekrun,

 

That does raise the cost quite a bit. But it sounds like a great time. Wahoo are wicked fighters, as are tuna. I haven't fished salt water since the summer of 96. My Army career (now retired) kept me near fresh water fisheries ever since then, so now I stick to fresh water in NY.

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When I do muskie charters I do not have a 1st mate,I keep the boat on structure clean lines,instruct and net fish.This means a lot of fast moving to clear lines before the fish gets to the boat to net,usually all dome by me alone in 3 mph + current.Expenses are much less for me when fishing the Niagara River because it is a close drive to the river and boat gasoline will be minimal as long as I'm not running to the Buffalo Harbor & back,then $50 in gasoline out of $300 charter rate.But if I go to Chautauqua Lake and drive down and back pulling the boat and run from one end of the lake to the other I will use up $150 in gasoline,50% of the total charter cost.So I do not ask for a tip,but most clients do give me from $50 to $100 extra as tip.Just giving you an idea how it has worked for me over the years.

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If you are comfortable tipping a mate, then why wouldn't you tip a captain the same if he is running with a $3,000 autopilot and no mate considering he is doing his and the mates job? In regards to his price.... who was paying him when he was waxing that boat for you in march, or purchasing his wide load permit for $380 or spending his free weekends on the lake and burning fuel so he can be successful for you on your charter. Spend a year with a captain and you will see why after 17 years i retired. Consider all things. A $600.00 charter will never give him enough money to replace that boat when the time comes. He paid for it out of his pocket! I know!

Steve

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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A Captain chooses this profession. He likes what he does and the chores come with it no matter if he with client or alone.

The charter captains I know are well satisfied without tipping. They enjoy their business , if not then get out. If a charter captain travels. Longer distance to fish, then he should charge accordingly.

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If he charged accordingly noone would want to afford a charter. Ask any charter captain what percentage of the fee he is able to put towards his health insurance, and what percentage of the fee goes into his retirement account and what percentage of the fee he puts away towards his 15% SOCIAL SECURITY TAX AND 20% FEDERAL INCOME TAX and what percentage of the fee ends up profit? Everyone knows a true business must must cover those costs. And does he pay himself $12.00 an hour for his time and experience? Just saying add it all up if you are treating him like a formal business and you will find out he is working for nothing if all is considered. $600.00 won't go that far. Again i know from17 years of experience. I also have a full time business for 25 years. I know the ins and outs. He does it for the love of the sport and all his efforts don' t show to the common patron.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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