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tips on one for the books 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:10 am Reply with quote
neal m brown
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i recently finished my 14th peacock bass trip to the amazon-almost all of which have been fly fishing. the past 3 trips have been at the same lodge. i also do a regular yearly salmon trip and a bonefish trip in addition to scattered fishing trips to other locations for other species.

i thought i'd about seen or heard it all, but this one's a doozy.
while i guess i should be a bit more conscious of the tipping policies at lodges, it has always been my practice to tip the guides a bit extra when they land me on big fish.

so last year when i caught the largest fish at the lodge that week and had a very good overall week for big fish, i tipped the guides-as well as all the other service people.afterwards, i was "advised" that the policy is to tip "management" who will distribute the "tip", but if i want to tip the guides in addition to the "management" distribution "tip" , that's ok.

now this year, was a record breaker. right off the bat on my first day i had two big fish. so, i tipped the guide for his great efforts. by the end of the week i had caught 19 fish over 10 pounds including a 20 pounder-more big fish than the rest of the lodge combined for that week. of course, i tipped the guides
accordingly. at the end of the week, i also gave the "tip" to "management".

and that's when the malarkey began. "management" complained that "the guides talk" and when the word got out that i "tip", the guides made extra
efforts to get me on big fish. hey, isn't that how it's supposed to work? not according to "management" who demanded that i increase the already substantial "management" "tip" to make up for the amount tipped the guides-because they "reasoned", it wasn't fair to the non guides!!! "huh, what? are you serious" i asked. you betcha he was serious. so rather than argue with the "logic". i simply figured-hey, it was a memorable week--a couple of a couple of hundred extra for the experience-worth it. so i gave him the extra "management" "tip" that he was demanding.

EPILOGUE-they don't want me back because my tipping of the guides gives me an unfair advantage over the other guests who give their "tip" to "management"--yah sure.

imagine-banned from a fishing lodge for catching too many big fish----kind of makes me feel like one of those big las vegas high rollers who is banned from the casinos because he wins too much money------i love it-thought you may too.
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:23 am Reply with quote
CVaught
Guest
Hi Neal,

I have had some of the most awkward/frustrating moments on my early fishing trips from differences in tipping as well as misunderstanding by guides/management regarding them. After >20 years, I am still not sure what the correct approach is, as it seems to differ from outfit to outfit.

On one trip, I just happened to follow a rather wealthy fisherman that tipped $100 for every fish over 15 pounds. The first day we had spectacular fishing and at the end of the day I thanked my guide and was very excited about prospects the next day. Low and behold, the next day we go 5 minutes from the boat and sit in one lagoon all day long and I caught next to nothing. After a discussion that night, it turns out the guide was upset as I had not tipped him like the previous angler had after each big fish!

The thing that seems to work well for us, is to as a group (we normally have ~8 anglers together) have similar tipping practices as to "even the playing field" for what the guide does and let the fisherman be the deciding factor of the fish caught.

To each their own, as I have debated the "tip strategies" many a night on the Amazon over a cold one.

-Creighton
 
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:57 am Reply with quote
neal m brown
Guest
hi creighton,

with the exception of certain places in the amazon, in every other place i have ever fished, the customer always tips the guide directly-and as i said, i've fished all over the world for decades-north and south america, europe, and asia.

frankly, i have had my doubts about outfits, (particularly lodges) that demand that the tip go to management for their distribution. i was once on a trip where all the guides walked out when we got there because hey found out that management kept much of their tip from the week before.

from my experience, particularly this year and last, it's pretty obvious to me that the guides know how to get you on big fish, and they will make sure you do get on big fish, if they know you're a tipper. but one has to wonder about their incentive if they know that they're tip is more dependent on their boss than the customer and if they have no idea how much or even if the customer is going to leave a tip.
the policy of tipping management only benefits management and works against both the fisherman and the guides.

after this year's ridiculous "tip" farce, i will never again book with a lodge, boat or whatever where the tip goes to anyone other than the guides directly.
Blowing The Curve 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Larry Larsen
Executive Director
Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 608
Location: Lakeland, FL
I agree that the guide tip should go directly to the guide. I remember an outfitter (that has gone out of business thankfully) that collected all guide tips and reportedly held back half from the guides until the end of the season supposedly to ensure that they stayed with the operation for the whole season. According to many of those guides, the outfitter never did give them the "Held back" tips at the end of the season. Consequently, many many guides left him each year and went to work for more honest outfitters.

A big tipper though can also set the curve too high for the majority of anglers. I remember an avid trophy fish angler who was super rich and fished the Amazon more than any other person (even me). All the guides knew him very well because he spent 10 or 12 weeks in the jungle each year. He only seeked 20 pound plus fish and would even call in a float plane to pick him up after 2 days if he didn't believe there to be a fish that big where he was.

On his first day in camp, he would pull our his "Tipping Bonus Plan" and showed it to his guide. It read something like "20 pounds=$400 extra, 21 pounds=$750 extra, 22 pounds=$1,200 extra, etc increasing substantially up to about 28 pounds which would be worth many thousands extra (over a standard tip)!

What this did was make the guides fight over him because every guide wanted to fish with him every day. It made all other guides upset because they didn't get to fish him (if the guides were not rotated). It also made all the other anglers upset because they didn't want to necessarily tip $4,000 or $5,000 extra for a 23 pounder (due to "peer presure") or more for a super giant. So everyone in camp, other than the angler and his guide, were in a poor mood.

But the guy did catch a lot of 20 pound fish as you might imagine. He had the money and didn't see why he should change his "Incentive Program". Some outfitters do rotate anglers and guides daily which does help a little to make this type of arrangement better for all guides. But for the anglers, the curve was definitely blown.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:15 pm Reply with quote
John Ducksbury
Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 26
Location: Sydney, Australia
I've only done 2 "camps" and I come from a 'non-tipping' culture so my opinion is maybe not that well informed.

Both camps were super easy. One camp - we rotated guides and fishing partners for the week. So when it came to the end of the week we pooled the cash and had the host pay it to the guides for us (Rather than try to remember who fished with who & which day, etc) I think a couple of guides got given a small bit extra (a couple of world records, and a couple of 20s) But nothing that would have offended anyone I hope.

The second camp we fished the same pairs/guides for the whole week and paid the guides direct, and this was equally harmless.

I do have to say - being a non-tipper who travels a bit I always check what the situation is try to cover it. And in this case, both agents were able to quickly lay out what I needed to cover.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:21 am Reply with quote
Wilson Cox
Joined: 06 Aug 2013
Posts: 18
Location: Duluth, GA
Unfortunately have been part of a couple of lively "discussions" about tipping. Probably could have been avoided if agent/host had provided "tip" guidelines prior to trip. Should be part of any providers pre-trip information. To me, tipping is a personal acknowledgement of how well someone has performed their job for your benefit. Not a mandatory charge. I experienced what John Ducksbury described on my two fishing trips to Australia in 2013 & 2014. "Non-tipping" culture was made clear prior to trip. Service, quality, & courtesy were outstanding. I was happy to privately hand out some "appreciation money" at the end to individuals that helped make both trips memorable. "Know before you go".
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:49 pm Reply with quote
neal m brown
Guest
i have to agree with larry. the tip should go directly to the guide. the management distribution rule is ripe for abuse.
i can't tell you how many horror stories i have heard since my original post, about camps-even the so called high end camps like the fly fishing one i stayed at- where there are serious issues about how much of the tip actually gets to the guides.

worst yet, from what
i've been told, tips are the only income that the guides and most other personnel receive. some lodges don't pay the guides or other personnel. they work for tips only.

pooling and tipping the guides directly at the end should circumvent the potential for abuse. however, a modest tip for getting you on big fish is not only appropriate, it is the norm in fishing. i tipped the 7 guides a total of $350 for the 19 fish i caught over 10lb in 7 days-less than an average of 20$ per fish or $50 per day average-hardly either an obnoxious or burdensome amount, especially when you're spending almost $6,000 for the lodge.

where i fished, they change guides each day. but the guides talk to each other. knowing that you give a modest tip for finding big fish provides the incentive for the guides
to bring you to the places that they know will get you on the big fish.


while the "know before you go" policy sounds good, in my situation the policy was for a management pooled tip, and you could also tip an additional amount to the guides (or anyone else) directly. i was the only person who did both-and i tipped the pool in the amount "recommended" by management. the small amount i tipped directly to the guides resulted in more fish than everyone else in camp combined. management upset because (1) it did not get all my tip money even though i complied with their so called "policy", and (2) the other guests, who did not like the management tip shakedown at the end of the trip, were doubly disturbed when they realized that my additional direct tipping was the main reason i caught more and bigger fish.

in my experience and from what others, including some in the business have told me, i am convinced that there is a direct correlation between how many chances you get for big fish and whether you tip the guides directly or not. the management pooled tip is (in my view) little more than an hidden charge-the full amount of which may or may not go to the workers at the lodge.
Re: Blowing The Curve 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:57 pm Reply with quote
John Ducksbury
Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 26
Location: Sydney, Australia
Larry Larsen wrote:
I remember an avid trophy fish angler who was super rich and fished the Amazon more than any other person (even me). All the guides knew him very well because he spent 10 or 12 weeks in the jungle each year. He only seeked 20 pound plus fish and would even call in a float plane to pick him up after 2 days if he didn't believe there to be a fish that big where he was.


I just thought it was funny to come back to this.
Seems like your old pal was fishing with a few Aussie blokes last year Larry - he got a fleeting mention in a write up in one of our magazines.

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Must be a ghost! 
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Larry Larsen
Executive Director
Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 608
Location: Lakeland, FL
John,

It couldn't have been my old friend TO. He passed away 5 or 6 years ago it seems like. .... unless he went to "Heaven" and it turned out to be the Amazon for him!!!

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tips on one for the books 
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