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lousy guide experience - advice?

Old 03-10-2009, 09:34 AM
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Default lousy guide experience - advice?

hi guys,

i fished out of the lower keys last week (friday - sunday) with my dad, 75, and a guide we had used multiple times in the past. i am frustrated with the outcome of the trip and would welcome some of your thoughts.

the fishing was tough - very windy and the temps were cooler than normal. i knew it was early season and the tarpon would not be around in numbers. the fishing was not great, but this has nothing at all to do with my frustration. we agreed to 2 full day charters and 1 half day charter on sunday. the 3 previous multiple day fishing trips had 8 hour days and 5 hour half day trips. friday came and our 8:30 meeting time turned into a 9:30 departure. i even helped him ready the boat, stow gear, pack coolers, etc. it was a late start, but i figured we would be compensated with the time at the end of the day. it was slow and windy - but very safe conditions. he stated that he "didn't want to get beat up any more" and headed in at 3. the next morning was supposed to start at 8, we left the dock at 8:30. same thing - we helped ready the gear to expedite the process and off we went. we were at the dock at 3:45. that was closer to a full day. sunday comes around and we were supposed to leave at 8 for a half day trip - guess what? he forgot it was daylight savings time and got there at 9. we were then in at 1 because we had to catch a flight. he made no apologies just said he forgot. during both day trips, there were times when the bite was slow and he started fishing. that meant that either dad or i went without a rod.

as i said, we fished with him in the past and, though a crusty person, he knows his stuff and always gave us out money's worth. i did not want to start a squabble because we stayed at his lodging and would be hard pressed to find a replacement charter. i voiced some of my concerns in a gentlemanly way on sunday but they were not heard.

in the end, he did not take any thing off for the shortened days, and acted as though nothing was wrong. i feel taken, but part of that is my fault as i did not want to start anything there with my dad present. he is 75 and i feel blessed to have the time with him. that was still the positive as we enjoyed each other as always.

so, i have waited a couple of days to cool down before sending an email to the guide. for the first time ever - i have taken a lot of guided trips, i did not leave a tip. that sounds obvious, but what now? chalk it up to experience? write him a letter?

honest advice is appreciated.

thanks,

charlie
Old 03-10-2009, 09:47 AM
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As far as the slow fishing thats why they call it fishing you can not do anything about that, as long as you feel that it was the bite being slow and him not taking you to a place closer in or saving money by not using bait...cutting corners things like that?

I would defiantly write him a letter!! Just make sure you are respectful and be a gentleman when writing it, cause you know if the letter is really chewing him out and being an ass you know he is just going to laugh and throw it away. If you do a nice job with the letter you never know you might get a little comp out of it? Good luck keep us updated!!

P.S. don't forget a bad day of fishing beats a good day of work
Old 03-10-2009, 09:49 AM
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You can't change the past.

In the future use someone else. (for sh*ts and giggles call him and try to book another trip...my guess is he remembers the "no tip" and will tell you he's booked solid until next year)

I would hire a guide that has more than two rods on the boat also.
Old 03-10-2009, 09:56 AM
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Last edited by KJS; 03-10-2009 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Double post
Old 03-10-2009, 09:57 AM
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Can't anyone talk to a man face to face anymore to discuss their beefs and work them out?;?
Old 03-10-2009, 10:07 AM
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Don't waste another minute thinking about it. Cherish the time you had with your Dad and move on. I DOUBT you would consider using this guide again, it sounds like you want to just get your frustration out and looks like you have. So don't even bother circling back to him. It won't matter to him either way.

I hear (and have experienced) this SAME thing time and time again about FL Keys guides and in their defense it's hard, draining work day in and day out especially when it's blowing and the fish ain't biting. But it's still not an excuse to shorten the day.
Old 03-10-2009, 10:16 AM
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I'd give him a call or write him a letter because you have used his services in the past and was satisfied. I'd also start the conversation or letter with that point so not to just jump on the guy from the start. Maybe the economy is hitting him hard and its affecting his service when he does have a paying customer. You might do him a service by letting him know how you feel and he might also make it up to you some how in the future.
Old 03-10-2009, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by KJS View Post
Can't anyone talk to a man face to face anymore to discuss their beefs and work them out?;?
I'll PM you with my e-mail address so we can discuss this point.

Old 03-10-2009, 10:38 AM
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There's an old saying: "If someone gives you poor service, tell him. If someone gives you great service, tell everyone". I think that applies here.
Old 03-10-2009, 11:03 AM
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If you do elect to contact him write an actual letter, not an email. It may get taken more seriously.
Old 03-10-2009, 11:44 AM
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thanks guys,

i appreciate what was written and the time you took to respond. to reiterate, my issue has nothing whatsoever to do with catching fish or not. on of the best guided trips i ever took was with a gentleman named chuck kashner in manchester, vt. i caught 1 fish that day and it was entirely due to his hard work with a newbie. regardless of the fish it was by and large the most informative, educational, and lasting fishing experiences i have ever had. i learned so much in 1 day of fishing with him that i applied to later fishing trips. this was time to be spent with my dad. that part was amazing. he is getting a bit older and time is tight with me (14 month old twins!) and i wanted to share this with him.

as per my original plan, i will draft a letter to him. i posed the question here today - after a day or two to cool down - to see if my qualms were warranted. as was stated, this is also a great way to release my frustration.



thanks and i will continue to check in to see what other thoughts may be.
Old 03-10-2009, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by charliep View Post
thanks guys,
my issue has nothing whatsoever to do with catching fish or not.
I would mention this in the beginning just to go ahead and remove any thought that you're just whining about not catching fish.

this was time to be spent with my dad. that part was amazing. he is getting a bit older and time is tight with me (14 month old twins!) and i wanted to share this with him.
Wouldn't hurt to mention this either.
Old 03-10-2009, 03:12 PM
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I'd just not use him anymore. Simple enough. Sending him aletter may do you some good, but it will likely fall on deaf ears on the other end.

Question, though: Why when he fished did that put you and your 'ol man out of a rod? Did he only have 2 rigs? That's enough to never go with him again, right there.
Old 03-10-2009, 03:22 PM
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I'd walk away happy that I was able to fish with my 75 yr. old Dad. Go with someone else next time, forget it.. Start some research from scratch.

My Dad is 75 next year and I can't get him to leave the dock with me. He sits in my boat talking about about how great it would be to go out on the water and when the time comes, he's too afraid for some reason...He taught me boating, fishing, everything I know, but age has stolen his sense of adventure....

Cherish the time and kudos to you for not making your Dad uncomfortable and getting into it with the guide (unless your Dad rips you a new one for not taking the guide to task).

Next time send some frat guys out with the guide, he'll be sure to thank you!

Good for you man..
Old 03-10-2009, 03:52 PM
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I think talking to him directly is a good idea, but only to let him know you weren't happy with certain aspects of your trip. Some people will listen, some won't. The worse that can happen is he'll get pissed, and you find another guide.

I wouldn't expect any type of refund, though. I think you did the right thing payment-wise.

As far as the fishing, if he did his best to put you on the particular species you were looking for, you can't blame him for a poor bite--or weather.

Last edited by davepen; 03-10-2009 at 03:55 PM.
Old 03-10-2009, 03:54 PM
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i guess i should clarify the rod issue. he fishes 3 live bait (pinfish/crab) rods, and has various lighter action spinning gear for casting or getting bait. we were drift fishing a shallow basin and i was picking up small jacks/lady fish/sea trout with spinning gear and a jig while dad was picking up a few fish with live bait. after one drift he took us into the mangroves because he "was tired of getting beaten up." this wouldn't have been my choice as we were getting fish, but i figured give it a shot. the target was mangrove snapper. he set bait on 2 light rods - had more available, but wouldn't bait them. so i set a few casts and he rigged up a second rod. i assumed it would go to my dad. nope. he went to the back of the boat and started fishing. i think he wanted dinner - no sarcasm, literally. he caught a few. i saw what was going on when the guide was casting so i gave my rod to dad voicing "here dad, you fish my rod." hell, like so many of us, how many times did my dad do that for me? after his fill of snapper, he packed the gear. i figured he was going to go back to the basin for more drifting. instead, he headed back to the dock.

actually, another thing occurred to me. this is actually the second time it had happened with a different guide. i got a great tarpon sunday morning on a spinning outfit with a swimming lure. leader was touched and the mr. t took off for another bit of fun. the line tinged his tail and bye-bye fish. truth be known, after an hour of solid fighting (est. wt. by guide 150+lbs) he whooped my butt. anyway, even though i asked, the guide would not set that outfit up again. that happened a few years ago in key west as well. maybe that is common? if so, i will gladly bring my own lures to lose.

all in all, the time with my dad is irreplaceable and i am grateful for that. i just wanted to get what i thought would have been a fair shake according to the precedent the guide himself established on previous outings(10 trips spaced over 3 years prior to these last 3). shorter days, waiting at times over an hour for him to leave after scheduled departure times and forgetting about daylight savings time? i just thought that was unprofessional. and, honestly, a simple appology would have gone a long way to appeasement.

thanks for listening to my ranting.

charlie
Old 03-10-2009, 03:57 PM
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As a river guide in Oregon I got to meet a lot of wonderful people from all walks of life some with money falling out of there pockets ,and those that had no change left. No one was treated any different I had money back guarantee
,Salmon ,Steelhead,Trout,and small mouth bass. Not another trip your money back if we did not catch the species we where after or a hundred fish day of small mouth per person I had a Lady from San Francisco bring a clicker she had to take off every fish herself or it did not count I won. Stroke victims ,bypass hart surgery dudes and lots of happy repeat customers. My joy was watching them catch something that they have never done before priceless for me. I have been juked by Charter Capt.
fishing guide in the Louisiana Gulf Coast Water.You know what the difference is between them and me .They saw you as money,and I saw them as people .Sorry for your deal E-Bay 009 (Small).jpg (36.7 KB) open hart surgery he won a trip from ebay with me fished twice with me until I moved to TX. Many others that I have PICS of and story's
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:03 PM
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any one remember the guy with the pvc tower out of balt. Md. this guy had all the rules and goes on your boat and says no drinking LMFAO.
Old 03-10-2009, 04:07 PM
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Doesn't really seem to be a heck of a lot of time we're talking about here. I'm not saying an 8 hr day shouldn't be 8 hrs.,but you mentioned slow fishing and windy conditions.I might have been tempted to cut it a little short too.
Old 03-10-2009, 04:15 PM
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Wait just a minute!!!!!!

From your post.

When the guide started fishing either you or your dad went without a rod.

You mean to tell me, that guide only had two rods on the boat!!!!!

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