Gotta make a living

Gotta make a living

Effective immediately, I’m raising my guide rates 10% across the board. This is the first rate increase since 2004. Didn’t really want to do this, but the cost of just about everything has gone through the roof over the past 14 years–in many cases far beyond 10 percent. I just can’t continue absorbing these expenses and continue working.

The final straw was the FWS announcing they will start charging fishing guides on the Mississippi a MINIMUM of $400 up front. This tax is for ‘administrative purposes’. not a penny for the resource. The FWS wants us to pay them to monitor what we do here on God’s river.

We River guides believe there is already enough regulation by the USCG and the states. Every 5 years we are required to renew our USCG captain’s license. The actual license is only a few hundred bucks. but part of renewal is a physical, eye exam, hearing exam and pee test–all of which comes out of pocket. So now we’re talking about $250/yr. for the Captain’s license. On top of this there are guide license requirements for several states, and of course fishing licenses.

A million dollar liability insurance policy costs me about $550 annually. Insurance on the boat, motor, electronics and gear is another $400 a year.

Then there are federal, state and sales taxes to add to the FWS tax which they call a ‘fee’. but make no mistake–it’s a tax.

Boats, motors and fishing gear have in some cases almost doubled since 2004. Remember when a Mepps spinner was just a couple of bucks and a Rapala was maybe $3.25? it now costs $15 to spool an average spinning reel with superbraid line. Factor in backlashes, snags and general screw ups and the cost for fishin’ line is about $25 PER REEL per year.

The Mississippi is notoriously tough on gear. $25-40 bucks used to be the going rate to fix a prop. Now the cost is double that.

Back in 2004 I used to buy nightcrawlers from the Amish kids for 50 cents/dozen. The price is now somewhere between $2.50-3.25.

Have you priced jigs, sinkers or snap swivels lately? Outrageous!
If clients don’t bring their own rods they can use mine. it’s quality gear. St. Croix rods and Okuma or Pfleuger reels. Even with the price break I get as a pro, the average rod and reel is over $150.

Some folks still think the major expense of running a guide business is gas and oil. I’ve actually had people say $20 should cover all my expenses, and the rest of the guide fee is pure profit!

Don’t get me wrong. I really LOVE my work. With over 30 years of guiding experience and more than a half-century of serious fishing, I’ve learned enough to promise you’ll get out of the boat a better angler than when you got in–regardless of your skill level.

Right now my ‘profit’ is barely above minimum wage based on base rates. Fortunately, many enlightened clients have at least a vague idea of how hard guiding is and favor me with a tip. One client last year made sure I knew there was a $5 gratuity in the money he aid me…then he apologized for losing FIVE CRANKBAITS. One major reason for this lost was insistence on using his favorite rod with 6 lb. test line. this is the RIVER. Show up with less than 10 lb. braid and you’re gonna lose gear.

Thank you for hanging in there for my high pitched whine. I sincerely hope you still want to jump in my boat. If you think I’m charging too much, please look elsewhere for a guide. Yes, I’m a grump old man. The Mighty Miss is a grumpy old man, too.

The River’s gotta keep on rollin’…and I’ve gotta make a living.

tight lines, y’all

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