View Full Version : A bad charter on Tahoe

09-16-2005, 06:20 PM
A friend of mine is getting married Sunday at Tahoe. So we decide to take a charter with his dad, brother, and best man to try some Mackinaw action on the lake. We find what we think is a good place, they have been around for years and make a reservation. I call yesterday to confirm and am told "We have been getting limits all week". We show up this morning pay $140 a piece and go on what we think is a good trip on a boat all to ourselves. Tha "captian" of the boat was no help and the deckhand, his girlfriend, wasn't better. All of us own boats and fish, but some help would have been nice, but we think they had no idea what was going on. It turned into a cruise of the lake instead of a fishing trip. I suggest people do a little research into chartering a boat, so it does not become a cruise.

09-17-2005, 07:59 PM
What is the name of the outfit so I don't make the same mistake

09-17-2005, 10:37 PM
I agree to do the research, I did but had what I feel was a crummy trip, with a very well known guide this Is a guide I hear very often on radio shows about his light line trips. While my wife and I were on our honeymoon ( I love that woman *;))I had booked a trip to go light line fishing at Tahoe for Macs in Dec. When we arrived at the marina it was not the guide I had booked with. When we got out to the area we were to fish out come these rods rigged with steel line.It was like bottom fishing in the ocean. I did not say anything but began to fish. We were dragging minnows on the bottom. First fish came quickly, but reeling up a 3lb fish on Marlin gear was a major disappointment. Then the next fish the same ect....after we cauht the 4th fish our limit I tossed it back in ( this was only about 2hrs into the day). The Guide was a little iratated that I had done this saying that would have been my limit and that he had planned on watching the 49er gane that had come on at 10am since we had done so well. I told him "Yah!I was to have been light line fishing not dredging the sea with this winch and anchor setup". Well we continued to fish and release fish until our 6hours was up, if nothing else we were going to enjoy the wonderful scenary that Tahoe has to offer.So research does not guarantee a good trip. My last guide trip was a great experiance , we fished 8 hrs with out a bite *but the company was great and he taught me so much about DR fishing planner boards rigging baits *ect... I'll mention him that was Danye Lane

09-17-2005, 10:39 PM
Are you saying you were skunked? There's no excuse for that in most cases with an experienced captain going for macks on Tahoe, especially now. Maybe not limits for everyone, but a few fish in the boat at least. I have a good guess as to who you went with. If it was one of the big services, don't forget that 'we've been getting limits' means that they have several boats and 'Captain A in Boat A' is the 'we' who's been getting limits, while you've just booked a trip with 'Captain C in Boat C'.

Tahoe Sportfishing is the biggest outfit on the lake, and they have some good captains, but always need new guys- I've seen ads in the local paper looking for any Coast Guard licensed captain, whether a waterski or parasail guy- "will train to fish". That's not who you want taking you out on a paying trip, a guide in training.

Sorry about your experience; if you're willing to try again, go with one of my friends- Gene at Blue Ribbon Charters or Aaron at Backwater Charters.

Mark Wiza

09-17-2005, 10:46 PM

looks like you and I posted at the same time. Send me a Private Message and tell me who you booked with. I have 2 guesses based on your 'radio show' comment, and he should not have farmed you out to a heavy tackle guy if he promised you a light tackle trip. That crap is so typical of what we see here in Tahoe. Limits of 2 pounders on wireline in the first two hours, so the captain can save gas and go home. Hell, December is the time to troll shallow with 6 to 10 pound mono for big macks, rainbows and browns!

09-18-2005, 08:33 AM
i would blue ribbon charters anytime, gene knows his stuff

09-19-2005, 08:47 AM
The funny thing is,the first spot we went to, outside of Camp Richardson, Blue Ribbon was there. The captain was talking all kinds of trash about them, but in the time we were there, they had 3 fish in the boat. We were dragging 6ounce weights with a minnow on the bottom. They weren't even checking our minnows. I don't even think they knew how to work the fish finder. They'd say,"were spotting fish at 150 feet", its kind of hard to get a bite when you're dragging a minnow at 200 feet.

09-19-2005, 09:03 AM
I thought Weez was the man?

09-19-2005, 09:59 AM
Weez is the man. Different specialty though. I believe Weez does rivers, canoe trips or will teach you to fish your boat.

I feel like I owe Weez a payment for just what he has taught me here on the sniffer with his posts and articles.

09-19-2005, 10:00 AM
I feel that bad guides need to be narked out. If they read this and think you were wrong in your evaluation of their services, they can respond, and we can decide.

so... lets have a name!!! If a dealership sold you a bad car you would say the name, for the price of a guided fishing trip guides should expect the same kind of feedback and accountability.


09-19-2005, 10:57 AM
You should not name names. An Internet board is the easiest place to slander someone. Sometimes people will post things about very good businesses just because of a misunderstanding or a personal grudge. If the business contacts the Sniffer Admins, the thread will have to be *deleted. And that would be the right thing to do since there is no way to determine if the information presented in a post is accurate or just slander.

The lesson from this thread is that you should always get personal referrals for guides. *There are lots of folks on these boards who have taken charters on just about every body of water in the area. Tahoe in particular, since fishing there is different from what most folks are used to doing. *

Having said that, I had a "bad" charter on Tahoe once. My wife won a trip at a charity silent auction. We caught 1 small mac trolling rubber minnows at 250 ft. The boat was brand new and the skipper was inexperienced. The mate could care less. After I told them that I used to guide, they started joking about how stupid the people were who chartered at Tahoe to catch fish that "fought like old boots and tasted like an old boot". Great customer relations. >:(

There at lots of good charters on Tahoe. But you need to be careful and get recommendations. That's one of the things these boards are about.

09-19-2005, 11:25 AM
well, I agree that slanderous, this guide was an F'ing F'er who should die and burn in hell type posts should be deleted... however how are we going to know a guides reputation if we dont have info? let the reasonable reviews of service stay, and then people can use that information to weigh against personal recomendations, and make an informed decision.
Jason put up a calm reasonably worded respectful post, but due to the fact that the name of the service that he went with wasnt in the post, it was worthless.

09-19-2005, 12:25 PM
Giving the name won't do any good. I'm just saying is be careful in going out on a charter. Usually we do a little more research, but this time we got in a rush and just picked a service with a glossy flier. After going to Blue Ribbons site and seeing its just him and a boat, we probably would have picked him. Anyone wants just IM me and I will give you the name.

09-19-2005, 01:23 PM
That's the way to do it. ;)

09-19-2005, 01:24 PM
very classy of you Jason. I know I would have been pissed off if I spent $140 for a tour of the lake. If I take a charter I want atleast 1 $140 fish. I've only been on one charter before in Cape Cod and only caught one fish. It was a 44 inch 28 lbs striper, needless to say a little skinny for what the weight would have been out this way. But atleast I caught one. And we landed a 42 incher and a 26 inch bluefish. So basically if you are paying good money to be put on fish, you should be put on fish. I feel your trip should have warranted a refund. I know there is a guide up here that advertises NO FISH NO PAY but not sure if he fishes Lake Tahoe. That may be the way to go.

09-19-2005, 01:48 PM
There are going to be days when the fishing is tough and even the best guides get skunked on occasion. They still have to pay for the boat and fuel, so not very many can go the "no fish, no pay" route. As long as they work hard and really try to put you on fish and provide an entertaining trip, they deserve their money.

Here's another thing to consider. Certain times of year or time of the month are not ideal for fishing. Before you go and commit the kind of money a charter costs these days, it pays to find out about the fishing conditions and plan your trips accordingly. Most guides will tell you when the best times are. They hate not catching fish.

This past weekend was a full moon. If you tried to go mac fishing during the full moon, several other folks on the boards could have told you that fishing would be tough.

09-19-2005, 03:01 PM
The onlt thing I take as "guaranteed" when going on a charter is a ride back to shore. That's not saying I wouldn't be dissapointed if I didn't catch any fish and I'd still wear a life jacket if the conditions dictated. ;)

What is great about the Sniffer board is there are plenty of people from all different areas of No Cal and Nevada(and beyond) to get info from if one is planning a trip somewhere.

09-19-2005, 03:17 PM
As long as they work hard and really try to put you on fish and provide an entertaining trip, they deserve their money.
(not sure how to pull a quote but this is in reply to Doc)

yeah I understand fuel costs, time on the lake and all that adds up before a client even steps on the boat. But I'm pretty sure for $560 the guide got his initial costs back plus his guiding fee. I think the guiding fee is what is in question here. It didnt sound like this guy was working hard or entertaining his client or this topic would not be up for discussion. This guy should have advertised a boat rental not a guding service. Just my opinion, I would feel bad making someone pay that kinda of money and not getting them the product they were after no matter what business it is. I guess it just comes down to business ethics or a lack of communication between client and guide. Just hate to see someone's hard earned money wasted.

09-19-2005, 10:20 PM
Wow, I threw in my 299 cents (it used to be just 2 cents but what with the price of gas today...), left this message thread alone for a couple of days and look at the thorny blossoms that have bloomed.

Docstressor has explained it where I only could add to his good points. If your guide works his butt off, helps you constantly, teaches you something valuable, tells you a funny story or two, and the fishing is still slow, then he's done his job.

Ability and knowledge to put you on fish is the first and foremost qualification for guides, but fish or no fish, who wants to spend the day with a grumpy *******? The worse the fishing is the pissier some of these guys get, while when it's slow, I actually break out my best 'standup fishing routine' and try to lighten the mood.

I agree with Doc that we don't need to name names publicly, but the guys who have had bad trips on Tahoe have both sent me messages confirming my guesses as to who they went with.

Questions for a Tahoe Charter:

Will we be jigging or trolling? How deep are you trolling right now? How deep do you usually troll? Do you use wireline or downriggers for deep trolling? What pound-test leader? Minnows or lures? Are we only catching mackinaw, or are there any other species on tap? Will I be fishing with you or another captain?.....

On second thought, there are about 20 more questions, so as Doc said, look for a personal testimonial from someone you trust. Recent website photos from Tahoe charters that are catching the big ones would also be good, but none of them seem to be that Internet savvy.

That's all for now on looking for a Tahoe charter, but if you guys want to keep discussing what to look for in a fishing guide in general, I could keep bothering you.

I guided three people from a big 'corporate group', fly fishing the East Carson today, and the two 'experienced' anglers really just brought a bunch of expensive gear and listened more poorly. The absolute beginner did the best. Still, everyone hooked fish and a good time was had by all.

09-20-2005, 07:55 AM
well put Weez. I agree with both you and Doc. I have read losts of posts from you guys, and you both have tons of knowledge. And by spending a day on the water with someone that knowledgeable would no doubt be well worth it, fish or no fish. I kinda look at a guide as a teacher, you are paying for a lesson on what to look for, to help you after the day of guiding to improve techniques. The same reason why you would go to a hitting coach if you were in a slump or wanted some batting knowledge. But if they aren't teaching or helping you, atleast be put on the fish. Is that asking more than what the guide should provide?

09-20-2005, 08:50 AM
Weez said it best. What we did was rush into this without asking questions. We decided next time to not let this happen again. I can say the wedding was great and the happy couple is leaving today for Mexico and hopefully better fishing.

09-20-2005, 05:40 PM

You remember Micky Daniels? he may still be guiding. I booked a trip with him some years back, took some great friends and had a great time. I brought Mickey fried chicken and told him I'm going to feed you good, you just find us fish. That man put us on Macs, Rainbows and Browns. Mickey even let us set and pull his minnow traps. He tought us how to catch Tui chubs which you know is prime rib to a trophy Brown. They dont make men like that too often.


09-20-2005, 09:25 PM
Yup, Mickey is a local legend, he's still doing it, and although he usually uses pretty heavy tackle for deep mackinaw, he makes it happen, catching numbers and some monsters.