I think it is more of a regional thing. I’ve used guide in FL that are pretty much running $100/hour… So if you are taking to 6 hour trips, that’s a pretty good day… and we tipped him a hundy to boot!!! After fishing with him for many years, if he wasn’t booked for the day, he’d pretty much take us the entire day for that. Then we’d book him on the other side of the weekend, because if you were tarpon fishing with him, you basically were prefishing for the weekends tourneys… Now, in FL and some areas up here, you are fishing Capt.’s, so there is another expense for them. Gas and bait… in most cases you are involved catching the bait at the beginning of the day.
In the Midwest, I’ve really felt that they were underselling themselves. If they are paying for the same insurance and gas and have a decent fishery (i.e., Miss. R., GB, St. Louis River, etc.), then a $175 trip is just plain nuts and if the dude puts you on that great fishery, then you outta shell out a very nice tip!!! Never been charged for gas and bait, but do know that bait can be paid for by the client. At $6.00 to $9.00 per sucker minnow in the fall, that’s not real surprising.
In my area of N. WI as well as many N. MN lakes, there is not a need for the Captain’s license, so the average that I am aware of is typically $350 for the full day.