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Old 08-23-2003, 04:15 PM   #1
dawhunt
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Default Guides Busted

Wish they'ed watch the gillnetters this close.
Got this of steelheader.net.
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OLYMPIA – Three Cowlitz County fishing guides are facing criminal charges and forfeiture of their boats after taking undercover officers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on a Columbia River fishing trip without the proper licenses.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which took part in the sting operation, is also investigation the three men for multiple safety violations, ranging from a lack of life jackets for passengers to, in one case, no of documentation of required drug tests. Names of the three men are being withheld until formal charges are filed in South District Court in Pacific County.

Capt. Mike Cenci, who leads WDFW’s marine enforcement division, said the three men were arrested Aug. 19 in the town of Chinook when they could not produce valid charter boat licenses after guiding a fishing trip to the popular “Buoy 10” fishing area at the mouth of the Columbia River. Although all three men are licensed fishing guides, only licensed charter boats can take paying customers salmon fishing below the Longview Bridge.

“There’s a big difference between a fishing guide license and a charter boat license, and these guys ought to know that,” Cenci said.

The primary difference between the two types of licenses is that the total number of charter boat licenses in Washington state has been capped since 1977 under a limited-entry law to protect against overfishing, Cenci said. Existing charter licenses can, however, be transferred, often fetching tens of thousands of dollars on the open market, and require a yearly renewal fee of $480 for state residents.

By contrast, there is no limitation on professional guide licenses, which can be purchased by state residents for $150 per year.

Under state law, conducting an illegal charter boat operation is a gross misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. At the time the three men were arrested, WDFW seized their boats – valued at $25,000 to $40,000 – and has since began forfeiture proceedings, Cenci said.

WDFW enforcement officers are currently examining logbooks from the boats for possible evidence of other illegal charter trips, which could result in additional charges, Cenci said.

“We’ve been watching these guys for a while,” said Cenci, noting that the arrests followed weeks of surveillance by members of WDFW’s Statewide Investigations Unit. “Operating a charter service without a valid license is a serious crime, and people should know that we’re taking sure action.”

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Old 08-23-2003, 04:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Guides Busted

Interesting. I spoke with Censi a couple years back about a guide that he was watching.
I wonder who they are.
This really bugs me, cuz the guides that paid and studied for the six pack deserve that part of the market.

Jen
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Old 08-23-2003, 05:22 PM   #3
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That really stinks that they'd come down with that big a hammer on these guys. And what did they do earlier in the year when the netters took way over their allotment of fish?
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Old 08-23-2003, 06:10 PM   #4
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Yeah, I've been doing some thinking on the whole thing.

Although what they did was illegal, and I'm all for being against that, there are some things that bother me about how things are run over there.

I've heard that it is very difficult to get charter license.

I guess I won't be so opinionated until or unless I hear the whole story and understand it a bit better. So, for now, I am officially withholding judgement.

Still, I have to say, breaking the law is not the way to go if you want to win respect and gain a good reputation.

...and if they didn't have the proper safety equipment, that really isn't good.

But, like I said... withholding judgement... for now.

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Old 08-23-2003, 06:30 PM   #5
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The reason that they need to crack down on ALL illegal behaviors is it steals from everyone. All those people that followed the rules are losing family wages to illegal charters. They spent the time and money to get the things they need to be legal. Why is okay for somebody to cut corners? If you are a guide you know the rules. If you choose to do business on the other side of the law, you deserve to suffer for your choice.
I have no idea if these three guides are guilty or not. I'm speaking of law-breakers in general.
It doesn't matter what you do for a living, if you choose to do it illegally, you deserve the penalty. That is only fair to those that gamble their living doing it the right way.

[ 08-23-2003, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: STGRule ]
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Old 08-23-2003, 10:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Guides Busted

Good news for the guides who pay their dues, and fees.

Ouch on loosing the boats, hope word spreads.
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Old 08-23-2003, 10:30 PM   #7
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I heard the charter boat captains on the radio at Depoe Bay mentioning that the SAME thing was happening with OSP and river guides on the Ocean out of Newport during the coho season. A couple weeks ago, boats and rigs confiscated and big fines.

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Old 08-24-2003, 02:16 PM   #8
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We were down thier that day puting a hurting on the big tulies :grin: and when we took out I saw the guide boats surrounded by WDFW vehicles . We just thought they had too many fish or a native
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Old 08-24-2003, 06:04 PM   #9
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I find myself wondering if they aren't taking a page from the IRS, and since they can't prosecute them all they use the media as a deterrent and make the cases highly visible.
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Old 08-24-2003, 07:26 PM   #10
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So when is Oregon going to wise up and quit "giving" their charter licenses away to Washington guides for $100? I can't buy a Washington Charter license but they can buy an Oregon one and if they had they would not have been busted. It really ticks me off to see all the Washington guides down here with Oregon Charter tags on. Where is the reciprocity?
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Old 08-24-2003, 08:41 PM   #11
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Seems to me like this was kind of an intelligence test. As I understand it, anyone can go to Oregon, get the required license, and fish clients legally in the Columbia. I know several guides from Washington who have gotten the Oregon license specifically to be able to do this, so it doesn't seem like a big secret. The guides on the river all know each other, I've got to think these guys would have known about the reg.

Perhaps they knew, chose not to incur the difficulty and expense, and some of the folks who had gone to that work resented that and dropped a dime on them.

I don't have much respect for the crazy quilt of laws that set this mess up. The restriction on new charter licenses in Washington is a restriction of trade designed to favor those already in business at the expense of consumers and new entrants. But you'd have to be an idiot to flagrantly violate the law and expect to get away with it. Not smart, especially when it's so easy to get legal.
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:00 PM   #12
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capt hook, Why should one state have different guide lines then others? washington guides have to find someone that wants to sell a charter license and then pay 10,000 or more...Oregon guide can apply pay and get it!!! I believe both states should be the same..
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Old 08-24-2003, 10:44 PM   #13
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The penalties are stiff considering how simple it can be to procure a charter tag in Oregon and fish the same waters.

I see no good reason (yet) to make a valiant effort to sieze the boats from these people. Of course this opinion is subject to change as the details do. Its just too much if you ask me, fine them, yank thier guides license, but to take a mans boat is extreme on the first offense.

I am interested in what prompted the "sting" operation. Was there an inquiry or confrontation? If a law is being broken, is it not customary for law enforcement to investigate and curb the actions of those breaking the law BEFORE it either continues , or happens again?
I think the "sting" was simply encouragement to continue ignoring the regs from those who are supposed to prevent the regs from being broken in the first place isnt it?
Its ok for the WDFW to be present and participate in a violation in an effort to bust these guys (or simply make a big, expensive deal out of it leaving no humiliating stone unturned) and violate the regs themselves doing so? When is it OK for a cop to break a law?

All over a simple piece of paper?

I say if these guys were just playing stupid, or thier knowledge of the regs in Washington were in-fact a little less than clear, fine them, take thier guides license for the rest of the season, and promise them if it happens again the boats will be gone.

This is a heck of a price to pay for something that $100 +/- dollars (paid in Oregon) could have prevented.

The logistics and feasbility of Oregons standards of issuing charter licenses is irrelevant to the issue here if you ask me...it is one valid method that could have saved these guys some headaches, another could have been for a WDFW officer to tell them they were suspected of the violations and to do something about it before thier lives are very negatively effected.
Isnt that what "Law enforcement" really means?

[ 08-24-2003, 11:53 PM: Message edited by: Row Vs. Wade ]
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Old 08-25-2003, 02:35 AM   #14
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Is this like a guy who gets caught speeding and says I was only doing 70 in a 55. Is that ok? I think that would be like having 3 ileagal pole in the water.

[ 08-25-2003, 03:37 AM: Message edited by: trap50 ]
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Old 08-25-2003, 05:10 AM   #15
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Well, sort of Trap......like if a cop is on the side of the road holding up a 70 MPH sign to see if anyone will go that fast...or the 3rd pole being a cops pole but its on your boat.
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Old 08-25-2003, 07:26 AM   #16
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There seems to be some sentiment that guiding or outfitting without a license is OK or does not warrant sever actions. I do not know if the three guides cited in this sting operation are guilty or not-but if they are found guilty on these citations they definitely need to pay the price, first time or not. When they applied for the license and received it they agreed to follow the rules and laws of the state. That license is a privilege not a right and it holds a lot of responsibility.
As for it not being fair to Washington guides not to be able to utilize this fishery- that feeling is misplaced because they know the rules, agreed to the rules.
They can fish this area by obtaining a non resident license if they have the qualifications. Proper Coast Guard License, proof of insurance, business licenses, bonds, proof of drug testing and whatever else is required and pay the fees. Perhaps they did not do this because they didn’t or couldn’t provide the necessary information. Washington is easy, documentation is simple…send money. If you don’t like the laws, rules and regulations then go about changing them and until that happens do the legal, moral, ethical thing and obey the law.
As far as I am concerned this guys are not victims. I feel fairly sure they were not paying state or federal taxes on the money they were stealing from legally licensed charters.
They also appeared to disregard the ‘clients’ safety and well being by not having proper safety equipment as well as disregarding other Coast Guard Requirements…..
Unlicensed guiding goes on all the time in all areas. This activity takes money from those who follow the rules and spend the money to be legal and safe…taxes are paid and the resource is guarded.

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Old 08-25-2003, 07:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Capt. Hook:
It really ticks me off to see all the Washington guides down here with Oregon Charter tags on. Where is the reciprocity?
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Many years ago Congress established the Columbia River Compact to regulate fishing on the Columbia River. The Compact is made up by the directors of ODFW and WDFW. Congress' idea was for Oregon & Washington to have identical rules for fishing boundary waters for all the obvious reasons. For the most part (night fishing in WA being a glaring exception), the rules are similar. Apparently guide and charter licensing rules are outside the Compact's area of authority? :whazzup:
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Old 08-25-2003, 08:06 AM   #18
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These "Guides" that got busted deserved what they got... they knew the rules. With the increased popularity of sports angling... anyone that thinks they can make a buck taking people out to angle has done so. Often, they don't have the proper licensing (CG and state) and have no idea about proper saftey items. Take a look at what happened to the Taki Too... and he was a "Licensed charter."
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Old 08-25-2003, 08:30 AM   #19
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What I don't understand is how these agents got to go on an all day fishing trip, and then only busted the Guides upon their return to port. They reportedly got into fish also, what happened to these "Illegally" caught fish. My guess is that they did not wind up as evidence. What were they doing while out fishing all day, gathering evidence? Sounds like a sweet deal to me, go fishing all day, then make a bust right at quitting time!

Quote:
capt hook, Why should one state have different guide lines then others? washington guides have to find someone that wants to sell a charter license and then pay 10,000 or more...Oregon guide can apply pay and get it!!! I believe both states should be the same..
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">This would be great! Oregon would have a sales tax, and Washingtonians wouldn't have to pay an income tax to Oregon. I'm all for it!
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Old 08-25-2003, 01:02 PM   #20
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This doesn't make it right or wrong, but the officers very well may have wanted to see just how many different violations these guys would rack up during the day. That will probably have an effect on how severe the penaly is. I am glad they observed them for more than the initial infraction to determine if the licensing was on oversite, or if their true character was to cheat wherever possible. This makes a difference in my book.
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Old 08-25-2003, 01:59 PM   #21
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I haven't ever offered or taken an open seat, only because I haven't had a chance Yet. But what is the pratice there? Does the person give the boat owner money for gas? If so isn't that sorta like taking money for taking someone fishing?
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Old 08-25-2003, 03:01 PM   #22
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Hey, they were just breaking the rules a little bit, no big deal... And if they break these rules just a little bit, how about if they break some other rules "just a little bit".

Let me see here, a guide catches a lit of fish, how about if they keep "just a few" natives? If a guide averages 200 days a year on the water with a 5 fish average, thats a thousand fish, one percent would be ten fish, would that be OK? I mean keeping ten natives would just be breaking the rules "a little bit".

I just wonder if they had to cheat on something so simple and easy to do right, what other rules are they breaking when nobody is looking?

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Old 08-25-2003, 05:37 PM   #23
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Guides in Oregon come under the jurisdiction of the Marine Board. ODFW had the chance once to administer guides licenses but turned it down. I just don't understand the logic of making charter licenses available to residents of a state (Washington) that refuses to reciprocate. I hate the concept of limited entry. It protects the inept. Sorry if that offends anyone but that is my take.
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Old 08-25-2003, 06:48 PM   #24
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There is some question about the sting as if the cops had done something illgal. They had to fish all day and to catch fish to prove that the guides were indeed charging to catch fish. If they had just gotten on the boat the guides would hire a lawyer that would say the cops were mistaken and they had only purchaswed a boat ride.

But what is the bottom line here. Di I hear sympathy for illegal fishermen?

How about this? These guides are only expereincing the natural consequences of their chosen actions. The played the game and lost, no more no less.

my 2 cents

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Old 08-25-2003, 07:46 PM   #25
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To clarify my earlier remark about the steep penalty - I do agree that these guys got caught breaking a law that they probably knew well about and deserve to be penalized. But a 25 to 45 thousand dollar boat? I just think that's overkill. Yikes, what if they took your car away for doing 75 in a 55? Would that be fair? I know, what they did was worse than driving 75 in a 55. But, don't you think a thousand dollar, heck, even a 5 thousand dollar penalty would be more in order? Still steep, but at least they'd still have the ability to work and feed their families.

Was it a first time infraction? Or repeated? It just seems to me that a sizeable monetary fine would make sure they learn a lesson, but still allow them to start playing by the rules and still be able to make their living and support their families.
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Old 08-25-2003, 07:53 PM   #26
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Guides do not charge to catch fish, they charge to take you fishing. I have seen many clients fork over the moola when the catching was not happening. If people caught fish every time they went out, we'd have to change the term to "catching" from "fishing". Kind of like saying you don't need to buy a license until you hook a fish. Even if that was the case, they could have made the arrest after the first fish was hooked.

I think if I was an Agent and was offered to get paid to go fishing for the day, I'd jump on it too.

Wanna go catching?! :smile:
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Old 08-25-2003, 08:02 PM   #27
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Sounds like the Feds want everyone to listen up.

A guide I know was there fishing for fun that day. The Feds were very rude and unprofessional with him and his friends.

The fine sounds steep. But this has not played out yet. There may, or may not, be more than meets the eye.

If you want to play, you gotta ante up.

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Old 08-25-2003, 08:16 PM   #28
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I have to wonder where the line in the sand is. Here is a hypothetical situation.

Person A has a boat and fishes a lot. Tends to invite a lot of friends along on the fun. Gas prices being over $2.00/gallon and all the gear, etc, can drive the cost for a trip like this up into a lot of money. Especially if they're going out a considerable distance offshore.

The friends all like to help out to offset the cost of gas, and supplies so give the boat operator some cash when it comes time to refuel the boat.

Believe it or not, this suddenly makes the boat operator a 'charter' in Oregon and is illegal without all the appropriate licenses. ANY kind of a gratuity to the boat operator pushes them across the line and into the realm of illegal. :depressed: [img]graemlins/stupid.gif[/img]
Where does it stop? These are people who are NOT doing it for a living. They're just going out and having a fun day together.

How many people here have accepted gas money for a trip fishing? Or have accepted anything in return for a trip fishing? (not honestly expecting answers here, just venting another angle on this guide/charter thing).
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Old 08-25-2003, 08:39 PM   #29
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Sea Gypzee -

This was discussed on the board earlier in the year and was researched by some ifishers. It's LEGAL to take money from your boat guests as long as it's ONLY to help share true costs like Gas, Bait, launch, etc. It does not make the boat owner a "guide" or "Charter" and is a very common practice.
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Old 08-25-2003, 08:45 PM   #30
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I have to go along with STGrules and the rest of you that feel they are cheating all of us. They chose to conduct thier business their way and felt the rewards were greater than the risk. How long have they been getting by with this? Perhaps 3 years from the info provided. I anticipate as others, that if they will disregard the laws requiring a license, they may as well disregard all the other laws they don't like or diagree with. No respect for the law and little respect for othersseems to be the rule.

Very good point was made about paying tax on their income too. So they fish 200 days a year at an average of 400 per day, that's about, [img]graemlins/1zhelp.gif[/img] me here, about $80 K a year and mostly tax free. That's a pretty good life style when you compare it to a slouch like me that works every day, and only get to fish 25 days a year. To take that a little farther, 3yrs x 80K = 240k and it will take me about 5 years to make that and then I have to pay my TAXES.

"Maybe there knew what they were doing and felt the reward was greater than the risk." I think so.

If they choose to violate or break them, they deserve whatever sentence they get. I will be surprised if we do not have some tax evasion involved also.

What happens if you are caught for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? I think they take your car so they should also take the boat.

This could be a break for all the non-boater. We can all go to the county auction and buy some really nice boats for well below market value.
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Old 08-25-2003, 09:00 PM   #31
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I hear the overwhelming sentiment that the intended penalty is justified and I have to ask one simple little question.

Whats with the trigger happy people pushing for consequences to be doled out when the same fish would have died in the hands of the same people in the same hole if one litle piece of paper costing $100 was purchased (and another life vest tossed on board).


So many posts here about money ending up in the hands of beurocrats to be mismanaged, yet if the cash from these alledged perps didnt change hands with them... an injustice worthy of robbing a man of a $20-$45k boat has occured? Gimme a break.

Following these guidelines for letting the consequence fit the crime...I'd imagine castration will soon be the penalty for killing a native fish.

I agree wholeheartedly with skirimmy and flatfish's comments. The penalty is rediculous when considering the damage done to the fishery.

I hate to seem insensitive but if a legitimate guide has a real problem with one who isnt who fishes the same waters with customers, I dont think the resentment is cured with the proper chearter license. Its a competitive business like all others in the society of capitalism we thrive in. Deal with it.

An unlicensed contractor in Oregon pays an Average $1500 fine (though they can be in the middle of a $100k contract and be allowed to finish if they qualify for a license)

Any Oregon resident caught driving without a drivers license is typically fined $100 and in some cases, allowed to get a license before appearing in court to have the charge dismissed.

Theres too many people falling on swords in here sometimes. I often get the impression that IFish members place FISH before human beings. Granted there are people out there who would struggle to match the cranial capacity of a pescado...when the critisism comes from the lynchmob who also kills fish (albeit legitimately I assume) its difficult to take seriously.

[ 08-26-2003, 06:51 AM: Message edited by: Row Vs. Wade ]
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Old 08-25-2003, 09:00 PM   #32
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Snapshot, maybe you'd prefer a public lynching of these guys too without a trial? Heck you've already got all the facts and have convicted them! WRONG! Doesn't work that way.
At least we still have a judicial system that will give them a fair trial where the facts hopefully will come out, not just being judged by an internet based fishing board full rumors and guesses.

If the facts come out and they show that there truly was blatant disgregard for the laws, then they'll get what's handed down to them. Personally, I think the fact that there were apparent safety violations (lack of enough PFD's)I'd rather see them come down hard on that. But again, that will come out in court.

Let's not keep convicting them here, until ALL the facts come out in a court of law!

Oh yeah, before you start "guessing" at their income, take in to account: Boat payment, Gas, Bait, Maintenance Costs, Gear, Insurance (not cheap for those guys) There aren't THAT many guides who make a killing out there monetarily.
And I hardly doubt that ANY of them don't report their income. They'd never get away with that. The IRS insn't THAT stupid.

[ 08-25-2003, 10:05 PM: Message edited by: skrimmy ]
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Old 08-25-2003, 11:24 PM   #33
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I agree with you Leroy, I like to see my tax dollars being spent so diligently. They could have cited the guide as soon as they were in the illegal area. Why waste a whole day and then have all the other officers involved back at the dock. You would think we could do it a little cheaper.
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Old 08-25-2003, 11:31 PM   #34
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Default Re: Guides Busted

Fishing all day before busting them seems kind of like police on a prostitution sting sleeping with the protitute before arresting her.
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