Captain Mark Kelley’s love of the water and fishing was influenced by his grandfather and father. The Kelley family have been residents of Bay County since 1943. Cumulatively, the family has worked in the fishing industry for more than 100 years. Mark’s grandfather, Arnold Peel, began his commercial fishing in 1943. His father, Buddy Kelley, started his love for charter and commercial fishing in 1963. He fished until he retired in 1995.
As a child, Mark spent afternoons around the fishing fleets in the areas of St. Andrews and Panama City Beach, Florida. He spent his time “hanging out” and fishing with other captains, deckhands and their boats. In 1976, he was fishing and earning money with his dad on the original Kelley Girl. This led to his opportunity to become one of the deck hands. Through those years of decking, he determined that there was no place he’d rather be than on the water catching fish. He knew he would make a career as a charter boat captain.
In 1987, Mark married his wife, Denise. Mark worked for his dad as the captain of the Kelley Girl while Denise finished college. In 1995, Mark and his wife purchased the Kelley Girl from his father. As Mark began his career as a Captain, Denise began her career as an educator. Through the years, they have raised two children who also enjoy the water around Bay County.
In 1996, Mark enlarged the fleet with the purchase of another charter boat, the Lady Kelley. This purchase provided more opportunities for returning customers to fish on their preferred booking dates. Throughout the years, Mark has used the Kelley Girl and Lady Kelley to build private artificial reefs. These fishing spots are not shared with other private boats and recreational fishermen. Therefore, Mark can take customers to his “sweet spots” and experience fishing that others cannot. See the photo gallery.LINK
The Kelley family’s legacy and tradition of fishing have led to a successful business. This success came from knowledge and wisdom that Mark has gained from his ancestors and experiences growing up around many of the best fishermen in the area. Mark currently has more than 35 years of fishing in the waters of the panhandle. His love for this sport comes across through his jovial spirit, wit, laughter, and dedication to the customers he serves.
Whether you’re a first time fishermen or have years of knowledge, we happily welcome all levels of experience and love to share this passion with everyone who gets on the boat with us.
Choosing to fish with us means you’ll be in good hands with a very experienced and passionate deckhand. Our goal is to ensure we have a safe and fun day on the water and provide you with everything you need to reel in the big ones!
Call us today to schedule your charter.
We welcome you aboard!