Capt. Billy Delph
Home Port: Marathon, Florida Keys | Goto Vessel: 40' Seahunter | Electronics: NavNet TZtouch3
About Capt. Billy:
Born in Key West, Florida, Captain Billy Delph is what locals here in Key West call a Conch. Billy grew up in a fishing paradise under the shadow of a giant. His Father, legendary Captain Ralph Delph. The circles of influence that surround this unique lifestyle were as diverse as they were famous. Everything from pioneers in the commercial fishing realm, to other charter boat Captains, to well known names like Stu Apt, Flip Pallot and many others.
Billy started out as a teen paying his dues by washing charter boats and cleaning fish for the charter captains at Oceanside Marina where his father ran his boat, the “Vitamin Sea”.
“I remember getting a lot of complaints from the guys I would wash boats for. I hated washing those boats. I used to get paid ten to twenty dollars per boat, which was big money for a kid back then. I would clean their fish for free in hopes of being accepted and also be invited to go commercial fishing with them.” Commercial fishing was a great way to get knowledge that mattered quickly. He did it all from pulling stone crab and crawfish traps, to yellow tailing on the reefs, to long-lining in the north Atlantic. It really made Billy extremely well rounded in fishing and helped develop a more serious drive.
Billy always looked up to his father. “When my father fished in tournaments, I expected him to win every time as if that was a reasonable and normal expectation.” His father’s success jaded his young sons. “It wasn’t until I started mating on Charter Boat Row in downtown Key West that I began to truly appreciate the skills and techniques my father has bestowed upon me throughout my life. Before that I thought everybody fished the same way and my Dad was simply better at it. However it was his methods that set him apart.”
As soon as Billy was old enough he got his Captains license and started guiding. “That’s the moment the weight of my fathers’ success as well as expectations from his clientele came to fruition for me as I carried the Delph name on my shoulders. The constant pressure to perform on every trip regardless of fishing conditions was a heavy burden.” For several years Billy persevered until eventually his knowledge of the fishery and overall confidence increased.
Finally he saved up enough money and bought his first charter boat, a 27′ Contender. The day after he took delivery of the boat he fished his first charter on it. Unbeknownst and unplanned, Billy’s first clients just so happened to be his fathers first clients on his first charter boat over 30 years prior, long time customer and friend Dixie Burns. “One of the neat parts about doing this for a living is the life long friends and relationships found along the way.”
Several world records and tournament wins of his own, including some major records in the SKA, Capt. Billy Delph has proven to become a formidable force in the sport fishing world. He is continuing his family legacy and paving the way for his sons.