Nowhere Else I'd Rather Be

By Molly Harrison | Thursday, July 5, 2018

As a charter captain and boat owner with more than 35 years of experience fishing charters along the East Coast and in the Bahamas, Captain Mark Fann is about as water-logged as a human can be. He has spent the majority of his life on the water, sharing the joys of boating and fishing with those who aren’t so lucky to have a helm for a desk.

On the 50-foot Rose Brothers sportfisherman Fishin’ Fannatic, he and his crew take their clients on inshore trips for fish like cobia, Spanish mackerel and bluefish (half-day trips that are perfect for families with children) as well as 30 to 40 miles offshore to the Gulf Stream for tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo and billfish.

Offshore fishing in the Gulf Stream is an experience like no other, something so magical that it really has to be experienced to be understood. It’s the rare person who can truly describe how it feels, but it should come as no surprise that one person who describes it best is the captain’s daughter, Maria Fann.

“Wouldn’t you rather be out here than in an office somewhere?” my dad asks as he powers his charter boat out to sea. “Yep,” I reply, matter of factly. We stand on the bridge of his deep-sea charter fishing boat, him at the helm and me beside him staring out into the endless blue horizon. Flying fish take flight as the hull slices through the waves. Bottlenose dolphin speed up next to us as if to race, then fall back and frolic in the wake. There is comfort in the humid, salty air. It is replenishing and invigorating and feels like home. This is obviously where my Dad feels most alive and comfortable. He reminds me on a regular basis of how similar the pH of human blood is to seawater, as if to say we were born from it. 

Every time I go out in the boat with my Dad, he points out things to pay attention to, how to find fish and how to read weather on the surface of the ocean. Frigate birds flying nearby always signal bait, which of course means predators or larger fish are nearby, most likely the kind we want to catch. Floating debris like an old board, runaway buoy or bucket lid always attracts smaller fish looking for cover. Seaweed floating in on the currents sometimes stretches for miles like a giant magic carpet, and the bounty that lies just below it could hold a jackpot worth of winnings for a charter trip. 

Away from land but not out of sight, the worries and stresses of day-to-day life are not able to reach us. What happens on land can’t touch you out here – it doesn’t seem to matter or at least is less important. You live more in the moment here, pay attention to the signals of the elements and learn to work with them and use the energy they provide. It is simple and free of the obstacles and unnecessary entanglements of what real life is supposed to be like, or what you are told life has to be. Structure here is different. Nature makes the rules and you learn how to play along or you lose. The acts of God are front and center since there is but a thin hull separating you from the mysteries of the deep. ~ Maria Fann

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? That experience is possible for you too. The Fishin’ Fannatic is available for charter all year round, and the captain and crew welcome everyone from first-time fishermen to professional anglers and everyone in between. Finding fish and turning people on to sportfishing is their passion, and they go the extra mile to ensure that their clients are happy and satisfied. 

Up to six anglers can take offshore sportfishing trips on the Fishin’ Fannatic. These full-day trips leave the dock at 4:30 a.m. and return to the docks at 4 p.m. Families are welcome, but for kids the half-day inshore trips are a better bet. The boat includes the comforts of a spacious cockpit with a fighting chair, a head (restroom) and an air-conditioned salon (perfect for taking a break or getting out of the sun). All you need to bring is food, water and sunscreen. Licenses, bait, tackle – and the transcendent feeling of escaping real life for a little while – are included in the price of the charter.

Fishin Fannatic logo
(252) 473-7092
Wanchese Marina
4457 Mill Landing Road




About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.