The ability to combine a selective capture strategy with on chip MALDI-TOF analysis allows for rapid, sensitive analysis of a variety of different analytes. In this overview a series of applications of capture enhanced laser desorption ionization time of flight (CELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry are described. The key feature of the assay is an off-chip capture step that utilizes high affinity bacterial binding proteins to capture a selected ligand. This allows large volumes of sample to be used and provides for a concentration step prior to transfer to a gold chip for traditional mass spectral analysis. The approach can also be adapted to utilize specific antibody as the basis of the capture step. The direct and indirect CELDI-TOF assays are rapid, reproducible and can be a valuable proteomic tool for analysis of low abundance molecules present in complex mixtures like blood plasma.