Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Marathon, FL

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Capt. Todd Ziels

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitters

Phone icon305-481-4857 Email iconzielstodd@gmail.com Link iconfishfloridakeysflats.com
Marathon, FL 33050

Orvis is pleased to offer our travel customers access to two valuable services: Global Rescue travel membership and IMG Signature Travel Insurance℠.

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The Story

Fly fish in Florida with Orvis-endorsed guide Capt. Todd Ziels: Regardless of the season, there are always fish to catch in the Florida Keys. Shallow-water sight fishing in the Florida Keys with an experienced guide is one of the greatest fishing experiences in the world in terms of accessibility. Flats fishing in the Florida Keys is as much hunting as it is fishing, as you prowl the flats in a shallow water skiff searching for a vast array of fish, from tarpon, bonefish, or permit to barracuda, redfish, jack, and shark.

Your guide's experience is of the utmost importance. Being a full-time, year-round Florida Keys flats guide for more than twenty years, I can offer this experience to give you a great day on the water. From Islamorada to Key West, I take particular pride in my patience, especially with beginners, to teach the craft of shallow water fishing. I welcome anglers of all ages, all skill levels, from tournament anglers, to first-time anglers. As a parent myself to two wonderful children, I particularly enjoy introducing young anglers to the magic of the shallow water.

"What I enjoy most about the experience on the water is the friendships that are bonded on the boat. Most of my anglers are repeat customers, many of whom I have fished for more than ten years. Nothing is a better vote of confidence than guiding the same anglers year after year."

Gear Recommendations:

Even though I always supply my anglers with top of the line fly and spin tackle, I have no problems with anglers using their own gear. Contact me ahead of the trip and I can assist you with what to expect and help determine what size rods to bring. I pride myself on the flies I tie. I also understand the excitement someone will feel catching a fish on a fly you tie yourself, so feel free to tie and bring your own. I love to talk patterns, colors and sizes, and am happy to offer advice ahead of an upcoming trip.

What to Bring (Additional):

These are the “big” little things that are important to bring along to make the day on the water successful and enjoyable:

  • Polarized sunglasses are a MUST as we mainly sight fish.
  • Dark brimmed hat
  • Light rain coat
  • Sun screen
  • Boat shoes
  • Lunch, snacks, and drinks - a cooler with ice is provided
  • Most importantly, bring a camera to capture your special memories.

We very rarely wade fish, so wading shoes are not needed.


As a full-time Keys guide, we fish year round. In the cold winter months, we target sharks, barracuda, jacks, and sea trout. When the water warms, the permit and tarpon bite can be great as well as the bonefish. In the springtime, things really heat up. Permit is best in February and March. The tarpon start showing up when the water warms. Going into April, some of the best tarpon days of the year can occur. At the same time, the bonefish blowup as well. May is known for peak tarpon, with the migration along the beaches in overdrive. These big tarpon are around and moving well through June and into July. The bonefishing remains fantastic during these months. The summer months are red hot for smaller tarpon, bonefish, and permit. Early mornings are best. When the water cools down in the fall it is again great for the Big Three. Fishing remains consistent throughout our winter months for the other species, which can be underrated but exhilarating on the flats.


The “Big Three” is what brings most anglers to the Keys to fish. Tarpon, permit, and bonefish are the most coveted species and can be caught year-round if conditions are good. If the weather is not cooperating, or if you want to go for something different, the Keys offer an array of different species to target. On either fly or light spin tackle you can target barracuda, sharks, jacks, mackerel, and sea trout to just name a few. So no matter the conditions or your skill level fish are there to be caught.


After launching the boat, a typical day starts with a 20-minute boat ride. That is all it takes to be swept away from the main highway and fishing along unspoiled mangrove shoreline. From there, it's onto the shallow flats and white sand that appears to go on forever. Often times, going all day without seeing another boat or angler.

Typical Weather:

Typical weather in the Key is usually warm. Summers can be hot in the 90s F which makes fishing in the morning ideal. Winter months are warm. Temperatures are typically in the mid 70s.

Starting from: $500.00
You can find all pricing information at: www.fishfloridakeysflats.com

What is Provided:

Two top-of-the-line Hells Bay boats, a Whipray Professional, and a Marquesa, allow us to attack the fish according to the weather. I supply all tackle necessary for a successful day. All rods, reels for fly and light spin tackle will be provided, as well as hand-tied flies and any lures and bait. Both boats will have coolers full of ice ready for the sun.

Additional Activities:

The Florida Keys is a unique environment with unique people. There is a lot to do, even when not on the water fishing. If planning a trip here, don’t hesitate to contact me and use me for guidance on thing to do, places to stay and or where to eat.

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