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Southwind Charters with Freddie Z Fishing

Captain Freddie Zona


It's always sunny in New Smyrna Beach; an area renowned for its pristine waters, diverse marine life, and vibrant local culture. For this month's special edition boat of the month; we highlight a Captain that has spent the last 30 years earning his spot at the top. We are stoked here at Ponce Fish Network to not only be able to write about this incredible Captain, but also provide our fans with a rare opportunity to see it for themselves live & in person! With a passion for the sea and a dedication to providing unforgettable experiences, Captain Freddie Zona is well respected in our local fishing community and continues to carve out his legacy in his daily grind. Southwind Charters with Freddie Z Fishing is the culmination of decades of hard work, determination and sacrifice- and he is blessed to be able to stand at the helm today with his daughter & fellow Captain, Shelby Harbster Zona.

Captain Freddie's fishing career began the same way many of the local greats here did; on a head-boat or three, mating the eighties away. His early years were spent mastering the intricacies of fishing and mate work, learning all he could about the operations of each vessel he worked on- skills that would later form the backbone of his professional life. Over the first 10 years of his career he dabbled in a wide variety of work; from our local head-boats to private sportfishers, charter fishing to professional tournaments, mate work to relief Captaincy. After years of honing his craft, Freddie decided to channel his expertise and love for the ocean into his own business. Thus, Freddie Z Fishing was born, on a 26' Regulator, a dream at heart, and a baby in tow. What started as a modest venture has grown into one of New Smyrna Beach's most sought-after charter services, known for its exceptional service and unparalleled fishing adventures. After years of running Southwind Charters as both its relief Captain & mate for former owner Captain John Krall, Captain Freddie Zona took over the operation full time just over 10 years ago. Since then he has refined the charter's experience, raised a first mate and future Captain, and made a ton of memories for thousands of anglers along the way.

The Southwind is a 41' Custom Jersey Sportfisherman built in 1985, powered by a single screw 682 Detroit Diesel inboard. Equipped with all of the necessary fishing gear and safety equipment, ensuring a safe, comfortable, and productive journey. Captain Freddie's personable nature and storytelling adds a unique charm to every outing, often leaving guests with not just fish, but stories to go home with that last a lifetime. Southwind Charters offers a variety of services tailored to meet the needs of both novice and seasoned anglers. Whether it’s a half-day fishing trip targeting snapper and mackerel, or a full-day offshore experience chasing mahi-mahi and sailfish, guests are guaranteed a memorable experience. Captain Freddie's goal has always been to put anglers on the fish of a lifetime, but notes that deep water bottom fishing will always remain his favorite due to the how Captain & Angler intensive it is trying to get the fish in the boat.

Over the years, Captain Freddie has cultivated a strong sense of community around Southwind Charters. Regular clients return not just for the exceptional fishing, but for the camaraderie and friendship that the experience has fostered. The vibe is quite different aboard this vessel, one of the aspects that Captain Freddie still appreciates- the reality of him now Captaining the clients he used to mate for back when Captain John Krall was still at the helm, paints the true full circle picture here. Spending 30 years growing and building on the same vessel gives him the chance to grow in other ways too, as evidenced by his truly remarkable daughter who is no stranger to the Southwind Style.

Like Father - Like Daughter

In true testament to the lifestyle, Captain Shelby's first time offshore was at 3 months old, strapped in a car seat anchored to the engine box. Throughout her entire upbringing she was frequently found aboard charters with her father, allowing her to gain a lifetime of experience & knowledge in a short period of time. Having reached adulthood, Shelby has spent more time at the helm which has inspired her to follow in her father's footsteps. These days she tries to attend every charter she can, all while asking a million questions, with the plans to be a relief captain for him one day. Captain Shelby insists her favorite style is King Mackerel fishing, because of the constant action and all the memories she has commercial fishing for them with her dad over the years. Learning to handline kings at a young age is one of her most sentimental memories with her father, and something she still does to this day. Captain Shelby also owns her own fishing lure company, Westwind Witches, whose products are directly inspired from years of helping her dad tie sea witches on the deck of the Southwind.

As Southwind Charters continues to thrive, Captain Freddie Zona shows no signs of slowing down. With a vision of expanding his crew and continuing to offer the same expert level services, he is poised to offer even more exciting adventures to his clients in the years to come. His commitment to innovation, combined with his deep-rooted respect for the sea, ensures that Southwind Charters will remain a cornerstone of New Smyrna Beach’s maritime culture. Now that he can share that goal and future with his daughter, the open sea's the limit.

Keep your eyes peeled on 6/15 for our announcement on our yearly #CharterGiveaway!

Trips aboard Southwind Charters with Freddie Z Fishing include: 4, 6 & 8 HR Offshore Trips and a 10 HR Extended full day trip for the more serious anglers.

#FishOfTheWeek #ExpertSeries Helmed by Legendary Captain Lee Carver

 Don't forget to check back every Sunday for a new batch of winners!


#FishOfTheWeek #ExpertSeries Helmed by Legendary Captain Paul Nelson Sr.

 Don't forget to check back every Sunday for a new batch of winners!

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