Jose Wejebe2012 was not a great year for me. I was happy to see 2013 come with all of its promises of a fresh start, of a chance to rebuild my house and a chance to get those things right that I had gotten wrong in 2012. In all of the hustle and bustle of our lives, it was with less fanfare than I had anticipated that a pioneer of the fishing world passed away in 2012. Jose Wejebe, my fishing idol and the driving force behind my passion for the sea was killed in a plane crash in 2012. Fitting to the way he lived his life, Jose’s experimental plane crashed with him at the controls upon takeoff from Everglades City shortly after he finished films an episode on catching tarpon on the fly.

Jose was a staple of my Saturday mornings when I was a kid. I use to religiously watch his show on ESPN. The “Spanish Fly” managed to capture the imagination of a young boy looking for fun and adventure along with the little bit of risk that always accompanies one as they push the throttles up and head offshore. I never met Jose but he was everything I wanted to become. An ardent advocate of the catch and release, fishing for him was never about catching fish, it was always about being on the ocean, seeing its creatures and exploring, exploring, exploring. Fish were just an added thrill—the cherry on top of a fantastic ice cream Sunday if you will. The guys who accompanied Jose on the shows loved Jose. The genuinely laughed together while on their adventures and I liked that.

The final season of the Spanish Fly is now airing on the Outdoor Channel. The series is really well done and does a good job of commemorating the loss of a good man while celebrating the life of a guy who inspired a young boy to do so much on the ocean. I encourage everyone to watch it as it teaches one so much. It also has some great stories—stories of a guy who refused to date an attractive owner of his favorite bar in The Keys because he feared if he got things wrong “where would he drink?”. Stories of a 14 year old diving down with his frantic mother scurrying around his boat to free his stuck anchor 100 ft down. Stories of a man who never forgot that the sea wasn’t his, the sea wasn’t endless and that to appreciate nature was to not to try and conquer it but to be a respectful part of it.

Thanks Jose. Hope to fish with you one day.jose

Feb 20 2013- Be sure to catch the upcoming show on Nat Geo WIld with JOSE-