Friday, April 13, 2012

Outdoor Channel to air tribute to Jose Wejebe, host of “Spanish Fly”. Accident occurred on April 6, 2012 in Everglades City, Florida

As the family and friends of Capt. Jose Wejebe prepare for his Celebration of Life memorial Sunday in South Florida, the outpouring from the boating and fishing communities continued for the popular guide, producer and TV host who was admired for his kindness and recognized for his many charitable efforts, especially in the Florida Keys.

Wejebe, 54, of Summerland Key, died April 6, after his single-engine plane he was piloting, crashed shortly after takeoff in Everglades City on Florida’s Southwest Coast. Weather is believed to have been a factor.
He was the respected host of the long-running "Spanish Fly” fishing show which began in 1995 on ESPN and later on the Outdoor Channel.

Those whose lives were touched by Jose are welcome to attend The Celebration of Life at 1:30 p.m. at the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Museum in Dania Beach.

Wejebe was respected for his generosity, donating hundreds of hours to causes not only involving conservation but especially those for children such as Make-A-Wish, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series raising funds for cystic fibrosis research.

“It’s where he was first noticed and got his start in television nearly two decades ago,” said Redbone founder Capt. Gary Ellis of Islamorada, when outdoor program producer Jerry McKinnis was filming a show at the Redbone’s Mariner Outboards SLAM tournament in Key West in 1993. “Jose was a popular young Keys guide who volunteered his efforts to fish the Redbone events. He was selected as one of the guides for NFL stars Gary Dunn and Kim Bokamper. McKinnis was instantly impressed with Jose who also appeared on Flip Pallot’s shows.”

The affable Cuban-born guide, whose family fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba when Jose was a youngster, was presented an opportunity by McKinnis to host his own TV show and began filming in 1994 for the 1995 initial season of “Spanish Fly.”

The following are remembrances from associates and friends in the sportfishing industry:

Chico Fernandez, author, fly expert and frequent TV guest: “Jose was a fine guitarist, a top fishing guide and a great angler on all facets of the sport. Yet he was humble about his accomplishments. His gentle ways will be missed by so many of us.”Andy Mill, Olympian, TV host, tarpon fishing champion, author: "Words can't describe the enormity of the fishing world’s loss with the passing of Jose. He impacted anyone who admired adventure, laughter and love. He lived large, and brought us all along for the ride, like Peter Pan." 

Flip Pallot, fly expert, host and producer of the Walker’s Cay Chronicles: "The unspeakable tragedy of Jose's death has left a great hole in the hearts of family, friends and fans alike. The adventures he has left us on film will forever define him in our memory. So long ‘Grasshopper.’"

 C. A. Richardson, Flats Class TV host, Tampa Bay guide and educator: “Jose has always been an inspiration throughout my career, teaching through example by staying humble and willingly sharing his vast fishing knowledge with others at industry events and workshops. He’s been the most significant face and personality associated with saltwater fishing for nearly 20 years and our entire industry will sorely miss Jose as our most affable and loved ambassador of the sport." 

 Chris Peterson, President of Hell’s Bay – “I admired Jose's energy, love for life, and dedication to his friends. Jose inspired me with his ability to make everyone around him feel as if they were his personal best friend, or Bro. He had charismatic energy to light a room with just his mere presence. Jose was always willing to give to the children's charities, where he gave of himself and his personal time, a rare quality today. Jose brought his love of the ocean and the salty flats to all of us, like only a few have on film.”

  Regis#: 548SF        Make/Model: EXP       Description: CA8-SF
  Date: 04/06/2012     Time: 2106

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: EVERGLADES CITY   State: FL   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SOUTH FLORIDA, FL  (SO19)             Entry date: 04/09/2012 

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