Jose Wejebe, aviator, fisherman and television host died yesterday when his Comp Air 8 airplane crashed shortly after takeoff in Florida. He was a father of one.
Jose’s show, Spanish Fly, played a roll in my becoming a fly fisherman. Long before I had even seen a fly rod, but had a budding interest in the sport, I was trying to soak up all the books, movies and TV shows on the subject that I could. It’s no secret that I find most Sunday morning fishing shows to be a combination of ridiculous, boring and even kind of revolting. Watching the same silly, overweight guy dressed in his sponsor-laden shirt that makes him look like a NASCAR driver plunking lures to the same fish in the same ponds and releasing them by throwing them over his shoulder, all in-between long winded ads for something like a boat engine lubricant? Not my cup of tea. But Jose’s Spanish Fly and the Pirates of the Flats series were different. There was a lot of fishing, a lot of seemingly natural conversation and they simply pointed the camera at the action and let it roll. Jose’s show was notable, and personally influential, because he traveled far and wide, catching a host of different fish and giving tips and advice. Jose himself was very likable on screen – the complete opposite of his contemporaries – always charming and quick with a smile or a joke, but always very relaxed and enjoying the moment. He clearly loved fishing. And with his help, and the help of others like him, I love it now, too. He’ll be missed.