Fishing show host killed in plane crash

POPULAR US fishing TV show host Jose Wejebe was killed last Friday when his single engine kit plane crashed just after take off in southern Florida. Wejebe was the host of the long-running fishing TV show Spanish Fly.

Wejebe, 54, was born in Cuba before his family emigrated to the US state of Florida. At the age of 18 Wejebe received his Captain’s licence and quickly earned a reputation as a top fly fishing guide. He learned many of his skills, and soon became close friends, with some of the sport’s early legends such as Stu Apte, Flip Pallot and Lefty Kreh. At the time, light tackle sportfishing was burgeoning and Wejebe was among the sport’s early innovators.

Marshall Cutchin, publisher of fly fishing website Midcurrent, an accomplished Florida guide himself, said Wejebe was a dedicated and talented fishing guide.

“He was a master of tackle, knots and techniques—something the average Saturday-fishing-show devotee, who only saw his insight into fish and his ability to communicate the wonders of their behavior, might never have discovered,” said Cutchin.

Wejebe was a regular guest on Flip Pallot’s iconic TV show The Walkers Cay Chronicles and was later approached to host his own TV show which first aired in 1995. The show, named Spanish Fly after Wejebe’s boat, covered all styles of saltwater fishing and never lost its appeal thanks to Wejebe’s cool character and laid-back style. Spanish Fly generated a strong following and promoted the sport of fishing and conservation to the next level. Wejebe’s skill in fishing, together with his on air charisma, gave the show a rare and ideal combination, covering all aspects of fishing, adventure and lifestyle.

Editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine, Doug Olander, said despite Wejebe’s success, he always remained humble.

“Too many ‘big names’ subsequently suffer the big-ego syndrome, but for all his success, Jose was always laid-back and personable, coming across as just another guy.”

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