Fishing World Loses An Icon In Wejebe

by Mike Suchan

Photo of Jose Wejebe, host of The Spanish Fly
Jose Wejebe, host of The Spanish Fly, was the whole package. (courtesy The Spanish Fly). Click Here to read Tommy Sanders' tribute.

The saltwater fishing world, and especially those who worked with Jose Wejebe, lost a great friend in early April. Webeje, host of Outdoor Channel’s The Spanish Fly, died when the single engine plane he was piloting crashed shortly after taking off from Everglades Airpark.

Wejebe rose from rags to riches. He was born in Cuba in 1958, and his family escaped Fidel Castro’s revolution by immigrating to Miami. He plied the South Florida fisheries as a youth learning his trade.

“He basically quit high school to become a captain, to become who he was,” show producer Mike McKinnis said. “He knew who he was going to be when he was young. He worked toward learning how to fish, getting a boat and becoming a captain.”

Wejebe learned the intricacies of saltwater fishing from the best, including Stu Apt, Flip Pallot and Lefty Kreh. His travels and passion for learning new fishing and rigging techniques took him all over the world, where he explored new and non-traditional methods.

What made The Spanish Fly so successful was Wejebe was the whole package.

“It’s passion for what you do. He had it like nobody else in everything -- fishing, photography, underwater photography, flying an airplane, if you can believe that,” McKinnis said. “He has the knack of being charismatic and entertaining, but really down home. That’s an interesting combination that not many people have – star power but to be and feel humble on TV.”