Jose Wejebe Dies in Kit Plane Crash

Jose Wejebe, a renowned Florida Keys guide in the 1980s and 90s who went on to become the popular host of the television series “Spanish Fly,” died Friday afternoon when his kit plane crashed into a field near the runway shortly after take-off from Everglades Airpark in Everglades City on the southwest coast of Florida.

I guided in the same waters as Jose for many years, sharing clients and contesting territory on the Florida Keys flats, and before he ever became a fishing “personality” he was a dedicated and very talented fishing guide who loved fish and fishing as much as anyone I’ve ever met.  Jose had a tremendous instinct for finding fish and for ensuring that his clients had the best opportunities to catch them.  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.

In the past several years his interest in building and flying kits planes consumed most of his free time.  This is a picture of the kit plane in which he died.  Witnesses say the plane appeared to have been caught in a crosswind during takeoff.

I will personally remember Jose as part of a friendly rivalry that taught me part of what it meant to be a professional guide, and as someone who sought to transcend the role of a fishing guide with only a select clientele and share his deep knowledge with the world.  The fishing world has suffered a great loss with his passing.

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  • Ladderslug

    Jose will be missed by so many of us. He was such a joy to watch. My heart and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  • Cfishinbill

    This is horrible . Such a loss to the Fly fishing world , and fishing overall . Thoughts and prayers go out to is family .

  • Rodsofcane

    SAD! He will be missed very much! God Bless! RIP

  • Kennington10

    Words cannot describe the way I feel right now. My good friend called me last night, he was with Jose the day before, and both of us remembered. Jose is one of the most influential  individuals in our fishing lives. He’s why my friend guides in the keys today. Truly a significant loss.

  • Burngold2001

    Jose seemed to be a true sportsman and more knowledgeable about sealife than most of us will ever be. He more than anyone else, showed the television audience how awesome saltwater fishing and fly fishing is as a sport. Jose, you will be missed.

  • Al Gadoury

    What I liked most about fishing with Jose was that he understood all fish are fun to catch. He was the most talented guide I ever fished with and a good person.

    Al Gadoury

  • Charlie

    Jose was “One of a Kind” !!!   From the moment I steped on his skiff, I felt like I had know him all my life. 
    Spending a day in the Marquesas with Jose was without a doubt, one of the BEST days of my life.   He will be sorely missed.   My prayers to his family and friends.

    Charlie Jones

  • Stevee B

    I was so saddened, to heard of Jose’s passing.We have lost a truly great fisherman, a friend, and a wonderful person. My prayers & thoughts to his family, friends. Tight Lines my friend, rest in peace.

  • Dcastlen50

    I have watch Jose for the last two years on TV and found his personality to be more than (just) affable.  He appeared to be genuinly enthusiastic and “lost” in his work.  I will miss his programs; espcially because he is one of the few that is doing fly fising shows here in Florida.  God rest an apparently good man

  • Jgrobarek

    Sad, so very sad….

  • Beau Beasley

    What an excellent tribute. He will surely be missed by many. He was the only Saturday morning fishing personality that did a show where he was skunked, This was something I had never seen before,a pro showing everyone that not everyday on the water is all roses. This is something I will never for get.   

  • Troutbumga

    First John Denver… now Jose… I can see the allure to fly something you built your self… we all, at some point would like to fish a fly we tied or selves or build our own rod… but planes can kill you!!! – I also know these great man died doing what they love to do! – May their souls rest in peace and where ever they are I’d like to think they are sharing fishing stories!

  • Jaywatson40

    I have watched the “Spanish Fly” since it first aired. I am a born and raised Floridian, but Jose was more Floridian than I have ever been. I learned a lot from him though I never met him in person, he was a true master of his craft. I know a lot of fishermen, good fishermen, but I don’t think all of them together could make half a Jose Wejebe. God Bless my Brother…you will be missed by the entire fishing community that you have given so much to. Thank You For Everything Jose!

  • Rpjura1

    Whereever you are may you line be tight! My wife and I enjoyed your show ever since your started. We defiinitely lost one of the best!

  • Eod2pilot

    From a fellow pilot and fly fisherman you will be missed my friend. Blue skies.

  • Superfinehelios

    I had caught an episode of Spanish Fly the first time about 3 weeks ago. His warm demeaner, open mind and friendly attitude made him instantly likable. My sense of loss, I’m sure, is nothing compared to the many that knew him much longer. Bes to them and THANKS JOSE for what you’ve done!

  • Norman E Duncan


    una rosa blanca en junio como enero

    para el
    amigo sincere que me da su mano franca.


    Y para
    el cruel que me arranca el corazón con que vivo,

    ni ortiga cultivo; cultivo la rosa blanca.


    Cultivate a White Rose

    By Jose


    cultivate a white rose, In July as in January

    For the
    sincere friend, Who gives me his hand frankly.


    And for
    the cruel person who tears out, the heart with which I live,

    cultivate neither nettles nor thorns: I cultivate a white rose.

  • I only found out the other day that Jose was gone, but it was heartbreaking none the less. He was the one that “hooked” me on fishing shows. He was so human. I will miss watching him do what he did best. RIP Jose