BASALT - The world of fishing recently lost one its most celebrated anglers and a personal hero of mine, Jose Wejebe, on Friday, April 6. Jose hosted the popular fishing television show "Spanish Fly" on the Outdoor Channel and previously on ESPN2 since 1995. Webeje died in a plane crash near Everglades City, Fla.
I will always remember Jose for being such an engaging, personable, passionate and grounded human being. I'll never forget going to my first fly fishing industry show as a teenager and bumping into Jose, accidently spilling his drink onto his pants. I remember looking up to see who I ran into and, low and behold, it was none other than the Spanish Fly himself, Jose Wejebe. I was speechless upon meeting this hero of mine and was so mesmerized by his presence that I could barely spit out a simple, "I'm sorry". Jose quickly responded, "This wasn't for me anyhow. It was his," and walked away laughing, pointing to another legend in the sport by the name of Flip Pallot, who just waved a hello our direction after the commotion I caused. It was a two-second, chance meeting that I'll never forget.
In a sport where seemingly everyone involved is an "expert" or a "guide," Jose was always able to keep it real and was often heard on his television show saying, "Take what God gives you." Fly fishing teaches us more than just catching the most or the biggest fish.
Yesterday my intention was to wake up early and go pike fishing. I walked all over the shallow flats of two local reservoirs without seeing a single fish. I packed up my gear and decided to change plans. While driving back on I-70, I made a pit stop along the Colorado River to see if any carp were mulling around despite the overcast and wind. I immediately saw several large fish and stealthily made several casts. I changed flies a half-dozen times, made several precision casts and simply couldn't buy a fish. After a long day of not catching anything, I hopped back in my car and continued my journey back toward Basalt.
One last stop was needed. I sure as hell wasn't going home without getting some fish slime on my hands. I said good-bye to the 6-, 7-, and 8-weights, and rigged up a caddis dry fly on my 3-weight outfit. The lower Fryingpan River treated me kindly, as I ended up catching several fish in fairly short order. Being versatile and relentless allowed me to turn a lemon of a fishing day into lemonade. Thanks, Jose.