Members of the Mercury Marine family expressed sadness Friday regarding the death of television host and fishing legend Jose Wejebe, and offered condolences to the family of the longtime friend and partner of the boat engine company.
Wejebe of Summerland Key in Florida was killed Friday afternoon in a plane crash immediately after takeoff from Everglades City, Fla. He was the host of “Spanish Fly,” a popular weekly fishing show sponsored by Mercury Marine that took viewers on exciting visual fishing journeys throughout the world.
Wejebe was well known and warmly embraced by the saltwater fishing community, not only for his remarkable fishing skills, but perhaps even more so for his gentle and humble appreciation of nature and people. He was a strong supporter of many charitable organizations, and had worked with Mercury Marine for more than a decade.
Mercury Marine will establish a memorial fund in Wejebe’s honor, with the specific cause still to be determined.
“Jose’s death obviously comes as a terrible shock and will create a huge gap not only in the world of fishing, but also in everyone who knew Jose or benefited from his kind generosity and remarkable perspective,” said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine. “He was a great friend of this company and a wonderful person. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.”
Mercury worked closely with Wejebe, benefiting from the skills and knowledge that made him one of the most respected anglers in the saltwater world.
“Jose had a unique ability to be calm and humble and at the same time get you excited and feel special,” said Mike Shedivy, vice president of marketing at Mercury. “He made a difference in people’s lives around the world.”
One of the most memorable partnerships between Wejebe and Mercury took place when he completed a previously unattempted nonstop run from Key West, Fla., to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, on a Mercury Verado-powered 39-foot Sea Vee boat to record an episode of “Spanish Fly.” The demanding trip provided great adventure for Wejebe and his viewers, and great footage for Mercury.
“That trip really helped drive home to his followers how reliable and powerful the new Verado was,” said Steve Miller, product manager for Mercury’s large outboards. “He believed in our products and ran them with pride for well over a decade. We were fortunate to have such a talented and respected outdoorsman on our team.
“He was the kind of guy folks loved to hang around – soft-spoken, eloquent and very genuine. Those traits carried over into his shows, which is what helped set them so far apart from the rest.”