Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Jose Wejebe. But I know many folks who did know him and through his programs I absorbed his many insights and reflections. I looked forward to episodes of 'Spanish Fly'. He was as genuinely freaky fish geeky as I am. If I thought otherwise, I'd have changed the channel.
Public figures put themselves, their lives, their family histories, their thoughts, philosophies, and feelings into the public. We get to know them and they become part of our lives - for better or worse. Jose was a part of many lives... for the better.
What WAS it about Jose that captured so many hearts? My answer: He was genuinely enthusiastic. He was genuinely in love. He adored fishing, and fishes, and friends and family. And he loved sharing his passion for living a life on, around, and below the water. He had tremendous respect for fishes and the environment. He was gentle, sincere, and patient. He became the model of what a fisherman should be: a steward, a spokesman, a conservationist... an ambassador.
The world has lost one of its best.
He will be missed, but his message will carry on.