Readers Cast


Pete Johnson - Apr 08, 2013

Hell's Bay pro team remembers Jose Wejebe

Wejebe Memorial Professional Guide Award presented at 2013 HB Guides Rendezvous

TITUSVILLE, Fla. -- Capt. Jeff Legutki, a Naples/Marco guide who also charters fly and light tackle anglers in the Everglades, became the first recipient of the Jose Wejebe Memorial Professional Guide Award during the second annual Hell's Bay Boatworks' Guides Rendezvous.

Wejebe, a popular and valued member of the Hell's Bay's world class pro team, died April 6th of last year, after his single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Everglades City, Fla., where he had finished taping a segment with Legutki for his Spanish Fly fishing show. Weather is believed to have been a factor in the death of the much respected host of the long-running show which began in 1995 on ESPN and later on the Outdoor Channel.

A resident of Summerland Key in the Florida Keys, Jose was 54.  He was admired for his kindness and recognized for his many charitable efforts, especially in the Keys.

Hell's Bay Director of Sales & Marketing Capt. Todd Fuller said the honor will be awarded each year to a Hell's Bay Professional Guide who has shown superior professionalism with a focus on conservation, education, and promoting ethical fishing practices on the shallow water flats. 

"Guides themselves nominate one of their peers and we review on the criteria," he said.

"It was kind of apropos Jeff received the award," said Fuller. "It was a pretty special and touching moment; a tough but bittersweet moment. Jose's daughter Krissy Wejebe and his longtime cameraman and friend Mikey Torbisco, presented the award to Jeff who was the last person to be on camera with Jose, doing what he loved –fishing for his TV show."

Some 40 Hell's Bay guides from around the country were joined by pro staffers including Flip Pallot, Andy Mill, C.A. Richardson and Rob Fordyce.

"Many shared stories of being together with Jose for the last time at the first rendezvous or meeting with anglers at the Hell's Bay exhibit in the Miami Boat Show."

"Jose was a great ambassador for Hell's Bay Boatworks and the sport of shallow water fishing," said Fuller.  "He was a unique blend of flats captain, writer, producer, TV host and a leading fly and light tackle fishing educator who loved fishing and the environment.

"He was dedicated to sharing his life experiences to make a difference. This award honors Jose and all the great qualities he shared with the world. We hope to honor our professional guides, as they continue on the path which Jose so passionately paved for us."

Hell's Bay Hull #1 found in the Bahamas; other Guides Rendezvous notes

The guides also heard from an excited company president Chris Peterson who after a recent trip to the Bahamas found and brought back to exhibit the first Hell's Bay's hull created in 1997. Pallot who was one of the original startup owners of Hell's Bay, told how it got there.

Peterson also shared the company's vision with the guides, and Fuller added his thoughts on a variety of marketing projects for the year. Building up to a steak dinner, the guide's event also included casting competitions for accuracy and distance, a mullet toss, and a dunk tank featuring several HB executives to raise funds for the Jose Wejebe – Spanish Fly Memorial Foundation.

Krissy Wejebe and Mikey Torbisco (rt) awarded Everglades guide Capt. Jeff Legutki (center) with the first Jose Wejebe Memorial Professional Guide Award and a never before seen print of the last tarpon Jose ever caught while filming with Capt. Jeff last spring in Everglades National Park. To the left in front of Hell's Bay first hull recently found in the Bahamas are president Chris Peterson and company Director of Sales & Marketing Todd Fuller.

Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications
E-mail:, ph: 480-951-3654


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