Capt. Jeff Legutki, a Naples/Marco, Fla., 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 Hell’s Bay’s world-class pro team, died April 6, 2012, when 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 host of the long-running show, which began in 1995 on ESPN and later was shown on the Outdoor Channel.
A resident of Summerland Key in the Florida Keys, Wejebe was 54.
The award was presented by Wejebe’s daughter, Krissy, and his longtime cameraman and friend Mikey Torbisco.
Capt. Todd Fuller, Hell’s Bay’s director of sales and marketing, said the honor will be given 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,” Fuller said in a statement. “Jose was a great ambassador for Hell’s Bay Boatworks and the sport of shallow water fishing. 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.”