By Abigail Haddock
Twelve years after the launch of their frame celebrating a legend of the fishing community gone too soon, one of Costa Sunglasses’ best options for anglers is getting some ultimate upgrades.
In honor of Florida Keys angler Jose Wejebe, Costa Sunglasses launched new Jose PRO sunglasses in its fall 2022 collection. Building from the original Jose frame launched in 2010, the 2022 model includes several upgrades designed to ensure a comfortable experience during prolonged fishing trips – dedicated sweat channels, side shields to block out excess light and fully adjustable nose pads, to name a few.
“What an admirable legacy left behind. You can’t help but be inspired when you think about Jose. You hear it in countless testimonies of his life,” said John Acosta, Costa’s vice president of marketing. “It’s a privilege to carry on his legacy and to continue honoring the role Jose played in the angling community – breaking barriers and inspiring others to do the same.”
Along with the release of the new sunglasses, Costa released a short film on YouTube titled “Open Waters | Costa Films presents Jose PRO,” which details the massive impact that Jose had on the Florida Keys and the fishing community before his passing in 2012.
“A lot of the younger generation don’t know who he was, because he’s been gone for 10 years now,” said Krissy Wejebe, Jose’s daughter. “But I’m a firm believer that true legends never die. I think Costa doing this, even so long afterwards, is a testament to that.”
Jose Wejebe’s passion for life on the water inspired thousands of fishers and boaters. Perhaps best known for the ESPN TV shows “Spanish Fly” and “Vida Del Mar,” Jose would travel to learn different fishing techniques and knowledge, and then share this knowledge with fellow fishermen in the Florida Keys community. But he was “not just a fisherman but more of a ‘waterman,’” said Krissy, “because he didn’t just fish. He dove, he did underwater photography, he was a dolphin trainer at Miami Seaquarium, he was a tropical fish collector, a kiteboarder, he did everything in our waters.
“I think what really made him different from other anglers, and something that would be amazing to see more of, is that he was a fisherman who got wet. His background in animal training really gave him a leg up in that he understood how these fish behaved on their own. How did they eat? … He would spend the time underwater and really watch for those things, and then apply them to fishing.”
Jose also saw the importance of protecting the oceans and conserving these resources for the future. “He was always that captain, if he saw a water bottle floating, he’d stop the boat and pick it up,” said Krissy. “What does it take to pass that knowledge to the next generation? It’s up to us to teach our kids how to take care of what we have.”
Jose also made time to work for several different charities, including the Make A Wish Foundation, the Redbone Fishing Tournament and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Now, that legacy of charity continues through the nonprofit Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation, with his daughter as the executive director. The organization works with individuals served by Make A Wish, the Outdoor Dream Foundation, the VA Hospital of Miami and Wesley House, bringing them out to experience not only the thrill and fun of a day on the water, but also the education that comes from making a connection with nature.
In celebration of the new sunglass frames and Jose’s legacy, Costa announced an additional donation to the foundation, further cementing a longstanding partnership.
The foundation worked to help the Keys recover from the devastation of Hurricane Irma, cleaning up more than 300,000 pounds of debris, and is currently helping to bring relief to victims of Hurricane Ian, with several teams already sent to assess critical needs in the affected communities.
The foundation’s next move is starting an angler mentorship program. “We’re teaching the next generation of anglers, ‘this is how you fish,’” said Krissy. “The right way to release a bonefish, using circle hooks versus J hooks, how to rig up ballyhoo … taking all that education from guides who have been doing it for 30 years and passing it down to the next generation.”
Whether it’s for nostalgia, to learn from a legendary fisherman, or to share the show with kids, “Spanish Fly” is now available on several streaming platforms including Amazon Prime, Waypoint TV and Obsession Media. In addition to the Jose PRO sunglasses, Costa also has new Spanish Fly apparel to continue spreading the legacy of Spanish Fly and Jose’s work. For more on the new frames and the Wejebe family’s charitable work, visit costadelmar.com or josewejebememorialfoundation.org.