The following is a letter Jose received from Christian after filming the show as he recollected his last fishing trip. The episode of Spanish Fly on 1/11/09 is dedicated in loving memory of Jose’s good friend, Christian Goodpaster. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.
Gustav nor Transplant Bays Good Friends and Fishing Memories
By Christian Goodpaster
We set off from Key West Yacht club just as the sun began to rise. As the Action-Craft skiff begins to come on plane across the greenish tinted water, I am thankful I have been blessed for another day of life. Today isn’t just another day, today I’m fishing and filming with Jose Wejebe in the Florida Keys. Our quarry; fish and reflections of the past and present. A celebration of the “bro’s!”
Jose and I became friends after being paired as fishing partners by Gary Ellis (The founder of the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series which raises funds for Cystic Fibrosis research) during the 2000 Checca Redbone. Having been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in 1986 at the ripe old age of 1 1/2 years old, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted me a wish just before the Checca tournament in 2000. My wish was to go fishing with my idol, Jose Wejebe the “Spanish Fly”. I soon learned my “wish” would become reality, and was I ever charged!
Our guide for that very first tournament together was Capt. Dale Perez of Key Largo, a very knowledgeable guide who along with Jose, helped me catch my very first Redbone Slam, a redfish and bonefish. Along the way Jose taught me skills and tips to be a successful flats fisherman, and in the end an enduring friendship that has lasted for years. Since the trip I have been totally addicted to flats fishing, always looking forward to my next trip to the flats. I now have Jose to blame for being broke! Brotherly love!
I grew up with an ever increasing love for the outdoors. Having Cystic Fibrosis, (CF) I was limited by my teenage years of the activities I could participate in with my peers such as sports. CF is a genetic disorder in which the lungs cannot clear mucus of the airways like a normal person’s lungs would be able to do. The lungs eventually become a breeding haven for bacteria, and in turn over years destroys the lung’s airways. It’s very common for CF patients to be hospitalized more then once a year for IV therapy treatment, also referred to as a “cleanout”. The median age of survival when I was born in 1984 was 16 years of age.
Thanks to modern-day breakthroughs in treatment and therapy, the median survival rate is now up to an astonishing 32 years of age. Eventually, qualifying patients will undergo a lung transplant if they wish and qualify.
In 2000 I became sick enough that I had to be put on a lung transplant list myself. After narrowly escaping death in July 2000, (due to a series of infections) I moved from my home in Indiana to North Carolina to await my transplant. After waiting on the list forty months at the University of North Carolina, (UNC) I received my life saving double lung transplant February 16, 2004 after five dry-runs, (called in to find out the lungs are no good for one reason or another.) Five years later I am alive and most important, still on the water doing what I live for, fishing.
Times were not always so simple though. I couldn’t keep up with my peers in physical education class let alone play sports. Little would I know at the time, this would be the greatest thing that could have happened come a few years down the road.
As time went on I found myself fishing more than I ever had in the past. When I did go fishing my friends were always there for me. They helped with the launching of my boat, loading, and even packing me on their back up the boat ramp. Speaking of packing me on their back, one year my brother packed me in the woods for a spring turkey hunt. Two miles of carrying all our gear and myself on his back, our hunt would eventually prove successful later that morning, and a very tired brother!