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November General Membership meeting overview

The Snake River Cutthroats’ November meeting took place on Wednesday the 7th at the Shilo Inn with thirty five people present for the general business meeting as well as for the presentation by Robert Van Rensberg of Big Sky Anglers from West Yellowstone, Montana.  Things got underway at at about half past six with Robert doing a tying demonstration, and with the customary SRC/TU information and raffle tables in place and the meeting was called to order at 7:00 by club president Paul Patterson.  After welcoming first- time guests and – in honor of Veterans Day – acknowledging those present who have served our country, Paul covered the club concerns which included SRC-sponsored fishing outings, progress of the Expo committee, the upcoming Christmas party on the 12th of December and other administrative matters of importance for the general membership.

Paul then introduced Robert and Justin Spence who had trudged across the tundra and the newly fallen snows of West Yellowstone to get to Idaho Falls.


Justin is one of the owners of Big Sky Anglers (formerly Bud Lilly’s shop) who spoke and introduced Robert whom he had met in Argentina several years ago when the two of them were providing guide services during the northern hemisphere winter months.  Robert is native to the Republic of South Africa and has been fishing all of his life and has the distinction of having fished in seventeen countries as well as coaching with great distinction and success nationally-based competitive fly fishing teams – particularly the Czech National Team.  Interestingly, Robert is living and working in the United States on what is known as an Elite Athlete Work Visa.  Justin asked Robert to join the staff at Big Sky Anglers and to bring his expertise and understanding of Euronymph fishing techniques to this part of the world.  We are fortunate to have Robert here.


Robert began his presentation with directness and dialogue that was oriented to revealing the science and art of Euronymph fishing techniques.  He explained the history of what is generally called Euronymph technique and how that has been further developed into different “schools” in Spain, The Czech Republic, Poland and France and other world-wide localities as well.  Overall technique was discussed and referenced essentially a stationary position in water and working in a full-circumference coverage of the water employing a line assemblage (which he also explained and demonstrated in detail)  that does not generally exceed twice the length of the rod being used.  Robert referred to the technique as being “irresistably versatile” …


Equipment was then addressed and Robert spoke of utilizing long rods (10-13 feet in length) with a soft tip and the importance of rod and reel balance particularly emphasized. The concept of the tuck cast that is essential and germane was explained and then demonstrated; the foundation of employing tuck casting and the arcs and rod positions that result from this technique create minimal disturbance of the surface of the water and cause the jig-headed tungsten flies to immediately descend into the deeper waters and, hence, the trout lies and feeding lanes of lesser velocity and in a manner that is drag-free and helps to avoid the deadly “green swamp snot” that other technical line set-ups can potentially produce.


Robert explained very clearly the importance of hand and wrist positioning and he particularly emphasized the importance of the line control hand for not only tight lines but for control of responding to a strike and engaging the fish. Finesse and light touch (and lots of practice and experience, no doubt) allow for use of very fine-diametered and supple soft tippets where line control and directing landing/netting activity toward the fish produce prodigious results.  The audience was captivated by Robert’s presentation and there is a depth of appreciation and understanding that this gentleman possesses with just two nymph-specific rods, line constructs and jig headed tungsten flies as the props/equipment that he used to convey the concept of Euronymphing. Thank you, Robert, and Justin as well, for a grand presentation; science and art blended together and bringing to light this very fascinating aspect of the world of fishing.

Submitted by Paul Voegeli

SRC Board of Directors member


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