Back by popular demand, Big Sky Anglers’ Euro Nymphing Masterclass with Robert Van Rensburg.  These were a big hit among anglers last year, and Robert has added some new twists to the curriculum for 2019, including an advanced class for those who have already attended one of the earlier courses.  Read on below for details and dates.  If you are interested in signing up, stop in or call the shop at 406-646-7801.  And remember, if you have a group interested in taking one of these classes, Robert may be able to set up a class on a different date than these pre-scheduled classes, so don’t be afraid to ask.


I took Big Sky Angler’s first Euro Nymphing Fundamentals Masterclass with Robert Van Rensburg and was pleasantly surprised by the knowledge I gained that day.  Although I have been experimenting with the process, I had been struggling to improve over the past year.  After a day with Robert I was able to have a better grasp on the important “tuck cast” and how to implement your left hand during the drift.  All this took place, one on one, while standing in the Madison River. As I looked around that day almost everyone in the class was catching fish. There are a lot of great fishermen in the Yellowstone area but not a lot of good teachers. Robert seems to have achieved both.   

– Bill Ruppel, Island Park, Idaho


If you’ve been by the fly shop the past year you may have met Robert Van Rensburg.  Quiet and humble, Robert’s demeanor betrays his level of experience and knowledge when it comes to fly fishing in general, and Euro Nymphing in particular.  A native South African, Robert has traveled the world, fished in 17 countries, and guided in 4 countries, including in Chile with BSA co-owner Jonathan Heames.  He has also traveled as an instructor of both fly casting and fly tying.  Robert’s deep knowledge of Euro Nymphing stems in part from his background in competition angling.  He has represented South Africa at 13 World and Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships, 11 times as the national team captain.  Robert held the seat of President of the National body of fly fishing in South Africa for 6 years, and has since been named as an Honorary life President.  This year, he was honored with Elite Pro status by SAGE fly rods.  Despite his background, experience, and accolades, Robert remains humble and true to the roots of fly fishing.  He loves being on the water, challenging himself to learn new things, and appreciates the beauty of an 8-inch cutthroat as much as the heft of an 8-pound brown. We are lucky to have him on the BSA staff and are thrilled to be able to share his knowledge through courses A valid Montana fishing license required.  It is recommended that you bring your own waders.  Feel free to also bring any tackle that you own that is specific to Euro Nymphing.like this one.

Please read on for more info, and don’t hesitate to call the shop for more info or to get signed up for the class.


Courses Offered in 2019

Saturday, June 8th – Euro Nymphing Fundamentals

Saturday, August 17th – Euro Nymphing Fundamentals

Saturday, October 5th – Advanced Euro Nymphing  

See below for course curricula.

All Classes run from – 8am to 5pm  

8am-Noon Off the water instruction at Big Sky Anglers fly shop, 39 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT

Noon to 1 pm – Lunch is provided

1-5 pm – On the water instruction

Cost – $150 per person, lunch is included

A valid Montana fishing license required.  It is recommended that you bring your own waders.  Feel free to also bring any tackle that you own that is specific to Euro Nymphing.

Euro-Nymphing specific rods/reels/lines will be provided.

Special thanks to Kurt Kruger of Farbank for providing a selection of awesome demo SAGE ESN Rod setups for these classes!

Class size is limited to 10 students.  Spots are expected to fill up fast.

Euro Nymphing Fundamentals – Course Curriculum

The following topics will be covered in detail over the course of the day.

  1. Defined: The difference between Euro/Tight-line Nymphing and Indicator Nymphing.
  2. Essential gear for Euro Nymphing. Rods. Reels. Lines.
  3. Setting up tackle.  Balancing reel to rod.  Joining fly line to backing and leader.
  4. Leader formulas and lengths. When to use various leaders and leader formulas. Knots.
  5. Flies.  Importance of profile,  movement and trigger points. Size of fly, size of weighted beads.  Effects of colored beads on flies. Understanding UV and florescence in tying materials.  Understanding hook design and using the correct hooks for varying patterns and bead weights. Tying materials that give the best results . Weighting flies.
  6. Setting up tippets with multiple flies. Where to place and fish weighted flies on the leader.
  7. Tippet materials.  Diameter,  brand, fluorocarbon and nylon.
  8. Reading a river. Understanding water hydraulics.  Water temperature.  Fish species.  Time of year.
  9. Tuck cast. Tuck and reach.  Oval cast. Roll cast. Casting distance. Double haul . Use and importance of non-casting hand.  Casting for shallow and deep water.
  10. Presentation and Drifts.  Drag free drifts. Fishing 360′ degrees.  Line management.  Inducing takes.
  11. Fishing in the wind.
  12. Detecting takes and striking fish.
  13. Playing and landing fish. Landing nets.
  14. Practical session on the river with demonstrations plus one-on-one instruction.

 Advanced Euro Nymphing – Course Curriculum

This course is for those who have attended one of Robert’s Euro Nymphing Fundamentals courses in 2018 or earlier in 2019.  The class builds on the topics in that course and will take your Euro system presentations to the next level.  If you have not taken one of Roberts earlier classes, but have significant Euro Nymphing experience and are interested in this course, give the shop a call and talk to Robert to determine if the class will still work for you.  The following topics will be covered in detail over the course of the day.

  1. Leader design – longer French leaders
  2. Casting French leaders
  3. Fishing the Dry/Dropper with the Euro system
  4. Nymphing 360 degrees on the river – upstream, downstream, across, and at all angles in between
  5. Fly Design, hook, and material selection
  6. Fishing streamers and soft hackles on the Euro system
  7. Practical session on the river with demonstrations plus one-on-one instruction.