MY MEMORIES OF BOB ROBERTS
By Ed Morphis
I was never in Bob’s tying class, but he gave me individual instruction in his workshop. When I had questions about tying his flies, he insisted I come to his home where he taught me how to tie a Vernille Caddis Fly that is a killer (I think he called it the Extended Body Caddis), and his patented Roberts’ Rogue Hopper (which is marketed by Umpqua Feather Merchants). He was very generous with his time, knowledge and energies. I was fortunate to take his rod wrapping class and help with it the next year (which means I got to experience the class again without paying for it). I am enriched because I knew him. He was a more valuable person than he realized.
Bob Roberts was a prime mover in developing the Southern Oregon Fly Fishers club, and determining the nature of it. He saw to getting world class presenters for the programs. He also served it in various capacities, both official and informal. He had, for many years, served the fly fishing community with guiding, providing materials; tying flies, building rods, etc.
I have been attempting to build the history of Bob’s steelhead fly, the “Rogue Goblin,” which he developed. Because Bob was always humble and low key about his accomplishments, I have been unable to retrieve much history from the memory of others about the fly. The only facts I have, come from John Shewey, Steelhead Flies, pp. 75 and 204; a column by Dick Adams in the Newsletter of the Southern Oregon Fly Fishers, May 2002 with a Spey version of the fly, with no attribution; and two different versions of the fly from estates of deceased members of the club (these only in my memory, as they were auctioned off, but they were labeled).
Therefore, the copies of the fly which I have tied come from Shewey’s book, where there are color pictures of the fly and the recipe. This version of the fly, I am convinced, is final, because Bob stopped tying shortly after the time of that publication. I was able to confirm this by Steve Bonner, who was very close to Bob. After talking to Steve, I am confident in my research. Steve indicated that Umpqua Feather Merchants had marketed this fly as well as the “Rogue Hopper,” but I find only the hopper in their 2000 and 2002 catalogs.
Rogue Goblin tied by Ed Morphis