The tradition continues at Sweetgrass Rods;
crafting fine bamboo fly fishing rods

   
Thanks for the wonderful craftsmanship. You guys are amazing.
Frank D.


A day with master craftmen

I often get to talk with rod-making experts on my travels. And every once in a while I manage to pin down ol' Glenn Brackett, and get to twist his ear with questions. Recently, I met up with him while he was giving a talk about Sweetgrass rods, and bamboo rods in general for a northwestern fly fishing club. I met Glenn with Craig, a longtime friend of his, at the Struble company. Jeff Pentecost, Struble owner, was able to break from his busy schedule to give us a tour of his new shop.

The best fly rods are made with the best components. Struble has long been known as makers of the best hardware. Sweetgrass orders custom-made parts for their rods from Struble, so it was pretty educational to tag along as Jeff, Glenn and Craig B.S.ed their way through the shop.


From L to R: Glenn, Jeff and Craig talk shop. The machine to Craig's right is a CNC mill, used to manufacture precision parts designed by the crew at Struble.


Here a CNC mill is getting prepped to make fly reel parts.


Nickel-silver tubing is pictured above. These tubes are used to make many parts, such as...


...these threaded barrels that are part of locking reel seats.


Struble also hand-crafts agate stripping guides using nickel-silver wire and polished agate. Beautiful, eh!

After touring the shop, we happened upon Bob Roth, president of Snake Brand guides (also used on Sweetgrass rods). We got to B.S. a bit, then Glenn grabbed some examples of his own work.

Here Glenn shows Jeff and Bob how one, delicate bamboo strip compares to the bound 8-sided tip section blank on the Octi-rods he has been designing as of late. The individual strip on an 8-sided rod is very thin, but when glued and bound, is powerful and resilient.

And last but not nearly least, Glenn's infamous walking-stick-rod...

Glenn is pulling a 6-sided, 6-foot long, 2 piece, 3/4 weight fly rod from an 8-sided walking stick made of bamboo. I'm rather flattered, but Glenn had me in mind while designing this unique fishing tool. I love to fish small, remote streams that are home to native fish, such as Cutthroat and Redband trout. Glenn came up with a way to help me hike miles using the walking stick, then catch beautiful and rare trout with a Sweetgrass rod perfected for native habitats. It truly is a wonderful tool that will soon be laminated in to my wandering lifestyle.


Here Jeff flexes the walking stick to check it's durability and characteristics. That is a sure sign of a craftsman -- one who is always messing with things. It was wonderful to be a "fly on the wall" and listen to Glenn and Jeff discuss ways to make better rods and components. It is that search for perfection that Sweetgrass and everyone associated in crafting fine rods that keeps our imaginative rivers rushing. I look forward to seeing more bamboo wonderment next time I'm in the shop -- get ready boys, I'll be there this weekend!

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy

craftsmanship on a big ol' river
A Valentine's kiss (from a fish of course!)
 

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Sweetgrass Rods ~~ P.O. Box 486 ~~ 121 West Galena ~~ Butte, Montana 59703
406.782.5552 ~~ sweetgrassrods@gmail.com
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