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

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

Catching up on a lot of fishing

My hands have been so slimy from catching fish, I need another pair of pants to wipe them on. Okay, maybe I have not been that busy catching fish, but I have still been pretty busy fishing. I also have upgraded my computer to a different operating system, and am in transition on software updates. And, because of frozen hands, and hooks snagged in my arm while trying to release a Rainbow trout -- I dropped my underwater camera deep in a river, where it is gone forever. Collecting fodder for blogging has been slowed down, but my time on the water has been steady since my last writing. Below is a summary of what I have been doing through the end of last year, in to this year. Keep in mind many days are missing, just like my frickin' camera.

Holidays are always a time for me to fish. So, this past Christmas, Sarah, Ariell and I made it to my old man's place to celebrate. It had been a while since I drilled a hole in ice, and Sarah had never been, so I talked her in to a day of ice-fishing on Christmas Eve. It was great to be in my home mountain range, on familiar water, on a beautiful day.

I kept thinking, maybe the dogs should have been attached to the sled so I could work less. But, I guess it is not like fishing is really that hard...

But as simple as it is to drill a hole, find a stick, tie a line to it and bait a hook, I still managed to only catch one tiny Cutthroat. Tiny. Sarah caught a pretty nice 10 inch or so, Brookie. I have pics. somewhere, but this is where my computer swap and camera drop come in to play. And as much as I enjoy fishing with natural materials, I thought there must be a better way. Besides, once your girlfriend starts out-fishing you on her first time out, it is best to change the game! Actually, I am very happy for her. It was very wonderful to see her freeze and still have fun.

On Christmas day, Sarah wanted to walk around, and see my home town. I brought a 2-piece, Sweetgrass pent. rod to try my luck on the crick that runs through town.

I am fishing literally 100 feet from Main St. in this pic. The school I used to go to is on the ridge across the river, about a 1/4 mile away. You can see the tire tracks from vehicles that drive by once in a while. And beneath the ice banks are trout! This stream is pretty terrible in the Winter. The latest I have ever caught a fish on this stream was early Dec., and the earliest was early March (on a dry fly). I had high hopes, but no luck catching anything. Sarah and I saw the town, and looked in many holes, but alas Christmas 2011 went fishless.

I needed a sign. Something was amiss, as I was not catching fish. I had to talk to the mountains and see what they said.

I climbed the nearest mountain -- okay a huge boulder covered in snow, to seek solace and guidance. I had some dogs to help out. They chewed on sticks while I looked over the mountain-side. Finally, something reverberated within my soul. I think it was hypothermia.

The next day, on our way back to Montana, we stopped on a little river that started my habit for Winter fly fishing. As soon as I could drive, I started fishing this stream through frozen months, and often had good luck. This day, I stopped not too far off a highway, at the foot of the mountains to see if a secret hole of mine was still fishing like I remember.

There is an obvious hole just below where I'm standing. My secret hole is a section upstream in seemingly featureless water. Below a tree is a deep scour where two faintly converging currents push edible organisms in to many trout noses. It only took a few casts with that wonderful Sweetgrass pent. before I hooked up. Oh yes!

I knelt to worship the fish that broke my fishless, holiday spell. It is good to honor the honorable Whitefish!

Ariell was relieved for me to catch something finally. She gets stressed when I get skunked, because she is such a thoughtful dog. I was happy, happy, joy, joy to have fish slime on my hands!

Okay, not every fish I catch has a small, down-turned mouth. Some are invasive, non-natives....

And they fight with vigor!

This little Brownie truly made my day. Several other Whitefish came to hand, but this guy fought quite brilliantly. The Brown was a great Holiday gift from the spirit of the mountain.

I fished a couple more times to end 2011. It was cold, my guides iced up frequently, but it was worth it. It was even worth loosing an important part of my life -- my camera. Before that tragedy, however, I filmed this New Years Day catch on a magnificent river. I fished a Sweetgrass 7 weight, hex rod to fight the battering winds in the valley. Follow the link to the Meandering Booboy channel on Youtube, and enjoy! It was an amazing Yellowstone Cuttie I will never forget.

January was busy, as most are. I was busy on the 23rd, getting another year older. Wiser I like to think, and I take some pride in having more jokes learned each year. The problem is I'm the only one that usually laughs...

At any rate, I visited some friends in NW Wyoming, and on the way home, stopped to fish a large tailwater on my 34th birthday. I fished my custom, 4/5 weight, 3-piece, pent, in a rather blinding snowstorm. The winds varied from a lot to quite a bit, while the snows sometimes pelted me, and sometimes just tickled a bit. After an hour or so fishing, and finding nothing, Sarah spied a pod of rising fish. She let me have a go, knowing I get cranky if I don't catch fish, and I was a ways away from the mountains to be talking to any mountain-spirits for help...

I cast, switched flies, cast, and switched flies...

Check out the bend in that beautiful rod!!! It just punched my dry and emerger flies right on in to the wind. Soon, I figured out the flies, hook-set, and all the goodness that goes in to catching fish on bamboo.

The first fish on my birthday was a fine, native specimen! I love how you can see the blowing snow streaking across my face. Real warm. I caught so many of these guys I lost complete track of numbers and time. But, those two subjects are some of my worst, anyway. I worked downstream, trying the edges of the rising pod, looking for a trout. About the time I was ready to pack 'er in, I hooked in to a fish that fought with a different spirit. It even jumped three times!!! I thought it was a Rainbow, but a minute later, I had it close enough to notice the chrome-colored Brown. Crazy. A jumping Brown. It was likely around 16 inches, but I released it quickly after catching it. My photographer was back in the car getting warm, and that beautiful Brown is left to keep in my mental Rolladex. It is such a nice memory. Every trip to any water anywhere is wonderful, as long as I'm casting Sweetgrass.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Booboy

No one said it would be easy
Winter winds whip the river, but the fish are risi...


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