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

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

craftsmanship on a big ol' river

I'm not sure how often it happens, but it seems to more and more, when I'm on the water. It is getting to where a lot of the gear I fish with, has been hand-crafted. Sometimes, it's something I messed with, most times it's something a friend has made. Sometimes it is a cooperative effort. A recent trip floating my newly restored wooden drift boat brought out a lot of homespun creations that were able to withstand rugged conditions.

Somehow, I was able to talk Sarah, my girlfriend, in to a February trip to Montana, and go floating down a river. It wasn't as big of a surprise, but I was also able to talk Scott Anderson, a guiding buddy from Missoula, in to doing the float. And Ariell is always ready to go, don't matter what the weather!

"Zac it's frickin' cold! Sarah, can I sit on your lap and lick your ear?"

Me on the left, and Scott on the right. I am holding a Sam Drukman, Sweetgrass graphite creation. It's a sweet-tossing 9'3", 8 weight. It's not a typical trouting rod, but I knew the wind was going to blow, and the delicate tips Sam uses help to keep tippets intact on the hook-set. Here, we are rigging up at the put-in. From the put-in, we floated to the put-out... (That's a joke...sorta...)

This is a fine example of expressive "cabin fever." Though realistically, we are mostly expressing our happiness to finally be out of the car and icy roads, and ready to take my boat on it's first float since I got it painted. It's not quite done, as I need to put on more paint, adjust the oars and seats, and do some more work on the wood trim, but I first wanted to see if I fixed the one leak I was aware of before continuing work on 'er! This was also Sarah's first attempt at real-live fly-fishing (as opposed to just casting). She was a trooper and even had a good time. She took all the photos you are looking at -- well, except this one. Scott took this one. Ariell just wanted to chase Jackrabbits.

We shoved off, and I took a few strokes to see how she handled, and she did well. I didn't see any leaks, then concentrated on the fishing. I handed Scott the Sweetgrass graphite rod to start. To my right, (viewer's left), you can see a bamboo rod with an interesting history. The tip is a section I made for a prototype rod, but never finished out. I gave the blank to Scott, who had Dave, at Sweetgrass finish it out and add a more fitting butt section than what I designed for it. The finished rod really is a great 8'3", five weight. A great example of bamboo team work.

Jess, a friend of mine, made the stocking hat I am wearing, and it has held up to years of my abuse. Good job, Jess! And Morrison Simms, another good friend, made the lanyard to the right, near the oar tucked under my leg. Good job Morrison! Don't pay attention to the other rod next to the bamboo rod...

Scott took the bow first, to show Sarah some techniques on fishing from a boat. Scott wasn't too far in to his presentation before he hooked up. We were all pretty excited, as it looked to be a great day of catching fish.

"Don't horse it, Scott!"

And the first fish to my boat is a...

Oh, a Whitefish. Well, here's to native fish! It was a fatty that fought heartily. I truly have a soft spot for Whities, and often target them, believe it or not. Another point in craftsmanship, is that Scott made the frame for the net, holding the Whitie. He made the net for me last Summer, and it has turned in to a great boat net.

Scott worked the tail end of that water, and quickly hooked in to another fish. Wow. Scott sure is talented. Or lucky.

A decent Brownie! And a great-looking net frame, minus my ingenious zip-tie connectors. I simply didn't feel like drilling holes in the frame, so just attached the bag (what most people call the net, but what the bag-makers call the bag; the wood is the frame), any way I could. I'll fix it one of these days...

Good job Scott -- for a guy who fishes worms...

Scott did quite a bit of rowing, and we both worked on coaching Sarah through the sport of fly-fishing. Somehow we didn't take any pictures... She hooked a few fish, but we didn't quite get them to the boat. Maybe next trip. I hooked a nice Brownie, way bigger than Scott's, but somehow it fell off before a picture could be taken. The cameras were frozen. That was it, yeh! The day got a bit chilly as the wind picked up through the afternoon, but we had a great time. It was a great day spent with great friends, using gear we and our friends made. Hard to beat a day like that.

See ya later big river. I will miss you, until next time. See ya later also, big ol' eagle.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy

They were in the surface!
A day with master craftmen


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Sweetgrass Rods ~~ P.O. Box 486 ~~ 121 West Galena ~~ Butte, Montana 59703
406.782.5552 ~~
(shipping deliveries to 60 West Galena)

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