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

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


Exploring new water with the Magic Stick

I had a day to mess around while I waited for a buddy to call back about fishing the next day. Ariell and I spent the day fishing a new-to-us stream -- out of cell reception.

I had been fishing five days for Bull trout throwing huge streamers and weighted lines with Jerry's 10 weight pent. I was also rowing my wooden drift boat often in white-capping waves, and was a little worn out. I needed a day's rest to fish a small stream, and found one on my forest map that looked promising. After driving up the road as far as I could, I found a little piece of water that was perfect for the Magic Stick -- the walking stick/bamboo fly rod combo Glenn made me for just such a stream.

Ariell and I hiked west toward the sun setting behind forested mountains. Really. I'm not making this up just for my blog. This is how the setting was! We trenched through crusty, melting snow banks and finally rounded enough river-bends to get away from any signs of human presence.

Ariell rounds a river-bend looking for squirrels. There were some huge Gray Squirrels that looked a bit appetizing to us both.

I used the walking stick to check snow depths as I ducked through Ponderosa pine trees. It worked pretty well, except I fell to my knees in snow a half dozen times, anyway. The water was Gin clear and in perfect condition. I was pretty excited as I pulled the 3/4 weight bamboo rod from the walking stick and got it ready to find whatever might be swimming below me. I had never fished the stream before, knew not what was in it, and felt like a squirrel in a pecan grove, waiting to see what the river's shell hid below.


It's silly, I know, but I always feel a bit like King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone, when I pull this beautiful rod form the walking stick. The hole in the reel butt cap was purposely drilled by Glenn, to accommodate a lanyard to pull the rod out with. I took the lanyard off, concerned I'd catch it in a willow, get the rod yanked from my hand and smashed on rocks. As I've written above, I'm a bit of a klutz at times. I was just taking a precaution...

It took a while, fishing a stonefly nymph and my Marathoner fly imitations to find the fish. Once my line finally paused on a drift, I lifted, set the hook and tossed the little Redband fishy on to the snow bank behind me! Oops. He wasn't very big, I have to admit -- about the size of many montaine Brookies, but it was oddly colored.


It took me a while to identify this guy as a Redband. It was so black I thought it was a Brookie at first. I thought maybe it was some unique strain of Redband, but after another specimen took my fly, I discovered what was going on.


They were in spawning colors! The bright orangish stripe on this ol' gal is evidence of the Spring spawn. Very cool. This was one of the bigger fish I caught, and just such a beautiful fish.


Here's a bit more of a chrome specimen that liked my soft-hackled stonefly nymph. It put up a pretty decent fight -- for an eight-incher, and was a pleasure to catch on the little Magic Stick. 

After catching a handful of Redbands and being thoroughly pleased with the evening's fishing, I was getting thirsty for a barley, river-soda (beer), and took the time to sit on the riverbank with Ariell and watch the sun dip below the Mountains. I'll be back to this river for sure. Gonna hike a little farther and see what else I can find, Sweetgrass rod in hand!


Ariell looks for rabbits, while I photograph the upper end of where we fished to. What a great day.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy


Back in Montana
The Magic Stick's first field test
 

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