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Lost Zac - the Meandering Boo Boy

Photos and Meditations on Fly Fishing in Southwest Montana and wherever.....

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Rob Koehn's first fish on bamboo

Posted by on in On the Road Blog
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It is hard for me to believe that there are people who have not caught a fish on a bamboo fly rod. Yet, they are out there. When I heard that my friend Rob Koehn of Bozeman, Mont., fell in to this category of deprived anglers, I invited him to float with a few friends down a wild river and cast cane. 
Rob is a streamer-stripping maniac, and he did not even graduate from Orofino high school (mascot: the Maniacs, location: across the street from the Idaho state mental facility). So, as we boarded my wooden drift boat, I rigged up a Sweetgrass seven weight rod with a floating six weight, weight forward line. Then, Rob attached a sinking leader to get his huge streamers beneath the river's surface. The sun beat through sparse clouds and bounced up to burn our faces. We were concerned the fish might stay hidden in the harsh, revealing light. But, several black thunderheads rushed through the valley at odd intervals, and mixed up fish activity enough to allow some action. 
Rob got his timing down, waiting a bit longer on his back-cast, letting the rod load and do the work for him. As he smashed the banks over, and over, we grew more tense with each line-strip knowing a fish was going to take. But, it took a while. But, finally....
Rob was thrilled at this fish, as was I, as was Sammy, his Wiener dog, who we pretty much just call Wien. Wien is hidden mostly by the fish, but Wien is kinda small. He makes up for it with cuteness. Almost. 
The day continued with a few fish, many wind bursts, some rain, and great fun. A perfect fishing trip. I must get back to the river with Rob, Wien and the wooden boat.
One last fish presented itself for Rob! What a monster. A while later, the valley darkened, the wind hushed and lights punched cumulous clouds. The boat ramp finally appeared in a black notch in the bank, and we packed for home -- happy to have bamboo, wooden boats and great friends. 
In Wild Waters,
Zac Sexton
The Meandering Booboy
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Bamboo fly rods are the most mystical fishing instruments ever fashioned by craftsmen. In fact the craftsmanship of these rods surpasses their usefulness. They have become collectable objects of desire. The Sweetgrass rod company, staffed by the legendary Boo Boys, combine several decades of rod-making expertise to craft some of the most artful rods found astream. It is Glenn Brackett and his quads, as well as Jerry Kustich's pent. rods that lead many bamboo enthusiasts to Twin Bridges, driving Hwy. 41 with a smile on their face.

In 2005, I made this journey to meet the Boys. They have gone out of their way to help me in bamboo rod making, fishing tips, and life in general. Jerry even invited me to sleep on the shop floor, when a snowstorm loomed over the Tobacco Root mountains, and I planned on camping out. They are always so giving!

Through the years I have been lucky enough to help in the shop, splitting bamboo, sanding nodes, sweeping the floor and other miscellaneous jobs. The Boys have always made me feel welcome, and at home. I have learned much about the magic of bamboo, and get to try out different rods every time I visit. I've only broken one, so far.

During a recent conversation, Dave Delisi and I, talked about the revised web site and other shop news. I love to write, and fish more than I do much else. I've tried to work, but it just doesn't work out that well. I am usually found wading meandering streams, casting cane (or one of Sam's wonderful carbon fiber rods) – if I am found at all. Given my propensity to fish, and tell tall, adventurous tales, Dave and I thought it might be interesting to post stories on the Sweetgrass site, to keep visitors coming back to the shop – either online or in person. We cast the idea to Glenn and Jerry, who were happy to go ahead with the project.

Therefore, I am happy to announce my official designation as the Meandering Boo Boy, and will be posting weekly blogs on the Website. The blogs will cover my adventures astream, casting Sweetgrass cane. They may be short, amusing stories, details of life in the shop, or just a pictorial from a recent fishing trip.

My name is Zac Sexton, and I am from the Bighorn mountains in northeast Wyoming. There, I started casting my dad's old fiberglass fly rod at age seven. By 12 years of age, I was fishing that rod for Bass and Bluegill in a nearby pond. It wasn't until age 15 that I actually caught a fish with a fly rod! At 17, I bought my first bamboo fly rod from an antique shop, and managed to entice many trout to bite my offerings. I was smitten with bamboo rods from the first time I laid eyes on one.

During my formative years, I worked at a local fly shop, tying flies for it at age 16, and guiding anglers by 17. In college I restored several old rods, and managed to get published in a few newspapers and magazines. I wrote for the University of Idaho college paper, as well as an outdoor column for the Lewiston Morning Tribune.

After college, I traveled around the country – fishing for the most part. I made my first bamboo rod, starting from the culm, in 2006, and am still busy working on my own rods, as a hobby. I currently guide outdoor and fly-fishing trips for the Rock Creek Cattle Company, outside of Deer Lodge, Mont., and fish on my days off. I look forward to hearing from Sweetgrass fans, and hope you enjoy my stories.


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