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

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

Rockin' the 10 wt. Pent.!

Sometimes just casting a rod can make an angler happy. This is especially good when you are steelheading, and they ain't biting. And this is especially true with Jerry Kustich's latest creation, a 9', 10 wt, 3 pc., pentagonal powerhouse.

Dave sent this prototype rod last week, for me to try out on my excursions looking for Chromeheads. I called the shop and B.S.ed with Jerry about the rod, before casting it on the lawn. Jerry suggested a 10 wt. line, however I had 9, 11 and 12 wt. lines to choose from. Somehow I missed stocking up on the appropriate line. Oops. Late last year, I mentioned I needed a big rod for salmon and Steelhead fishing. I didn't really need it for the fish (I had handled a 15 lb. Coho with a 6/7wt., and on one special occasion, a 20 lb. Steelhead with a 5 wt.), but I wanted some muscle to throw heavy flies and additional weight. Many of the runs I plan on fishing are deep and strong.

The rod that showed up at my door was a Pentagon rod -- I had expected a six or eight-sided rod, something more traditional in large rod sizes. However, Jerry was experimenting with the Pent. designs and wanted to see what they could do in the larger sizes. "I think it will cast a ten, but let me know what you think," Jerry told me before hanging up the phone. "I'd like to hear what you have to say."

After a couple lawn-cast sessions and a week of fishing for Chromeheads in Oregon, this is what I have to say, "I love it!"

I'm not just saying that. Again, I used a 9 wt. line to test it with, and think a 10 would better suit the rod, but I was able to cast small flies, large flies, and lots of weight anywhere from 20 feet to 100 feet away. My first test casts were easily going 80 feet with no hulling. Once I figured out this rod could cast, I pulled all the line off (100 feet), plus about 10 feet of backing off. I paced off 102 feet twice, and 99 feet several times. It was dark out, I couldn't see what I was doing, but I was still able to cast 100 feet with little effort.

On the river, I could shoot line with great accuracy, mend and roll-cast like a pro. Oh wait. I am a pro... What does that mean then? Anyway, it is a sweetheart of a rod, that shows Sweetgrass and the Boo Boys of Sweetgrass are always creating rods meant to raise eyebrows and fish with passion. Below is a step-by-step cast illustration to show the rod working in my latest yard session. Note the very tight loop in picture number seven! This is a great example of the loop control that can be had with pents. I am able to make wider loops when tossing several flies and weight (to reduce knots and collisions with rod), or punch it just a bit and let the line fly through the guides for pin-point accuracy. Man it feels good.

1) Loading her up with a back hull.

2) Punching her forward, while Ariell checks for gophers.

3) Continuing forward.

4) Forward still.

5) Beginning to make the loop.

6) Loop manufacture continued.

7) I don't think you can make a loop much tighter than this! Oh my goodness.

8) Lettin' 'er fly.

9) "Oh you want more line? There you go!"

10) That was nice. I think I'll do 'er again!

Jerry, you rock.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy

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It's my Birthday, it's my Birthday!

Rather, it was my 33rd Birthday on January 23rd. Been thinking about applying for Medicaid. Ha, ha! OK, I'm not that old, but I sure have a story to tell.

The past four years I have spent fishing a tailwater on my birthday. I started on the Bighorn in Montana, working my way south through Wyo., Colo., and finishing in New Mexico, on the San Juan last year. Last year, my English Setter, Mojo, died on the 22nd. My mom went on the fishing trip with me, after I finished burying him near a native Cutthroat stream in the Colo. Rockies. After returning, I found a good friend had ended his life on a trout stream in Wyo. What do you do after that? That was my cunundrum for this year's birthday.

Luckily, I still have a good fishin' buddy in Ariell, my Large Munsterlander, and a wonderfully understanding and outdoorsey girlfriend. On a whim, I decided to fish a river in Oregon I had visited before, and fell in love with. There was a chance Steelhead would be running, but I doubted they would be as far upstream as I wanted to go. My destination was a long drive, and a short but steep hike to an area infused with old and healthy second-growth timber, where few anglers ever venture. Ariell, Sarah and I loaded the rig, being sure to bring Sam's wonderful 9', 8 wt., graphite canon. Yep graphite. This rod is a perfectly-designed tool for tossing the heavy lines and flies I planned on fishing.

We found a few elk on the drive south. I think they are Roosevelts, but not sure. It's pretty
close to where Tule and Roosevelts both live. At any rate, it was cool to see them hanging

After a day's drive, we reached the trailhead. It was in the low 60s, even at our elevation!
It was the warmest b-day trip I have ever had -- by about 30 degrees.

Sarah toasted some Everything bagels (one of my favorite), and combined cream cheese
and the leftover salmon we roasted over the fire the night before, for an amazing b-day
breakfast! I usually just eat a granola bar and go. It was very nice to have something more
than coffee in my belly. Thank you Sarah.

We walked around a bit to check out the area. It was amazingly beautiful, warm and sunny. Hard to believe we were in the Northwest, eh! We found another possible route to the stream, but decided to go the way I had previously taken. Part of the route remained a mystery, as I just followed game trails down the canyon.

Sarah looking for the frickin' trail! I'm about five yards uphill of her, but my feet are about level with her head. Kinda steep.

"Hey guys, the river is right here!" Ariell hangs out near the confluence of the tributary we followed down, with the main river I planned to fish.

Oh yes, we are here. I love this place. Look, It's Jan. 23rd, and I'm not wearing a jacket, hat, or mittens. And I was warm! Crazy. OK, time to get this Sweetgrass rod ready to rock.

I'm gonna need some weight. Lots of it. I like to use the "tungsten putties" for many reasons. I find them easy to adjust, and they are not nearly as damaging to a rod if somehow you mess up your cast and hit the rod with line. Who does that?

Sarah and Ariell hiked around the river while I got my gear rigged. She found some bear tracks! Very cool. Odd that it's the middle of Winter, and bear tracks only a few days old at most, were prevalent. We also found another older set of tracks, likely set down before a previous rain storm, paralleling this set. I intitially guessed the bear to be huge (because that's fun in the wilderness), at around 500 pounds. But, upon later examination, it was probably just a little guy, from 150 to 200 pounds.

The hind foot track. This was a pretty good reminder for me that bears go through torpor, not technically hibernation. They will wake briefly during the Winter doldrums, and wander around.

Time to fish! I had seen anadromous fish working the middle of the channel before. So, I double-hulled a good 80 to 90 feet of line out like a frog slipping off a log. It was so easy.

"Wow, Zac," said Sarah. "You are almost casting completely across the river!" I know. I'm real cool. But it really was cool to see the line shoot out, and the flies plopping where I thought fish should be. Unfortunately, no fish were to be had on this birthday. It was the second time in five birthday trips, I didn't catch a fish. Oh well. It's about the fishing, right! On this trip, it truly was. I had such a great time checking out the beautiful, wildernessesque (It's not technically Wilderness), river. The warm weather and sunshine in the company of Sarah and Ariell, made for a fitting memorial to Mojo and Taylor. I will always remember this day, as I will always remember past fishing companions.

Here we are, ready to hike on out. See you later big river and Mr. Black Bear. See you some day soon. Right after Sarah recovers from spraining her ankle on the hike out; but that's another story.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy
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It's show time!

Blowing snow, driving rain and closed fishing seasons often drive anglers nuts. It personally feels a little like the circulation to my brain has a Vice Grip clamped on my carotid! I mean, really, closing fishing seasons? How does a little catch and release with a cane rod keep Gaia from living? I'll stop there...

To put a positive spin on such sadness, I thought I'd mention Sweetgrass Rods' move to the great Fly Fishing Show! The Boo Boys have set up "shop" within the Fly Fishing Show in an effort to keep anglers sane, keep in touch with friends and encourage new aquaintances to try Sweetgrass Rods. They are displaying new creations, some big, such as the eight-sided "Octorods" and the dainty Banty rods , some of the shortest fly rods available commercially. These are cool sticks, that I am drooling over. My casting arm has been twitching with excitement to try 'em out. Be sure you get to the next show in Somerset, New Jersey, Jan. 21-23 (my birthday!) to see the creative assemblages Glenn and the Boys have been working fingers to the bone over.

I'm still trying to find a good place to catch fish...

The ol' Octo rod, finished 7 1/2' rod, roughed strips and roughed tube. Very cool!

Ol' Davey, representin' Sweetgrass sticks at the Fly Fishing Show in Denver.

Some beautiful reels, reel seats and Sweetgrass rods ready for action. In case you have
missed it -- Sweetgrass also sells great angling equipment to pair with a new rod, for
the perfect fishing outfit.

Well, enjoy the show!

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy
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The Ol' Queen Coon

It's hard for me to write this, but I guess you don't always have to catch fish to have a good time on the water. It helps if you have a dog, canoe and Sweetgrass bamboo fly rod for company, however.

I was recently told by my girlfriend (NEWSFLASH: Zac now has a girlfriend!) about some local ponds that had native fish reintroduced in them, on the outskirts of a rather large city, on the banks of a rather monstrous river. She didn't know what species, only that they were native. She told me where they were, and I tried my best to get there, but I'm not a great navigator when it comes to urban streets. I never found the ponds, but managed to find a slough paralleling the big river. It was just barely navigable being near the slough's source, but Ariell and I dumped the canoe in and paddled away. I took along the ol' trusty 6/7 wt. Sweetgrass quad., figuring I might be able to find some fatty carp at least.

Ariell loaded up with the 8'6", 6/7 wt., Sweetgrass quad, and ready
to slay carp, suckers, pike minnows, or really anything that might
be able to stand the stagnant water.

We fished against the banks, along drop offs, near stumps, snags, pylons and weedbeds. I didn't move a fish. Didn't matter how beautifully the quad cast the double-streamer rig. There just weren't any hungry fish. In fact, there probably weren't any fish in this section of the slough anyhow. One passerby decided to not pass, stopped and said, "Partner, what kind of fish are you fishing for?!" My response, "I don't know. Anything that wants to bite, I guess. Kinda hoping for a carp. I guess." "Well, good luck," he said in bemusement, and headed on his way. I think he thought I was crazy.

Casting perfectly, and catching nothingCry. Kinda rough on an ol' fella like myself.

So, Ariell wanted to paddle a little ways downstream, just to see what was around the next bend. Funny thing was, the slough was straight. But, we lost sight of what lay beyond, as a culvert blocked our view. And we could just sneak through.

"I see a light, Zac! I think we'll make it. Is that a crocodile?"

"Geese, Ariell, I hope not. I forgot my crocodile spray! Good thing I'm afraid of the dark!"

"But, we'll just power on through!"

"Oh look, we made it! Looks like the tide is going out, too. Is that a mouse?"

"A Cormorant! I'm gonna get that Cormorant. That dirty, little Cormorant. Ha, ha, ha..."

Oh, better yet, Raccoons!!! I love Raccoons. I really like their band, the "Raccoon-tours."

And much to Ariell's chagrin, the baby coons got away, let by their grizzly-esque mother -- possibly the oldest raccoon I have ever seen.

Seemingly afraid of nothing, and lacking very good sight, the ol' Queen Coon, kept sniffing the air and twitching her hears to keep track of Ariell and my whereabouts. It was a regular Nat. Geo. moment for Ariell and my urban fishing adventure. I guess sometimes furry and feathery critters are just as cool to see as slimy-scaley ones.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy
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pondering this past year

Recent rains, snows, ices and blows have me mostly confined indoors reflecting back on the fact 2010 is almost over. How did that happen?! Most of my reflections are of fly-fishing in wild places with Sweetgrass rods, because that's pretty much all I do.

Some of you may not know me that well, so to give you an idea of my life, this year I have driven just more than 35,000 miles primarily to fishing destinations. And tomorrow, I'm taking off on another trip! That's just driving miles. I've hiked more than 100 miles this year, though I only loosely keep track of that. I generally like to forget about some of those hikes. Oh, the pain. I know, you feel real sorry for me.

I have rowed a couple hundred miles down rivers, and paddled my canoe across lakes and streams. All this I have done to find fish of many species, but primarily Cutthroat trout. I love native fish in native ecosystems. And I love catching them on Sweetgrass rods. Below is a pictorial to give you a taste of the places I have been carrying Sweetgrass cane.

I hope your year has been equally exciting and adventurous, and wish you the best days astream in the next year.

Hope this stirs your soul for next year's fly fishing!

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Boo Boy

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