A Glenn Brackett Story

Dave Westburg

WFF Supporter
A friend of mine was passing thru Butte today and decided to stop by Sweetgrass Rods. He tells me this:

Arrived in Butte today – with a few hours to spare before dinner, so checked a map to see what was around the hotel. Hmmm… Sweetgrass Rods, about three blocks away. I had no idea they were in Butte! Their website says they should be open, so we wander down to see what’s there. There’s a note on the window saying ‘by appointment only’ with a number. So I dial, and a woman picks up the line – I introduce myself and say I’m standing in front of Sweetgrass… would it be possible to stop back by before we leave tomorrow mid-day? ‘Hold on,’ she says – 'Glenn’s on the line now.’ Glenn (Brackett) then says ‘ah shoot, I just closed up a bit ago – but if you’ll hang on for ten minutes I’ll come back and open up.’ Sure enough, ten minutes later Glenn drives up in his burgundy minivan, hops out and shakes our hands, and welcomes us in.

We end up staying an hour, chatting with Glenn and hearing some of his stories from various locations (including an epic journey through Patagonia in the 1960s in a camper van with his buddy Bob). It’s his working shop and he shows us a glued-up rod section, talks about the various tapers (he does quads, rectangles, hexes… but also five-siders, seven-siders…!) and how he tries to keep innovating to differentiate himself from all the other rodmakers around the world. He has a collection of rods made with various techniques given to him by friends around the world and shows us some particularly interesting ones from Japan and Switzerland, and of course we look at some of his rods as well. We talk about the water he likes to fish around Butte (almost every day)… which we need to find on our next trip, by the way.

Tucked away on one side of the shop there are also a few rods from various makers which he’s letting go from his own collection – including some unusual Winstons. He said when they started making glass and graphite, people would just bring their bamboo rods in and trade them one-for-one – ‘I’ll never fish this thing again’ – so he ended up with a lot from various periods of Winston history. I picked up a beautiful Winston from 1949, an 8 ½’ 4 3/4oz in near-perfect condition – he looked it over and checked the action, and said it was good to go. So I took it home with me – when else am I going to have a chance to own a rod from Brackett’s personal collection? He also had some books on the shelf; I found a nice hardcover Soft Hackled Fly Imitations by Nemes and got Glenn to sign it. “Syl and I used to fish together all the time, he gave me a lot of his books – great writer and a great fisherman.” What a life he’s led, and what a generous man to spend that time with us!


Any of you had dealings with Glenn? He sounds like a remarkable man.
 

para_adams

Active Member
I once stopped by Sweetgrass when they were still in Twin Bridges and ended up spending a couple hours with Glenn, touring his shop, learning about how he builds rods, casting a bunch of rods with him on their side lawn. Unbelievably great man and a great memory for me.
Sweetgrass2016 (1).jpg
 

Justin mitchell

Active Member
I placed a order for a rod it was 2 years out when it can time to get it I called and asked if I cold pick it up Glenn said sure but we are in between shops at the monument so come to my house so I drove from Oregon to his house he was happy to know I would be fishing the Mackenzie and Willamette rivers with it,got to see his garage shop and talked with him for awhile he was great showed me many different rods and cast a few .I might have the only garage shop rod from Sweetgrass who knows well worth the drive
 

Cougar Zeke

Active Member
I ordered a rod from Glenn last summer as a graduation present for my oldest son who had just graduated from UCLA. We had met him a couple other times in our journeys through Butte.

We showed up at the shop to talk about which rod would be best for my son. Glenn remembered my son had caught a 27" brownie two summers before. Needless to say the time flies when you're talking to Glenn. The next thing I knew it was 2 1/2 hours later and I said we need to get out of your hair so you can build some rods!

The guy is an absolute jewel of a human being and I'm glad my son got the chance to interact with him on multiple occasions. BTW- my son ended up with a 7' 9" 4/5. He hasn't used it yet, but he's looking forward to it! IMG_3212.JPG
 

para_adams

Active Member
I ordered a rod from Glenn last summer as a graduation present for my oldest son who had just graduated from UCLA. We had met him a couple other times in our journeys through Butte.

We showed up at the shop to talk about which rod would be best for my son. Glenn remembered my son had caught a 27" brownie two summers before. Needless to say the time flies when you're talking to Glenn. The next thing I knew it was 2 1/2 hours later and I said we need to get out of your hair so you can build some rods!

The guy is an absolute jewel of a human being and I'm glad my son got the chance to interact with him on multiple occasions. BTW- my son ended up with a 7' 9" 4/5. He hasn't used it yet, but he's looking forward to it! View attachment 289533
Good choice! Glenn told that his 7'9" taper is his personal go-to rod. Gotta' trust the master's knowledge.
 

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