Vendor Spotlight: Jerry Kustich, Sweetgrass Rods


Sweetgrass Rods represents the end of a long line of bamboo rod makers whose names read like a who’s who of bamboo:  Lew Stoner, Doug Merrick, Gary Howells, Tom Morgan, and Glenn Brackett.  These men put the estimable Winston Rod Company on the proverbial map.  Sweetgrass founder and Master Craftsman Glenn Brackett knew each of these men and learned the craft under their tutelage.

In fact, at one point, Brackett was an owner of Winston Rod Company. In 2006, in a highly publicized departure, Brackett and partner Jerry Kustich left Winston to start Sweetgrass Rods.

Today, Sweetgrass stands alone in the category of “production bamboo rod shop.”  To our knowledge, no other company produces bamboo rods in the quantities we do.  In 2013, for example, we made and shipped over 250 bamboo rods.

For some, 250 may seem like a small quantity.  However, each rod requires 40+ person hours of labor, not to mention sweat and tears.  With many fine bamboo rod makers out there, the craft seems healthier than it has been in decades.  Sweetgrass’ process, however, allows us to produce rods with identical action and in quantities few, if any, can match.

Elegant art forms that are effective fishing tools, available at several price ranges, and with reputable experience at the bench—our rods come together to provide a magical experience on the water like no other!

The Tradition Continues

In the mid-seventies Tom Morgan and Glenn Brackett moved the Winston Rod company to Twin Bridges. They believed that this location would inspire the intangible perfection they sought in a rod truly built for fly anglers. This holds true for Sweetgrass Rods as well.

The fly rods we build on the banks of the Beaverhead River will be based upon a wealth of knowledge, disciplines and gifts handed down by master craftsmen Lew Stoner, Doug Merrick, Gary Howells, and several other Western builders. Using their vision of blending quality workmanship into a practical tool that can cover a vast array of fishing opportunities, we will add our cumulative experiences, innovations and love of angling to a creation that expresses the true spirit of fly fishing.

Jerry has been a part of the “Boo Boy” team for the past twenty years, learning the many intricacies of rod building. Always found on a stream testing anything from flies to waders to pentagonal bamboo designs, he has recently expanded the Sweetgrass operations to Maryland. Author, devoted environmentalist, rod designer, and dedicated angler, he spends much time on the road as a fly fishing ambassador lecturer.

Commitment to Bamboo Fly Rod Making

For years, it has been our collective credo to build bamboo fly fishing rods with an uncompromising dedication to a time-honored craft for people who love to fly fish. This has been our passion—a heart and soul commitment to a legacy entrusted to us by folks like you. Because of your expectations and dreams, this tradition will continue at Sweetgrass Rods.

We are committed to doing all the right things for all the right reasons. As Glenn Brackett often says, “If fly fishing doesn’t make us better people, then what’s the point?” Likewise, if our philosophy is not manifested in the work we do, then there is really no sense doing it. We look at Sweetgrass Rods as our last opportunity to contribute to the fine tradition of bamboo fly rod building as well as to share our beliefs in what can be accomplished if we all work together for a common good.

Visit Jerry and see his amazing bamboo rods at the Maryland Fly Fishing Show!


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