Our thanks to Centennial Publications for use permission.
November 25th, 1998
"Glenn Brackett is another one of the outstanding craftsmen
who have received little personal recognition for their
talents because they devoted their careers to building
the respected bamboo fly rods of R. L. Winston Rod Co.
Publishers note: Glenn is alive and
well in Twin Bridges, Montana. He is a delight on the phone
and has agreed to do a couple of articles for us. You might
also look for him as a "Special Guest" in the Chat Room. ~DB
Glenn's involvement with rod building came from a family
fishing heritage nurtured by his father and grandfather. His
grandfather spurred him into refinishing and redesigning old
rods and building both fiberglass and bamboo rods from
components. To Glenn, all rods were merely a means to an end.
Then he lucked into acquiring his first
"name" bamboo rod, a seven-foot Edwards Quadrate from
Woody Sexton, and soon became enchanted with the
functional beauty of cane rods.
The colorful and talented personalities
associated with the Golden Gate Casting and Angling Club
and with R. L. Winston Rod Co. were also part of his
experiences as a youth since his father worked in San Francisco
and he grew up in the Bay area. He still has fond recollections
of his first visit to the original Winston rod shop on Harrison Street,
within walking distance of his father's office, in 1952.
Lew Stoner, Doug Merrick and Jon
Tarantino were there, among the overwhelming mixture of
bamboo, glue and varnish to walk him through the shop in
a unique kind of "rites of passage" experience.
His obsession with fishing and a
desire to be within wading and casting distance of water led
him to pursue a degree in fisheries biology at Humboldt
State University. He spent 15 years in fisheries with the
California Fish and Game Department and the U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service throughout the Northwest. During this
period he also tied flies commercially for Orvis, and became
acquainted with Tom Morgan through their shared interest in
fishing and guiding.
Tom Morgan bought the R. L.
Winston Rod Co. in 1973. Glenn went to work for
Winston in 1974, helped with the move from San
Francisco to Twin Bridges, Montana, in 1975 and
became part owner of the company in 1976.
Morgan, Merrick, Gary Howells
and Al Talbott provided Glenn with a sound technical
background in rod building, and his years of freshwater
and saltwater fishing experience around the world helped
provide valuable insights and appreciation for designing
and crafting quality rods.
Brackett has maintained a
one-rod-at-a-time attitude in his approach to
building bamboo rods for Winston, confirmed
by the fact that only 750 bamboo rods have been
produced by the company since 1973. [As of 1995.]
Like other craftsmen before him at
Winston, Glenn has made subtle changes to the tapers
and actions of the Winston rods. He has also modernized
the company's bamboo rods.
During the same period, Glenn has been
involved in expansion of the company through fiberglass and
into the graphite era, and expansion from three people into
a 25-person work orce and from a 1000 square foot facility
to 3500 square feet of production area.
He has a keen sense of the history and
lore of the classic bamboo rodmakers and feels he has had
the opportunity of a lifetime to carry on the traditions of
rod building and the reputable name of the R. L. Winston