Kwagu’ł Hand-Carved Reel from PEETZ

PEETZ, in Victoria, British Columbia, has long produced mahogany and brass “Nottingham” style reels for salmon and steelhead fishing. First made by Boris Peetz in 1925, even many of the early reels appear perfectly functional, despite being fished hard in salty Pacific Northwest waters. Recently, PEETZ introduced a three-inch diameter “starback” style fly reel. It looks like an excellent reel for minimalist fly fishers, like myself, who spend their time on smaller waters.

The fly reel, as featured on the PEETZ website.

The fly reel, as featured on the PEETZ website.

Besides the fly reel, what has really caught my attention is PEETZ’s new 5 inch Artist Series Handcarved Reel. The reel is their Evolution reel–a traditional “strapback” with bearings and an updated one-way drag system–featuring a hand-carved spool. The first 90 reels in this series are carved by Canadian First Nations artist Jason Henry Hunt.


The Artist Series reel, as featured on the PEETZ website.

Hunt is a descendant of the Kwagu’ł First Nation on Northern Vancouver Island, BC. He is part of a family known for their traditional artistry. For instance, his grandfather was the acclaimed Mungo Martin. You can see Hunt’s own stunning artwork at his Otter Bay Studio website. The theme of his carvings on the PEETZ reels is the “Circle of Life,” depicting salmon and roe.


A Mungo Martin Big House and Pole in Victoria, BC.

I do not see myself giving up traditional fly fishing tackle for steelhead or salmon. That said, the 4 inch PEETZ “Classic” reel looks perfect for trolling with flies for trout, at the lake I fish. And the fly reel is very appealing.

While the large Artist Series reel is probably  not in my future, I really commend PEETZ for promoting First Nations artwork. It is appropriate that they do so, since salmon are so integral to the cultures of Kwagu’ł and other Pacific Northwest indigenous peoples.

Importantly, PEETZ donates a portion of the sale for each reel to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, a Canadian fisheries conservation organization. The lack of water and unusually high temperatures are having a major impact on salmon in the Northwest. Two days ago, The Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton described the overheated Lower Columbia River as a “kill zone” for salmon (July 25, 2015). This means that organizations such as the Pacific Salmon Foundation can use as much support as possible.

Following is a video of Hunt carving one of the PEETZ reels:

2 Responses to “Kwagu’ł Hand-Carved Reel from PEETZ”

  1. More First Nations Artistry from PEETZ | The Literary Fly Fisher Says:

    […] year, I wrote about the 2015 “Artist Series” Nottingham-style reels sold by PEETZ, which featured the work of artist Jason Henry Hunt. A descendant of the […]


  2. PEETZ Fly Reel, featuring Kwagu’ł Art | The Literary Fly Fisher Says:

    […] and their collaboration with First Nations Kwagu’ł artist, Jason Henry Hunt (see “Kwagu’ł Hand-Carved Reel from PEETZ” and “More First Nations Artistry from PEETZ”). PEETZ makes traditional […]


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