PEETZ Fly Reel, featuring Kwagu’ł Art

I have written previously about the PEETZ reel company, located in British Columbia, 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 Nottingham style reels, so named for their association with Nottingham, England reel makers of the late 1800s and early 1900s. These reels are used in many styles of fishing, though PEETZ makes two that are specifically marketed to fly fishers.
Not long ago, I received an early edition of a new 3.5 inch fly reel, engraved with the traditional coastal image of a trout designed by Hunt. This is my second 3.5 inch PEETZ fly reel. I am very happy with both reels and with the service I’ve received from PEETZ. The reels balance several of my bamboo and fiberglass fly rods well, and I also use one with an LL Bean “Trolling Series” fly rod.

Father, Daughter, PEETZ.

I am attracted to the aesthetic of these reels, but I am also very happy with their performance. Made in BC from brass and sustainably harvested mahogany, they are as solid as can be. The 3.5 inch reel has plenty of room for backing, and the large arbor makes retrieving that backing and the fly line easy. The check helps prevent overspooling.
For me, the simple pressure drag system is usually adequate. For those occasions when more drag is needed, there is plenty of exposed spool to palm. You can also exert drag by pressing the line guard against the spool. This is a practice that the inventor of this type of line guide, Charles Henry Cook (pen name John Bickerdyke), recommended in his 1898 book Practical Letters to Young Sea Fishers.

Many anglers, including myself, had found that it was more pleasant to check the reel by pressing the wire line guard than by placing a finger on the circumference of the reel. Captain Barton has gone a step further. In the Andaman Islands the fish ran so strongly and wildly, that the ordinary check was of little use, the reel frequently overran, and his line was broken. He tried placing his finger on the rim of the reel, with the same result as it if had been place in a piece of red hot iron. This was when fishing for the cavalla. He then  worked out a very simply and effective brake. To the  upper crossbar of the Bickerdyke guard, he sewed on the end of a piece of webbing about 8in. or 9in. length, and a trifle less width than the crossbar.  The  other end of the webbing was whipped on to the rod above the reel, the webbing being kept fairly taught. The rod thus fitted is held with the hand above the webbing. When a check is required, the hand is slid down over the webbing, pressure on which causes the guard to press against the rim of the reel as strongly or lightly as the angler may wish. Letters, 311.

In short, I love these reels, and every interaction with the people at PEETZ has been very positive. I am particularly happy to promote First Nations art, with the acquisition of this latest reel. The Kwagu’ł and other First Nations of Canada and the US have been fishing for salmonids for centuries, and their respect for these fish is integral to their cultures. The PEETZ Artist Series reels serve as a reminder that we should all cultivate more respect for the non-human inhabitants of our environment.  And not only does PEETZ recognize First Nations cultures, they also help support the conservation efforts of  the Pacific Salmon Foundation. For all these reasons, I recommend looking into PEETZ reels.

2 Responses to “PEETZ Fly Reel, featuring Kwagu’ł Art”

  1. AJ Morris Says:

    Damn brother! That is beautiful!

    Now you’re going to have come out this winter and get it covered in steelhead slime…


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