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The "Rolly Poly" Retrieve (and when to fish it)

Dec 12, 2020

Implementing the double-handed retrieve in real-time fly fishing scenarios

The double-handed retrieve, also known as Rolly Poly, is a popular method in a multitude of fly fishing scenarios. I first used this retrieve in fly fishing for Tarpon and Jack Cravelle in the southern Caribbean a few years ago, and have carried it into many freshwater fly fishing applications. 

What is it?

The Rolly Poly retrieve is a continuous retrieve of the fly line by tucking the rod beneath your arm and alternating strips with both your right and left hand. This highly effective, somewhat unorthodox retrieve is popular among saltwater anglers around the world. 

When to fish it?

From the Florida Keys' famous Palolo worm hatch to fishing Stripers on the east coast, the Rolly Poly retrieve technique proves effective in a long list of fly fishing scenarios. Rather than list these in bullet point, I will simply state that this technique is worth implement in any situation that requires the fly to move in at a continuous pace. 

A few of my favourites are imitating salmon fry and smolts as they congregate towards the surface, fishing baitfish imitations for predator species such as Bull trout, as well as many saltwater scenarios. I have also found this to be an incredibly worthy technique on stillwaters when fishing attractor flies such as boobies and blobs. 

Happy fishing!


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