Unfortunately 2012 failed to go out with the bang that I'd intended. I'd had great plans for the holiday period but the weather put paid to that, the river was very high throughout - it was over 3.5m on at least two occasions.
2013 has dawned dry though and with the river dropping, and me going stir crazy, I was out at the first opportunity.
My first outing of the year was a short afternoon visit to a slightly large but falling River Eden. There was a touch of Deja vu on this visit with massive similarities to my last outing of 2012 - the river was big, heavy bugs were called for, wading was restricted and sport was slow - but like that last outing the blank was saved with a flurry of takes just as the light was starting to go.
My second visit of the year was two days later. With the ground saturated, the river had only dropped a few centimetres, you sometimes find this during the winter, it will reach a point where it will level out and hold for a few days... but it was clear and it would fish.
As usual my rig consisted of three weighted bugs. I very rarely fish beadheads for Grayling nowadays, I'll fish them in the autumn - I have a lot of success with them for Trout and Grayling during the Trout season - but I've found over the years, that as we get deeper into winter, they seem to lose their effectiveness for Grayling. At least that's the case for me and it may be one of those daft things that us fishermen get into our heads, but it's in mine now, and I do well enough on the bugs.
My trio today and the reasons for using them were; my Orange shrimp because it rarely fails, a Pink shrimp because the Grayling often turn onto pink around this time, in fact they should have before now - three or four weeks before now - but they haven't really wanted it up to press this winter, and my third fly was a plain Hares ear shrimp because sometimes in clear water they won't look at anything with any colour in it.
The fish were well and truly into pink today, out of a number of Grayling and two out of season Trout, all came to the Pink shrimp except one Trout that took the Orange shrimp.
Of course it's never just a case of banging three flies on and getting them in the water, there's all sorts of other variables to take into account. Depth is often crucial, then there's current velocity, which will have a bearing on how much weight you add to the system and how fast, or slow, your offerings are fishing and there's leader length, distance between droppers etc. etc. - things that can maybe be looked at in a future blog.