Photos By: Matt Bornhorst
I’m sure everyone has heard this one:
"You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on you. No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he is not the same man."
I spent the last Sunday of the year doing what I love to do; Standing in the middle of a creek catching nothing. This time my lack of luck came because I actually wasn’t fishing. I spent some time filming and watching the other guy’s fish. It really dawned on me how much this particular creek had changed since last time I was here. Thinking beyond that it was incredible how much it had changed in the last several years. Our streams here in Georgia contain a lot of sand and sediment and heavy rains and flooding constantly change their landscape. It amazes me that a run where fish may have haunted for a year or more now lay vacant. And the hole you drifted nymphs through last summer when the water was low and slow is now much faster and deeper requiring a different drift and tactics to reach fish in its depths. Debris, like timber and downed trees create new habitat and seem to always be changing. Days spent on the water are like snowflakes, no two are the same. Beyond habitat changes by past environmental factors; current weather, season, water levels, stream clarity, barometric pressure, light level, moon phase and a little luck (the right place at the right time factor) all play a role in how successful you will be. This sport consistently keeps you on your toes, and if you don’t evolve with it, and decide to stay “the same man”, you miss out on opportunities to be more successful.
If your goal is to catch fish or be a better fisherman you need to evolve and adapt. Evolving and adapting to the water you fish means you scout new water, approach and fish old water in a manner you didn’t during previous seasons, change flies often if you aren’t catching and pay attention to the other ambient environmental factors. Fish have complex feeding habits and patterns that change with all the above mentioned factors. Once you recognize these factors and note them, you begin to decode some of the mystery that may have left you skunked in the past on water you thought you knew.