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2023 - the numbers!

What an incredible fishing year 2023 was! The numbers were truly impressive some days, especially when it came to zander. Until August the pike were virtually nowhere to be seen, but then they made a spectacular comeback, especially in the beautiful waters of the Biesbosch. The perch also showed their best side, which made the year even better.

But let's be honest, there is one small downside to this great fishing season. The size of the fish left something to be desired. Although on average they were of decent size, the really big ones were missing. Some meter pike were certainly present, but not in exceptionally large numbers, and there were remarkably few zander over 70 cm. And although the perch were plentiful, they were mainly around 42 cm. Unfortunately, fish of 45 cm and larger were less frequent than in previous years. Nevertheless, 2023 remains a year to remember, full of excitement and adventure on the waterfront!

What could my customers expect when they stepped on board last year? In the graph below you can see what was caught on average per day in each month. However, the weather conditions in November and December were so bad that I was barely able to go out on the water. I have included November in the overview, but December was not representative with only 1 normal fishing day and is therefore absent. And, with this table in hand, what can we say about 2023?

Catch a lot? Then you have to come in April or May. Worm fishing was again(!) the most successful in 2023. Zander in particular crawled into the boat almost automatically.

No pike in March? No, normally March is the top month when it comes to pike for me. Also because almost everyone who comes wants to fish for pike in the Biesbosch. However, last March the pike kept their jaws so tightly closed (or perhaps they were even present to a much lesser extent or not at all(?)) that I started focusing on zander.

Summer break for the zander. Zander dominated the tables until July. In August and September, perch took over the leading position and in those months we even caught on average more pike than zander in one day. And in October the average number of pike and perch per day was even in balance!

Average catch per day in 2023.png

266 pike

Not exactly an impressive number: 266 pike in twelve months. The green line of 2023 almost completely disappears compared to previous years. Until July, only 45 pike had entered the boat. 45 pike in seven months. I can hardly believe it yet. I simply couldn't find them until August. Then they suddenly decided to focus on lures en masse, catching 218 fish in three months. To give you an idea, in the whole of 2022, 221 pike came into the boat.

But that size, only 8% of the pikes caught were larger than 90 cm and only 3% exceeded the meter. The winner of LFG's The Big One certainly comes from this species. Staf won The Big One 2023 with his 115 cm pike, caught on June 16 in an entrance to the Biesbosch.

Pike.png

1,129 zander

And once again zander is king on my boat. Especially if you compare 2023 to previous years, you will see up to and including June that 2023 is either about the same as previous years or far exceeds them. The decline in numbers in July, August and September is therefore striking compared to other years and I have no explanation for it. In October you see that the zander 'recover' again and November and December lag behind, but that has nothing to do with the zander and everything to do with the weather. Too many days with too strong winds, which meant going out was not justified and the fishing day had to be rescheduled. No exceptionally large fish in this category this year either. The chance of a zander of 70+ was less than 1.5%.

Zander.png

646 perch

My best perch year ever when it comes to numbers and in the left graph you can immediately see that this is solely due to the months of August, September and October. Until July 2023 developed as a very normal year. Virtually absent in winter, very easy to catch in April and May and occasionally appearing in June and July. But then August came and within 3 months no less than 438 perch came on board. To illustrate, in 2021 it took me an entire year to catch a total of 414 perch. And in 2022, less than 300 perch came into the boat in 12 months (only 292 to be exact). And the sizes of the perch also lagged behind compared to, for example, 2022, but nevertheless the chance of catching a perch larger than 42 cm was almost 25%. And the chance of a 45+ was 10%.

Perch.png
Development perch total.png

The final verdict

I have never caught so many predatory fish in one calendar year. And it is especially striking when you consider that the normally top months, November and December, hardly contributed to these figures, simply because I was hardly on the water at that time.

2023 brought 2,041 fish on board: pike, zander, perch. In addition to these usual suspects, I was able to add 22 asp, 1 ide and 1 roach. Notably absent, just like in 2022: the catfish. More than half of the fish caught were zander 55%, almost a third were perch and 13% were pike. 56 times we had a Grand Slam (pike, zander and perch) and even though the really big fish were absent from the traditional three, the asps were almost all huge except for about five, all 70+!

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266 pike

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72 & 76 cm

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