- Scientific name: Agonus cataphractus
- Also know as: Hook-Nose, Armed Bullhead, Armoured Bullhead
- Size: Up to 20cm
- UK minimum size: N/a
- UK shore caught record: 1oz 10dr
- IUCN status: LC (Least Concern)
- Distribution: Common all around Britain and Ireland.
- Feeds on: Marine worms, molluscs and small crustaceans.
- Description: Small fish with unusual appearance. The head is large and tail tapers. Body is covered in hard, bony plates which mean that the fish has a protected, but stiff and inflexible body. On the back of the fish there are short and blunt spines. There are two small dorsal fins and the pectoral fins are very large relative to the size of the fish. There are additional spines on the gill covers and a number of small barbules under the mouth and head. Colour is usually a mottled brown, grey or greenish, with lighter fins and a pale underside.
The pogge is a small fish which has a wide distribution, being found all around the coastlines of Britain and Ireland, and is also found around the coasts of Iceland, the Faroe Islands and much of Scandinava and the Baltic. Pogge have been found that are up to 20cm in length, although the vast majority are smaller at around 10-15cm. The UK shore caught record stands at less than two ounces, underlining this species status as a true mini-species. Pogge are sometimes caught by UK anglers taking part in LRF (Light Rock Fishing).
Pogge are found in the summer over sand, shingle and muddy seabeds. They will feed on small creatures they come across such as marine worms, sea slaters and small crustaceans. During the warmer months pogge are typically found in the intertidal zone and away from the shore at depths down to around twenty metres or so. In winter pogge move out to deeper water and will venture down to depths of several hundred metres. The pogge has a number of defences from predators. When they are not actively feeding they bury themselves in the sediment of the seabed to stay hidden (hence they are only found over sandy, shingle and muddy seabeds). When they are searching for food they are well camouflaged with their dull colours and, of course, if they are attacked predators are often put off by the spines and bony plates which cover this species. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) classes pogge as a species of Least Concern with an increasing population trend.