Earlier today, Leigh Rogers noticed some surface activity in the pond behind his Ascension Parish home, which lies on the banks of the Amite across from Port Vincent, so grabbed a rod.
“I saw some fish popping,” Rogers said.
His rod was rigged with a Rapala jerk bait, and the associate pastor at Dutchtown Baptist Church started working the lure along a drop-off in one corner of the pond.
“I fished along that ledge and felt a little bump, and when it came in my first thought was it was trash,” Rogers said.
But it was, indeed, a fish. Just not any species he had caught — or ever expected to catch — from the pond.
It was a small flatfish with very distinct markings.
Now, it’s not unheard of for the pond to flood when the Amite River spills out of its banks, but Rogers had never seen a flounder of any sort.
“I was shocked, to be honest,” he said.
So he did the only thing he could think to do: Google it.
The results came back with images that looked exactly like the little flatfish Rogers had dragged to the surface.
“I found one they called a hogchoker,” Rogers said.
And it matched the little fish he had in an aierated bucket.
According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, the hogchoker (trinectes maculatus) is a small flatfish with a brown, rounded body. It has a dark brownish-grey top and pale underside, with black lines crossing the body. It also has a rounded tail and dorsal and anal fins that stretch around the body from head to tail.