Silver Hake (Merluccius bilinearis) Family Gadidae, Cods
Common names: silver hake, New England hake, whiting
Description: Silver hake are iridescent gray brown above, fading to a silvery shade below. Their large mouth, with a projecting lower jaw, is lined with two or more rows of sharp curved teeth. Silver hake have no chin barbel. Being slender fish, they are five to six times as long as they are deep. They have two separate and well developed dorsal fins, the second being much longer than the first. They also have an extended anal fin, and their ventral fins lack the long feelers that are so obvious on other hakes. Adult silver hake normally measure around 14 inches in length.
Where found: inshore and offshore
Similar Gulf of Maine species: white hake, red hake, longfin hake
Remarks: Silver hake are strong, swift swimmers and voracious feeders. Their prey includes a variety of fish such as herring, mackerel, menhaden and silversides. Silver hake is usually a bycatch of anglers who are fishing for cod or haddock. They bite readily, but don’t put up much of a
fight. Their meat is delicate and, if chilled right away, is tender and sweet tasting.
Records: MSSAR (Maine State Saltwater Angler Records)
IGFA: All-Tackle World Record
Fish Illustrations by: Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 5632286
Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.
BACK TO: Maine Saltwater Fish Species List