Spotted Hake (Urophycis regia)
Also known as … Ling Cod, spotted codling,
Often mistaken for its cousin the Red Hake (Urophycis chuss) … Red hake have a filamentous third ray on the dorsal fin and no spots.
The spotted hake’s body tapers to the tail. With two dorsal fins and 2 filamentous pelvic fins similar to their cousins the white and red hake. The dorsal fin is broken into two sections the first being smaller and the second running almost the full length of the body. It does not have a third ray on the dorsal fin that is a prolonged filament which distinguishes it from its cousin the red hake.
Also spotted hake have larger scales and a larger mouth with the end of the jaw behind the level of the back of the eye. Their coloration is distinct, with the distal half of the dorsal fin with a narrow white margin. The lateral line is black but has a series of white spots that run the length of the lateral line. The pelvic fins are white. Despite having scales they feel smooth and slimy. Cleaning them can be a bit smelly and slippery but they are a very tasty fish since their body is all but one muscle. Several of them can make a good meal for two people.
They are found in our waters year round and prefer cooler temperatures so they are deeper in the summer time. They feed on small crustaceans and minnows. The can be readily caught in the surf on bloodworms. squid, and fishbites with top and bottom rigs during the cooler spring and winter months.
Delaware Creel Limit … None