The red hake or squirrel hake is common from Newfoundland to North Carolina. Red hake are caught around deep ocean wrecks and areas with sandy or pebble bottoms. During the fall and winter, small red hake move inshore and are sometimes caught in good numbers from the surf.
Red hake bite most common baits, including squid, clams, and crab. Fish of 1-2 pounds are common. Hake have mild white meat but some anglers find its soft texture objectionable.
The true hakes are members of the cod family of saltwater fish. Hakes of the Mid Atlantic region include red hake, longfin hake, Carolina hake, southern hake, spotted hake, and white hake. The name ling is sometimes used as a collective name for multiple species of hakes.
Several features help distinguish true hakes from other fishes; mottled brown coloration, elongated, slender bodies, ventral fins which are altered into long feelers, and a chin barbel. The silver hake (whiting) is similar but not classified as a true hake. It can be distinguished from hake by its silver color, prominent teeth, squarish tail, and lack of chin barbel.