by David Proudfoot

Merluccius merluccius

species ID hake

Distinguishing features

The hake has a long body shape, not unlike the pollack, with a large head and a mouth filled with long sharp teeth. The second dorsal fin and the anal fin are long and take up approximately half of the body length. The scales on the hake are fairly large and the lateral line is straight and located on the upper half of the body. The back is a blueish grey in colour fading to silver on the sides and silver-white on the belly. The insides of the gills and mouth are a blackish colour.


The hake can attain a length of 1.8 metres and can reach weights in excess of 12 kg.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 3lb 8oz 2dms / 1.590kg
UK Boat Record: 25lb 12oz 14dms / 11.706kg

European Line Class Record for this species


While the hake spends a lot of its life near the bottom it will venture into the upper mid-water reaches to feed particularly at night. It is commonly found in depths of 100 to 550 metres over various types of seabed.


The hake feeds mainly on fish and squid but the younger fish will include crustaceans in their diet.


Oily fish baits such as mackerel and herring are effective when targeting hake and squid will also take this species.

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