i sent the picture into fishbase.org and they sent it to some scientist to be identified. I've ruled out hake because it dosen't have a whisker on it's chin... it has two long whiskers right where the fishes jaw and body connect. this fishes dorsal fin is also different from a hake. This dorsal fin is all one length... and for being a little guy he had some teeth
Looks a lot like a cattle egret, which we have a ton of along the Delaware Bay and Intercoastal Waterway wetlands (aka salt marsh.) The beak and leg coloration are different, but I'd guess the same family. Maybe an immature white heron? Blue herons are rapidly expanding around Philadelphia area -- maybe why I hardly ever hear frogs when fishing anymore... (We call the blue herons "dinosaur birds" because of their impressive size and massive bills!)
Yo sharkbite! Did you ever get an ID back on the fish? If what you and the other guys were catching IS a spotted hake, and you can get one that weighs a pound or more, there's an open IFGA all tackle record waiting to be filled.... NOAA says they are very common in the Chesapeake Bay. Maybe they're mixed in with the winter flounder!
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