Ever wondered if you can eat freshwater bass? Not many people know despite most anglers enjoying the art of fishing for bass. But, is bass good to eat? Keep reading to find out if eating bass fish is healthy or even safe, especially freshwater bass.
Part of what makes freshwater bass so appealing to anglers is the fact that this fish is one of the top natural predators in its ecosystem so catching one of them is a real achievement.
However, if you want to find out if eating bass fish after catching them is a good idea, keep on reading.
We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website.
Learn more about our Amazon affiliate program
Is It Possible to Eat Freshwater Bass?
The simple answer is yes. Freshwater bass fish are safe to consume, even though most anglers prefer to catch and release them or just fish them for fun and sport. Eating bass after catching them is just not done otherwise it’s safe to do so.
A lot of anglers still don’t like eating freshwater bass even though they’re really good at catching it because they feel that this would totally defeat the purpose of angling for these fish in the first place.
On the flip side, eating bass fish can actually add to your sense of achievement, especially if you get to share the meal with a loved one after a successful afternoon of angling.
Are Bass Fish Healthy to Eat?
Can you consume freshwater bass without getting sick? In other words, are bass fish good to eat? The answer is yes, bass is actually a healthy type of white meat.
It’s low in fat and high in protein making it healthful, especially if you prepare it properly. Just don’t eat it raw.
How to Catch Freshwater Bass
Freshwater bass is difficult to catch which is why catching one of them is very rewarding and offers a high sense of achievement.
If you’re looking to catch more bass, keep reading for a few useful tips:
- As mentioned above bass are natural predators which means that they have to swim above the body of water they’re located in. That’s why you’ll find them on lily pads, rocks, leaves, or even on the boat deck. As such, these are the areas where you should place your lure and weedless bass lures are particularly effective at avoiding snags as well. Our favorite of this kind is the Texas rig.
- It’s important to ensure that the lure is something that the bass would be accustomed to consuming such as other aquatic animals and the different types of fish that they feed on. So, your lure should resemble these types of food that bass already like to eat and would normally gravitate to.
- Bass love easy prey so plastic worms are usually a hit with them. That’s if you have any to spare.
- It’s important to ensure that your hooks are sharpened prior to your fishing trip because bass have some of the strongest jaws of any fish out there.
- Bass are known for swimming with the current not against it. So, in order to improve your chances of catching them, you must ensure that you’re facing the wind while fishing.
- Make sure to use the right equipment for the job. This includes a proper fishing reel.
How Do You Prepare Freshwater Bass to Eat?
Now that you know the answer to the question, you can freely prepare and enjoy your freshly caught freshwater bass. Is bass fish good to eat with the bones on?
No, it’s important to clean the fish thoroughly first before you cook it and this includes deboning it first in order to create delicious boneless filets that are easy to consume.
- First things first, remove scales from the fish using the back of a knife or a fish hook remover. You must do this by going from the bottom up and make sure to get both sides. The goal is to ensure that the skin of the fish feels smooth in the end.
- Rinse the fish thoroughly afterward in cold water.
- Make an incision underneath the fish’s head with a sharp knife and only stop once you get to the spine and do so until you reach the tail.
- When you get to the tail, push the knife through to the other side.
- Once you’ve made a cut, insert your thumb through the incision and cut until you get to the other side.
- Then, get rid of all the fish’s internal parts until the fish is clean and free of all that.
- While applying gentle pressure, make filets by cutting all through to the other side of the fish again.
- Now is the time to separate the bones from the meat.
- Flip the fish over and do the same thing again.
- Cut away the fats on the sides of the fish.
- Clean away any residue that’s left using a knife.
- Place the filet skin down on a cutting board.
- Create an incision with a filet knife and remove the meat from the skin by shaving it off.
- Lastly, remove the blood from the fish by soaking it in a bowl of cold water. Change the water a couple of times until there’s no blood left.
Is It Okay to Eat Freshwater Bass When Pregnant?
Can you eat largemouth bass if you’re pregnant? Yes, it’s fairly safe to do so granted that the fish has been caught from a clean lake or river.
Of course, you want to avoid mercury poisoning when pregnant so it’s important to ensure that the water you’re fishing in isn’t polluted in any way.
Luckily, freshwater sources don’t pose a threat of mercury poisoning whereas saltwater fish can be risky because they often consume smaller mercury-ridden fish.
How to Cook Freshwater Bass?
Can you consume freshwater bass without turning up your nose? Well, to be fair, bass odor is an acquired taste but most people do enjoy its succulent and tender meaty texture.
The way freshwater bass tastes depends on what it has eaten in its lifetime and where you caught it. That’s why freshwater bass tastes different in different habitats depending on whether you caught it from an unpolluted lake or river.
The most important thing is that it’s safe to consume overall. You can be sure that your bass will taste absolutely delicious if you catch it at a river or a lake that’s clear and clean.
But, if the body of water has algae in it and it’s not very clean, then it probably isn’t a good idea to eat anything you catch there. In that case, it’s better to just catch and release as usual.
Otherwise, freshwater bass can be prepared in several different ways. This will enable you to experiment with different tastes and flavors so that you can enjoy it in different ways.
The most important thing is to avoid overcooking freshwater bass as this is the only way that you truly ruin it because it makes it chewy.
How to Grill Freshwater Bass
One of the best ways to enjoy freshly caught bass is to grill it. That’s because you can do it outside while enjoying the scenery that you’re in.
However, you’ll need to bring a grill in order to cook your freshwater bass outside. You can use a regular spice mix that you like or the spice mix that you normally use for other fish like Spanish mackerel or redfish.
- Start by seasoning your freshwater bass with salt, pepper, and lemon.
- Switch your grill on and turn it to medium-high heat. Alternatively get a natural campfire going and grill it over an open fire.
- Grill the fish for 5 minutes per 1 minute of thickness.
- Then, turn the fish over in order to cook the other side.
How to Bake Freshwater Bass
Now, if you decide to go home after catching your freshwater bass, and you’ve confidently answered the question of can you consume freshwater bass, then you can take it home and enjoy it by either using a fish filet or the whole fish.
The following recipe is a great way to bake your freshwater bass:
- Start by mixing together diced tomatoes, onions, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon.
- Preheat your oven and set it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the outside of the fish and the inside using the mixture you made earlier.
- Then, take a baking tray and oil it, or if you’re looking for a healthier alternative spray it with a non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the fish on your tray and add a bit of wine to the tray. This will give it a nice bit of kick to the taste.
- You can then leave the fish to cook for 20 to 30 minutes thereafter and then serve it up with lemon slices on top.
How to Fry Freshwater Bass
Frying freshwater bass is a great way to serve up your freshly prepared fish filets. Then you can serve it with a dash of tartar or honey mustard dressing.
1. Place a frying pan on the stove and preheat an inch of vegetable oil.
2. Coat the filet from top to bottom with a mixture of beaten eggs and milk.
3. Cover the filets with flour, panko crumbs, or seasoned breadcrumbs. Season with lemon pepper, thyme, paprika, black pepper, and salt.
4. Fry the fish on low heat, making sure to spend 5 minutes on each side. Then, flip it with tongs in order to avoid cutting your filets.
Can You Eat Largemouth Bass Raw?
Well, at this point, you have answered the age-old question that most anglers have; can you eat freshwater bass.
For the most part, this isn’t done but it’s generally safe to consume if you have caught your freshwater bass from a clean body of water.
However, unlike fattier saltwater fish, freshwater bass isn’t as tasty when raw but it can have a meaty, strong taste with a succulent texture that is favorable to most.
We hope you’ve found this guide to be helpful and that we’ve answered your question.
The answer is yes. Just make sure to follow the tips mentioned above and you should enjoy your experience.