Can You Eat Bass? Taste, cooking and prepping explained

Kristian Ole



Bass fishing is an adrenaline-filled activity. This fish makes angling thrilling, thanks to its exciting run, hard strikes, jumps that will put an acrobat to shame, and bite that sends shivers down your spine. In fact, the bass is one of the most popular game fish in the US and Canada, and most anglers believe in catching and releasing. However, a few wonder whether it is possible to eat the bass they catch. 

Well, decades ago, people used to eat bass that they caught, but this practice has declined over the years. Now, anglers are again consuming this fish, depending on where they catch them.  

Is it good to eat?

If you have never eaten bass before, you might wonder whether this species is good enough to eat.

The answer is a resounding yes. Bass is very good to eat. Of course, like any other fish, you must focus on preparing and cooking it right. That way, you will enjoy its taste and flavor without compromising them. 

While the bass is good to eat, fishing enthusiasts may favor other freshwater fish like perch and crappie. Just remember that when you want to eat bass, not only do you have to clean it properly, but you also should ensure you keep the right size for cooking. You will relish bass then and will not have to worry as this fish is found in abundance in water bodies. 

What’s the taste like?

This is a question that people often ask if they have never eaten bass before. So, it may come as a surprise to learn that bass has an appetizing taste. You will find that it has a mild flavor and earthy taste is not overpowering. The fillet-like texture combined with its earthy flavor can make this fish quite delicious to eat. Of course, some people claim that the flavor is too muddy and do not recommend the fish. 

It is prudent to remember that the taste of bass is affected by the water that the fish lives in and the kind of food it eats. So, you will find that if the lake or river has clean water, the bass will have a clean flavor. On the other hand, if the water is swampy or filled with vegetation, the taste will be stronger and darker. 

What size should you keep for eating?

Different areas have different regulations for fish that you can catch without releasing. So, make sure that before you decide to feast on the bass you catch, you find out the minimum and maximum size. The fish should fall within that range. If it doesn’t, you will have to catch and release it. 

The best size for eating usually is 12 inches to 15 inches. The weight of the bass should be around one to two pounds. This size and weight are perfect for eating as it is big enough to get a nice fillet that you can fry with relative ease and small enough to have a clean flavor. 

If the bass is bigger than 15 inches, it will be too flavorful for your palate, and you will not be able to enjoy eating it. At the same time, checking the water where you intend to fish for bass is advisable. The cleaner the water, the healthier the fish will be. Such a fish will grow well and have a great flavor you can relish after a day of fishing. 

Related article: What does the bass eat?

What are the preferred methods of cooking the fish?

When going bass fishing, carrying your camping stove, a frying pan, and some oil is advisable. The easiest way to cook while on a fishing trip is to pan-fry the bass with oil. However, if you are a connoisseur of cooking, you can also use hot stones or wood embers for baking the fish. Put the gutted and cleaned fish into aluminum foil, add seasoning, and fold the foil. Place among the embers to let it gently bake. You can even throw a few jacketed potatoes in the embers as accompaniment for the fish. 

Some people also sauté or make gumbo with bass. You can also air fry the fish if you have an air fryer. 

In Conclusion

Undoubtedly, the bass is one of the most popular fish species that you will find in lakes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, and canals. Ensure that the water is clean and healthy if you intend to eat the fish. Avoid eating fish if you think the water pesticide or fertilizer runoff. 

Fish caught from clean water bodies will always taste better. You can use a flying fishing rod, spin cast reels, spinning reels, and baitcasters to catch bass. You can use worms, topwater baits, and diving lures for bait. If you enjoy using live bait, you can easily use lizards and frogs to catch bass

Now you know whether you can eat bass or not. So, the next time you go bass fishing, make sure you keep one 12 to 15 inches for a hearty meal, and if anyone asks you whether you can eat bass and how it tastes, you will be able to tell them the details from your personal experience. 


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

Leave a Comment