Can You Eat Bass and Should You? (Is It Safe?)

Anyone who enjoys their fishing will agree that no feeling tops that of when you tuck into a freshly grilled fish that you caught just hours earlier. 

However, there are some types of fish that taste better than others. There are also species of fish that have a lot of misconceptions and uncertainty when it comes to their consumption.

Can You Eat Bass Fish

One of those fish is the bass. There are 9 different species of bass and not one of them is seen as a popular fish to eat. That is despite being one of the most popular, highly sought-after fishes to catch.

The myths and misconceptions around bass have led people to ask the question, can you eat a bass? And is it safe to? The fact you’re here would suggest you’re wondering the same thing.

Well, if you are, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to answer those questions for you and tell you everything you need to know about consuming bass.

If you want to learn more, be sure to stick around!

Can We Eat Bass?

Let’s get straight to the point, yes, we can eat bass! 

Not only is bass a wonderfully exciting fish to catch, but it is also 100% safe for our consumption. In fact, it actually has a number of properties that make it quite a beneficial fish to eat.

Most species of bass, whether it be saltwater or freshwater bass contain a significant amount of protein and healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

These two things are great for the human body, helping us build muscle and regulate our blood. 

Omega 3 fatty acids have a wide range of benefits. These include regulating blood clotting, relaxing the artery walls, reducing inflammation, and providing a good starting point for our bodies in the making of hormones.

While bass is completely safe to eat, not many people choose to. This is mainly because there are tastier fish to choose from. This puts people off eating bass when in reality we all like different things. 

Is Bass Toxic?

For many years, people have had the assumption that bass is toxic. Those assumptions are completely false and have absolutely no scientific background.

The rumors regarding bass and its toxicity were probably started by someone who heard wrong a long time ago. 

On the other hand, someone who simply doesn’t like the taste of bass may have assumed that’s why.

If you do like the taste of bass or want to give it a try, at least you can now do so knowing that it is completely safe and healthy to eat. 

Why Is Bass So Popular To Fish, But Not Eat?

You may find yourself wondering why on earth people would want to fish for bass if they aren’t going to eat it. The reason bass is so popular to fish despite rarely being consumed is simply down to how fun it is. 

Due to its size, catching a large bass is quite an exciting achievement. It takes a lot of strength, commitment, and dedication to draw one in. So much so, the bass is well-known as a fish that likes to fight hard. 

After catching a bass, most anglers will simply measure its size, take a photo, and throw it back into the water. Anglers who even like the taste of bass will usually release their catch.

This is particularly the case if the fish has been caught in muddy water.

The reason for this is that most people believe the bass has a muddy taste if it has lived in muddy water. If the bass hasn’t been caught in muddy water though it’s fine.

However, again, those misconceptions about how the bass tastes put many people off eating their catch, no matter where they caught it.

Can Freshwater Bass Taste Bad?

Seeing as though so many people avoid eating bass because of its supposed bad taste, it seems only right to look at how bad bass can taste at times. 

While most species of bass taste really good, it isn’t uncommon for bass found in stagnant, muddy water to taste pretty bad. In this respect, we have sympathy for people who believe bass isn’t a good fish.

The chances are people that find bass disgusting simply haven’t had a clean, well-cooked, and extremely tasty bass before.

Wild bass caught in fresh clean water and during colder times of the year taste really good. It is the bass caught in algae-filled, muddy, stagnant waters that give the species a bad name.

Cleaning, preparing, cooking, and eating a dirty bass can be pretty horrendous. Having said that, cooking any dirty fish can be quite nasty. 

Not only will they not taste too nice, but they will also have a disgusting smell.

The only solution with this type of bass is to use a lot of spices and hope for the best.

Which Species Of Bass Tastes The Best?

If you’ve never had bass before and want to give it a go, you’ll want to know which species is the tastiest. 

Now you know we can eat bass and how it can taste bad at times, let us show you which one you should pick for lunch!

Generally speaking, two types of bass taste the best. These are the largemouth bass and the small-mouth bass. Both are types of freshwater bass that taste great when caught and cooked correctly.

You’ll find some information about each species below!

Largemouth Bass

When caught in clean waters, the largemouth bass makes an amazing meal. Featuring a pleasantly mild flavor and white meat, this fish tastes best when the meat is lovely and tender. 

largemouth bass in water being held by its lip

The beauty of using the largemouth bass when cooking is that it can be prepared in a wide variety of ways, giving anyone the chance to find a recipe they like. 

The only downside some people find with the largemouth bass is that it has a much stronger fishy smell and flavor when compared to other species of fish.

Smallmouth Bass

The smallmouth bass has a slightly different taste to the largemouth. It usually has a milder flavor and a more nose-friendly smell.

There is also more chance of this fish living in cleaner waters, which helps reduce the chances of the fish tasting muddy.

smallmouth bass being held by angler

Definitely the more popular of the two, most people like to add a range of spices to the fish before grilling it. The smallmouth bass is also the best option if you want to try the fish’s meat on its own. 

Which type of bass you choose to eat ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you like to eat. Both species taste great when prepared well and both are completely safe.

Does Size Matter?

You might be surprised to hear that bass varies in taste not only depending on the conditions of the water, but also because of their size. 

Not every bass tastes the same, even if they come from the same water conditions. A large bass will most likely have a much stronger smell and taste. Their meat isn’t as soft and tender as smaller species either. 

Bearing this in mind, if you want to consume the very best bass, you need to try and find one that is the perfect size. 

We recommend looking for a bass that is approximately 14 inches or shorter in length. Bass of this length or shorter will have tender meat and a taste and smell that won’t overpower you.

This is the case for the smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Bass Fish

Smaller bass can also taste better too, however, before taking one home with you, you must check the size limits in your neighborhood. Release any fish that don’t sit within the limits set.

Does Age Matter?

Age also impacts how a bass tastes. As a bass gets older, it tends to accumulate an array of different things inside its body, not all of which are good. This can include some toxins or plastics.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to steer clear of older bass, especially those that have been caught in dirty waters. 

What Health Benefits Can You Expect From Eating Bass?

It is widely accepted that fish are incredibly healthy. While many people may think the bass isn’t, it is actually no different from any other type of healthy fish. 

Like most species of fish, the bass is packed with essential nutrients and fats our bodies need to stay fit and healthy. The most important of those fats are omega 3 fatty acids.

For the reasons we mentioned earlier in this article, omega 3 fatty acids are super important for the human body, helping us live a much healthier lifestyle.

Full of protein and other nutrients, the bass is also a very beneficial fish to eat when it comes to helping you lose weight. Super lean, fresh fish gives us the protein we need but contains very little amounts of unhealthy fat. 

Bass also contains phosphorus, B12 vitamins, and manganese. These nutrients all help reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the risks of serious coronary diseases. 

How Often Can You Eat Bass?

While the benefits of eating bass might make you want to add plenty of bass to your diet, it is important to only eat a suitable amount. 

Like any food, not just fish, it is important to eat things in moderation. You shouldn’t consume bass daily, you should instead eat a wide variety of food and include the fish in your diet once or twice a week.

It is worth noting that you should also only eat the bass. Adding more fish to your diet on top of the two portions you already eat is too much.

This will lead to you consuming too much of the same nutrients. Your body will not appreciate it. 

The recommended limit for the amount of fish you should eat a week is 14 ounces. The reason for this is quite interesting.

There are species of fish that contain mercury. Although small amounts of mercury are fine, consuming far too much of it can lead to mercury poisoning or reduced coordination, vision, and hearing.

Can Freshwater Bass Be Eaten Raw?

Eating fish raw is very popular, with a lot of people opting for trout and salmon, but can bass be eaten raw too?

Yes, bass can be eaten raw as well. Just like most freshwater fish, bass can taste delicious when caught in clean waters and prepared beautifully.

The only real difference between bass and other species of fish people eat raw is that the bass just isn’t as popular. 

There is one problem with eating bass and other types of fish raw though. When raw, fish is known to contain parasites and bacteria.

This may be quite uncommon, but if you’re unsure of where the bass you’re eating has come from and what the quality of water was like, it might be best to cook it first instead. 

You can try to kill any potential bacteria by freezing the fish first. This will eliminate any parasites or bacteria the fish contained.

Whether you eat bass raw or not comes down to personal preference.

Can Bass Be Eaten By Pregnant Women?

When it comes to food, there are endless pieces of advice for women that are pregnant, but how many of them are actually correct is up for debate.

In regards to bass and other types of fish, women do need to be quite careful with what they consume and how much of it. We previously mentioned that most species of fish contain mercury.

This toxin can pose a threat to pregnant women so it is definitely worth avoiding any fish that contains high levels of the toxin. This includes fish like tuna and sea bass.

Aside from that, pregnant women are generally fine to eat freshwater bass as long as they know exactly where it has come from.

If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t touch any fish, not just bass, if you don’t have an idea where it came from. There are bodies of water that bass is pulled from that are heavily polluted.

Fish from these waters can be quite bad for you and your baby.

Pregnant women should only eat bass that has been freshly caught in clean waters and thoroughly processed. Even then, they should only eat a couple of pieces a month. 

What Is The Best Way To Cook Your Bass?

Finally, we’d like to finish our article by telling you the best ways to cook your bass. 

One of the greatest things about fish is that it can be cooked in an amazing variety of ways. Bass is no different. It can be baked in your oven, fried in a pan, deep-fried, or grilled. It can even be smoked in your backyard smoker. 

Which way you choose to cook your fish is completely up to you because we all have our own personal preferences and the way we like our food, however, we’d like to talk you through some of our favorites. 

Due to its stronger taste and smell, before we even think about cooking our bass, we like to smother it in strong spices. This not only gives the fish a beautiful flavor but also gets rid of any overpowering tastes and smells. 

When we’re making a healthy dinner using bass, we like to cook it in the oven.

Simply cover your bass filets with onion, butter, and garlic, put some potatoes by the side, and bake it in the oven until done. Some of the spices that go well with this include chili and hot sauce.

When we fancy an unhealthier option, we deep fry the bass. For this, roll your seasoned fish in flour made from milk butter and cornmeal. All you need to do then is deep fry the fish for approximately 5 minutes.

Serving this with a side of fries is perfect!

In Summary

Despite being completely safe to consume and actually quite tasty, the bass remains incredibly popular amongst anglers but isn’t a fish you’ll frequently find on your plate. 

Even though bass can taste delicious, water conditions play a big part. Bass caught in muddy, algae-filled, or stagnant waters typically have an unpleasant taste and smell.

Even the very best species of bass caught in fresh, clean water still overpower some, who just don’t like the strong fish-like smell and taste. 

Having said that, in this article, we have shown you how catching a small to medium-sized bass in clean water, before preparing it well with a variety of spices and sides, can leave you with a beautiful tasting piece of fish.

When you take the benefits the bass comes with into account, there really is no reason not to try it. 

Now you’ve made your way through our article, why not try bass for yourself. You might be surprised by just how much you like it!

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Tommy Bull
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