Recreational sport fishing for bass is one of the most well-known outdoor activities among avid anglers. Moreover, there is no denying that freshwater fishing bass brings lots of fun after catching different types of basses, especially largemouth bass and smallmouth ones.
Nevertheless, many people usually wonder if it is safe to eat. So, can you eat largemouth bass? Yes, you can eat bass. This fish is loaded with protein and omega 3 fatty acids. However, one of the popular reasons that some anglers avoid eating it is its less tasty flavor than some other freshwater fish species.
In addition, if you are looking for some basic and exciting recipes, bass consumption, and nutritional values, keep on reading to find the best answers.
Overview Of Largemouth Bass
The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is an olive-green carnivorous freshwater gamefish, belonging to the Centrarchidae (sunfish) family. They live mainly in Canada, eastern and central North America, Texas, Atlantic drainages from North Carolina to Florida, and northern Mexico.
As its name implies, the largemouth bass has a high ratio of fin surface to body size and a big mouth. Therefore, some anglers can be confused between this freshwater fish with smallmouth bass at first glance. Nevertheless, the mouth of the largemouth bass stretches past the eye, making it open further than the smallmouth one.
Here are some key features of the largemouth bass to help you recognize easier:
- It has a strong body, a deep, wide dorsal surface with a big and long head, less sideward compressed than the smallmouth bass.
- A long, blunt snout though it is not as deep as the smallmouth.
- Large and wide jaw. The lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw.
- It comes with 2-joined dorsal fins. The separation is more apparent than in smallmouth bass.
- The sides are nearly as dark in the biggest largemouth fish to golden green or lighter green.
- The back and top of the head are bright green to olive.
- The underside of the largemouth’s head is milk-white to yellow, while the sides of its head are olive to golden green with several scattered black pigments.
- Pectoral fins are transparent and amber.
- Dorsal and caudal fins are slightly blurry and green to olive.
- Pelvic and anal fins are green to olive with some white.
On the other hand, this largemouth bass fights aggressively and maneuvers so well, thanks to the big fin surface. Indeed, the largemouth bass is the top predator among their ecosystems. Before these freshwater fish take over their waters, a largemouth bass’ diet typically contains larvae, insect eggs, and zooplankton.
One of the most significant features of the largemouth bass is their length. They have a common length of about 16 inches during the third year of growth, making them almost the biggest freshwater fish.
In addition, largemouth bass measure around 4 to 6-inches in their first year of life, yet their outstanding growth is because of becoming the number one predator when they reach 2 -inches in length.
How To Prepare Largemouth Bass Before Cooking
Mastering essential steps to prepare largemouth bass is important. Proper preparation brings out more delicious meals with the fish you just caught. Here are some tips for cleaning your largemouth bass effectively and quickly before cooking:
- Use the back of the knife to take out the scales of the fish. If you are not familiar with this way, apply a strong fish scaler to facilitate the process. Start from the bottom up and do all sides until the skin feels smooth.
- Clean the fish with cold water.
- Use a sharp knife to form a cut right under the head and stop once you hit the spine.
- Cut through the belly along the largemouth bass’ side from this incision until you reach the anal vent. Use the spine as your instruction when you reach the tail.
- Related to the tail position, push your sharp knife to the other side and keep cutting through.
- Next, insert your thumb where you made an incision and use your knife’s tip to cut through the other side.
- Take out all the internal parts from the belly meat to guarantee that the fish is clean.
- Use your sharp knife to cut through to the other side when applying mild pressure to make fillets.
- Then, split the fish meat from the bones by lifting the meat, cutting any fats on both sides, and using the knife’s tip to cut through the ribs cage.
- Use your sharp knife to clean the fillet of any residue.
- Form a cut using a fillet knife and begin shaving the meat to get rid of it from the skin.
- Finally, it is vital to remove the blood before cooking the largemouth bass. Get a bowl of cold water and soak the fish to receive optimal and quick results.
- Always change the water when it changes color until there is no more blood.
Can You Eat Smallmouth Bass?
Yes, you can. Smallmouth bass and other types are safe to eat. In addition, they are as healthy as any other freshwater fish. They are also much cleaner compared to some. Because smallmouth bass is a white meat fish, it contains rich protein and is low in fat.
On the other hand, it is vital to carefully scale, clean, and debone the smallmouth bass as the largemouth bass before cooking it. Then, to make it healthier, prepare your fish in the oven.
Cover the fillets with different spices, such as onion, curry, garlic, and butter. Next, add some potatoes or sweet potatoes on both sides, and bake until done. To create unique recipes, you may want to add more spices you prefer, including chili peppers or hot sauce.
So can you cook it whole? Yes, of course, because it brings more meals with different tastes. For instance, deep dry it in batter and add some French fries to enjoy your meals. Furthermore, always remove the scales from the bottom up to obtain the best recipes.
What Are The Best Ways To Cook Largemouth Bass?
You can create different meals with your fresh largemouth bass. In general, this fish species suits spicier recipes because of its fishy and more pungent taste. In addition, it is advisable to cut and peel off all the skin.
It is essential to properly separate the fish from the ribs and spine. So, let’s take a look at some well-known recipes with largemouth bass fillets to enjoy dinner with your family.
This way is one of the most popular recipes with the largemouth bass. Be creative when adding a blend of spices. Firstly, make a spice combination to rub on the fish meat and marinate the fish in it for around 1 hour or more.
After you realize that the fillets are well marinated, heat butter or oil in a pan, then toss in the fillets. Moreover, because this freshwater fish takes longer to cook than other fish, always make sure the fish is cooked through.
Next, toss your fish on all sides carefully to guarantee that the fish is well roasted. After it is well cooked, enjoy your meal with noodles, rice, and vegetables.
The chunky cuts of largemouth bass are perfect for a curry. There are various ingredients to create this meal. Specifically, you can stew the cuts in coconut milk or milk. Moreover, it is interesting to cook it down in gravy. Serve with noodles, rice, or bread to add more delicious flavor.
Deep frying is another exciting method to eat largemouth bass. This recipe will also help you cook faster and guarantee that your fish is cooked through. Firstly, coat the fish fillets in a consistent spice blend. Besides, prepare flour, including cornmeal or milk batter, then roll the fillets in it.
Next, deep fry it. Besides, adding more spices such as chili sauces is helpful to remove any uncomfortable odor the fish can have accumulated from their water.
You can bake your largemouth bass in aluminum foil with a spice blend of your favorite options. Garlic powder, pepper, chili sauce, and salt go well with them. It is best to add some lemon juice to improve your meals.
After checking out this post, we hope you won’t wonder the question: can you eat largemouth bass? In addition, always clean your fresh fish carefully, scale, and debone it to create delicious meals for your family.
On the other hand, it is vital to learn some basic regulations about catching and releasing the largemouth bass and possession limits from your states. As a result, you can preserve the bass population and guarantee that everybody has enjoyable and safe places to fish.
Thank you for reading. Don’t hesitate to share any exciting ideas below to create more unique recipes with the largemouth bass.
Born in Lakeland, Florida, Daniel has started fishing since he was just a tiny little kid. His father was a real good fisherman, as he taught Daniel tricks and tips to catch the fish better. From those childhood memories, Daniel has built up his love for fishing. Until now, he has been participating in several bass tournaments and currently serves as the Chief Editor of fishingonsunday.com to share his precious knowledge and experiences with many more people.