Can You Eat Largemouth Bass? Is It Good To Consume?

If it’s not toxic, and you can digest it, you can eat it. Whether or not you should eat it, or there’s any value in eating it, is a completely different question.

There are a few things you need to be aware of before eating largemouth bass. However, this due diligence goes for all species of fish.

What’s more, if fished from clean waters and cooked appropriately, it can be tasty, firm white flesh, that’s also good for you.

Interestingly, largemouth does not frequent our tables, and it’s not uncommon for people to ask if you can eat largemouth. 

Let’s explore this a little.

Can You Eat Largemouth Bass?

The short answer is yes, you can eat largemouth bass. Moreover, when caught from clean waters and prepared correctly, largemouth can be a great feed.

The surrounding geography and water conditions influence the flavor and table suitability of freshwater fish.

In this way, freshwater fish differ from their saltwater cousins.

That’s not to say the environment doesn’t impact saltwater fish. Striped bass is a great example of excellent saltwater table fish.

However, while the environment does not impact stripey flavors, the concentrations of PCB, mercury, and other such carelessly introduced toxins in some areas directly affect their safety for consumption.

Toxins like PCB invade ecosystems to a genetic level, and freshwater fish are not immune. 

It’s hard to detect traces of toxins via taste, so it’s imperative you consume largemouth from waters free of industrial fallout.

Freshwaters are susceptible to algal blooms, mud, and heavy sediment. Fish caught in such conditions carry undesirable flavors reflective of these conditions. 

And it’s not nice.

The key here is to know the waters you’re fishing and only catch largemouth bass from relatively clean waters. 

When you do this, you can expect a tasty, healthy meal of fish.

Does Largemouth Bass Taste Good?

Taste and flavor are very personal. However, it is safe to say that if you enjoy fish, and you enjoy them prepared in a variety of ways, you will enjoy largemouth bass.

There’s nothing ‘fishy,’ oily, or strong about largemouth. And it’s these particular features that most fish eaters avoid.

The flesh is white and firm, with good flavor. The flesh is lean and high in protein and therefore quite healthy.

Largemouth responds well to several preparations and cooking methods, and depending on your choice, flavors can vary significantly.

For example, cooking whole or cooking fillets, skin on or off, all contribute to the flavor even before you add spice, butter sauces, or other flavors and condiments.

Largemouth Bass

Pulled straight from the water, gutted, scaled, filleted, and thrown straight onto a pan in butter, while rudimentary, it delivers great results.

Also Read: Best Spinning Reel For Bass

What Size Bass is Best to Eat?

The best size for eating is smaller than 15 inches. When taking fish for the table, make sure you are familiar with the legal size limits in the area from which you take it.

The flesh of smaller fish tastes better. It is also easier to cook, if a little trickier to fillet than the larger fish.

Smaller fish also have had less time to accumulate toxins. For this reason, they are the safer and healthier choice.

Larger fish are fine for the table too. However, the flavor tends to lessen as size increases. Care should be taken when cooking larger fillets to ensure even cooking.

A great way to cook larger fish is to cut them into steaks instead of filleting them.

You can still cut away fine bones and only have the backbone, which is easy enough to deal with.

Cutting steaks of even thickness makes it easier to cook through evenly. A little salt, butter, and garlic are all that will be required to boost flavor.

See Also: 30 Bass Fishing Tips

How to Prep and Cook Largemouth Bass Fillets

Like any fish, you can take several approaches that will depend on your utensils, cooking equipment, and, of course, your taste.

The key tool to an easy prep, whichever method you choose, is an exceptionally sharp filleting knife.

For those who like whole fish, your job is pretty simple. Gut, gill, scale, then rinse, and your fish is ready to go.

I’m not a fan of cooking whole fish. Particularly smaller ones. 

There are too many bones to deal with, which I find annoying, and the fish goes cold as I spend time battling with bones. 

It’s also likely to have a ‘fishier’ flavor to it, particularly as the skin and head are left on 

Nonetheless, there are plenty of fish fans who like the whole fish method. Baking is the best method for whole fish, wrapped in foil, with a slice of lemon.

Check out these videos. The first video gives a beginner’s guide to filleting largemouth bass. It’s slower, provides tips, and identifies key anatomy.