Can You Eat Bass, and Should You? [Is it safe?]

Can You Eat Bass

There is nothing better than eating a fresh fish that you just caught by yourself.

However, some fish species are tastier than others. In addition to that, some fish are a part of certain myths and misconceptions regarding their consumption.

So, before I tell you more about this subject, I will answer the important question, and that is:


 

Can you eat bass?

YES, you can eat bass! Freshwater bass is an exciting specie to catch, and it is absolutely safe for human consumption. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, as well as a fairly large amount of protein. The reason why some people avoid eating it is that it just doesn’t taste as good as some other freshwater fish species.

You can find more information about bass consumption, nutritional benefits, and even some basic recipes, in the following chapters:

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Can You Eat Bass?

As I already mentioned, YES, you can eat bass.

But there are tastier fish out there (like carp), and many people, even anglers, are not including bass in their menu.

On the other hand, fishing for bass is very fun, and anglers love to do it. That is why many of them practice catch and release, because bass is not as tasty as you would assume.


 

The thing is that our taste can vary a lot, and not everyone likes to eat the same foods. So, if you are one of those people who find bass tasty, or you have never tried it and you would like to do so, there is nothing to worry about. Bass is perfectly safe, and even healthy.

Some will say that you shouldn’t eat it because it is toxic, however, those stories have no scientific background, and most likely come from people who heard it somewhere, but have no idea why.

If you like to eat freshwater fish, but bass does not taste good to you, try another recipe, or switch to fish like trout.


 

Is Freshwater Bass Good for Eating? Does Taste Good?

As already mentioned, tastes are different, and there are a lot of people who don’t find bass very tasty.

Bass live in all kinds of waters, and if the water is muddy and full of algae, bass can have a very unpleasant smell and taste. Of course, there are recipes with so much spices that will camouflage the real flavor, however, if you like a taste of nice freshwater fish, avoid bass from stagnant waters.

Wild bass that lives in clean water, especially if caught in colder times of the year when the water is more oxygenated and there are almost no algae, can actually taste good.



Those from “dirty” waters can have a muddy taste, and no matter how much you love freshwater fish, you probably won’t find it delicious. In addition to that, cleaning such fish will be a nightmare, because the smell of the intestines can be horrendous.

Besides water, you will notice a difference between bass species, and there is more than one.

The most popular ones are smallmouth and largemouth, but you can also find spotted, redeye, striped, and more.



What is the Best Tasting Bass? Largemouth vs. Smallmouth!

Now when you know can you eat bass or not, it is time to pick the best one for your next lunch.

Largemouth bass, if it comes from clean water, can be a decent lunch. The meat is white and tender when cooked. The taste is quite mild and pleasant. It can be prepared in numerous ways, and almost anyone can find a recipe that suits their taste.

But the thing is that largemouth bass has stronger, and more “fishy” taste and smell too, and a lot of people find it too strong and not very appealing.



Smallmouth bass, when compared to largemouth, has a bit different taste. It is milder and usually less muddy. That is the reason that many people prefer the smallmouth. It is cleaner and less “fishy”. Those who like to prepare their fish without any strong spices, and would like to enjoy the taste of fish meat alone, should opt for this one.

However, both are safe to be consumed, and depending on your personal taste, you may find that you like the opposite more.



What Size Bass Should You Eat?

Not every bass, even if it comes from the same water, tastes the same.

Very large specimens usually have stronger taste and smell, and their meat is not as soft and tender, as in smaller specimens.

When choosing the best bass size for eating, try to pick those that are less than 35cm/14inches long. Larger specimens have harder meat, and the taste can be stronger. This is valid for both smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Smaller ones can be very good too, but before you decide to take the smaller one home, check the legal limits in your area, and release those which are not within those limits.

Bass that are up to 35cm/14inches long usually weight up to 0.7kg/1.5lb. This of course depends on a bass specie and other factors, but it gives you an idea of the best size.

As bass gets older, it accumulates all kinds of things within the body, even some toxins, and eating large ones, especially from dirty waters, may not be the best option.



What are the Health Benefits of Eating a Bass?

Eating fish is very healthy. Fish, including bass, contain omega 3 fatty acids which are very important and healthy for your body. Some fish have more of it than others. In addition to that, fish contain protein and other nutrients that are beneficial for your health. And a lot of fish species are great for those who are trying to lose weight.

Besides already mentioned nutrients, bass contains a lot of manganese, phosphorus, and the B12 vitamin.

All of this is beneficial for reducing cholesterol levels, reducing high blood pressure, and as a result, eating healthy food reduces the risk of coronary diseases.

No matter how healthy some food is, it shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis, and you should eat a variety of different foods.

Include bass, or any other fish, into your menu about twice a week.

To avoid digesting any toxins, choose the fish from clean waters. Some inland waters are known to contain mercury, and fish from those should be avoided.



Can You Eat Freshwater Bass Raw?

Raw fish can be quite delicious. Salmon, trout, and similar species can be eaten smoked, marinated, dried, and not thermally processed.

But, can you eat bass raw?

You can eat bass, and other freshwater fish species raw, if they were caught in clean waters and handled properly after they have been caught. Millions of people do it on a daily basis.

The problem with raw fish is that it can contain bacteria and parasites, so if you are unsure about the raw bass you are planning to eat, it may be better to skip it.

Smoking or marinating adds flavor, but does nothing to the potential parasites. Raw fish used in sushi and similar recipes should be held in really low, below freezing, temperatures to kill them. If this step was not done properly, you could face some consequences.

So, the final decision is up to you. Just to be on the safe side, don’t give raw fish to very small children, or people who are chronically and badly ill.



Can Pregnant Women Eat Bass?

There are a lot of advices for pregnant woman, and a lot of them are related to food. But, many of those are more folklore stories than actual facts.

So, can you eat bass if you are pregnant?

When pregnant, you should avoid toxins, such as mercury, and it would be good to avoid tuna and similar species that are known to contain larger amount of it. Even sea bass contains mercury in a bit higher dose.

When it comes to freshwater fish species, including bass, it is more important where the fish came from than the actual specie of fish.



You should avoid eating fish that you have no idea where it came from. Certain lakes and rivers are polluted, and you shouldn’t consume fish from those. You can check that info for the majority of countries.

When pregnant, it is advisable to eat freshly caught and thermally processed fish, to avoid all possible contaminations. And eat it just a few times a month to be on the safe side.

However, keep in mind that all kinds of freshwater and saltwater fish are eaten by pregnant women in some places in the world on a daily basis, so you should be fine.



What is The Best Way to Cook Freshwater Bass?

Freshwater bass can be cooked in many ways.

You can deep fry it, bake it in the oven, pan fry it, or do anything you like.

However, this fish specie, due to its stronger and fishy taste, goes very well in some spicier recipes. I will give you a few ideas for freshwater bass fillets.

To make it healthier, prepare the fish in the oven. Cover the fillets with garlic, onion, and butter. Add some potatoes on the side, and bake until done. You can add other spices if you prefer, like hot sauce or chili peppers.

Another, less healthy, option is to deep fry it in batter. Prepare a flour - corn meal – milk batter and roll the fillets in it. You can add any kind of spices into the batter, or directly onto the fillet before rolling it. Deep fry 3-5 minutes and serve with French fries.

As you can see, many recipes include various other ingredients, because bass is not a fish that many people would like to eat with just a pinch of salt.

Be creative and play with the ingredients, or simply find some other recipes online.

Can You Eat Bass - Fried Bass

Why is it Popular to Fish Bass, but NOT to Eat Bass?

As already mentioned, bass is very fun and exciting to catch.

To catch a big one, you will have to make an effort. Bass is known for fighting hard. These are the reasons why anglers love bass fishing.

But, due to the fact that many people don’t like its taste, anglers will usually release the fish back into the water where it came from. If the water is muddy, no one will keep the bass, even if it is the perfect lunch size.



Because of this belief that bass are not tasty in general, many will release bass caught in clear waters. However, those can be eaten and don’t have such a strong and muddy taste and smell. Smallmouth bass that are caught in clear waters, in colder times of the year, can be very tasty.

I think that many people avoid eating it because they have never tried eating a proper bass, cooked in a right way.



Conclusion

Bass is really popular among anglers, but you will rarely find it on their plate. Because of that, many people ask can you eat bass or not.

This fish is perfectly safe for human consumption, but it does not taste as well as some other freshwater fish species.

If you can, catch a small/mid-size bass in clean water, possibly the smallmouth one, and prepare it while fresh. You may end up very surprised, especially if you like to spice up the fish.

No matter which fish you eat, make sure it is fresh and that it was stored correctly. Also, avoid eating raw fish if pregnant, and don’t let very small children eat it.

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