Can You Eat Largemouth Bass? Is It Safe

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When it comes to fishing, one of the most popular fish to go for is the largemouth bass. Bass in general are great fish to hunt for as they are big time fighters and a whole lot of fun to reel in.

With that being said, catching a fish and eating it are two different things and many people have concerns about eating bass. So, can you eat largemouth bass?

Yes, you can absolutely eat largemouth bass, and there is technically nothing wrong with it, particularly in terms of health concerns. Many people just find that it’s much more fun to catch them than it is to eat them. It may not be the number one tastiest fish around, but it’s definitely edible.

a largemouth bass being caught


Does Largemouth Bass Taste Good?

OK, so whether or not largemouth bass tastes good is of course a matter of personal preference.

Some people absolutely love the taste of largemouth bass, whereas some hate it. Now, what is very important for you to know here is that bass tends to taste like the water that it lives in. Moreover, bass will taste like the water smells.

Therefore, if you plan on eating a largemouth bass, it is absolutely essential that it be fished out of very clean and clear waters.

Generally speaking, it is much better to catch and eat bass during the colder months, as the waters are not as muddy, and there is also a reduced chance of there being an allergy boom.

During the warmer months, water can often be a bit muddy and murky, not to mention that big time algae blooms can greatly affect the smell of the water.

When it is very warm out in the water is full of algae and other critters, bass can end up tasting very muddy and murky. That said, if the water that the bass is caught in is clean and clear, then the largemouth bass can actually taste pretty good.

Exactly what a largemouth bass tastes like will depend on the water as it is caught in, but with that being said, most people agree that this fish does taste fairly strong and fishy.

Even those bass caught in clean and clear waters still taste fairly fishy. Moreover, largemouth bass also has a much meatier texture than most other fish.

Many fish have a very flaky texture, but bass is not like that. Eating a piece of largemouth bass in terms of texture is almost more like eating a piece of beef or pork than it is eating other fish that are very flaky in texture.

Is It Safe To Eat Largemouth Bass?

A concern that many people have is whether or not it is safe to eat largemouth bass.

Eating largemouth bass is no less or more safe than eating any other fish caught in a lake or river.

Exactly how safe eating the fish in question is really depends on how clean the water is that the fish is caught in. If the water is highly polluted, then so will the fish be polluted.

Before you go fishing, just ensure that the waters are clean and clear. It may be a good idea to do some research online in terms of water quality for this specific body of water that you plan on fishing in.

Other than that concern, eating largemouth bass is perfectly safe, and in fact even has many health benefits.

Largemouth bass has very few calories compared to the very high amount of protein and vitamins that it contains, thus actually making it very healthy to consume.

Can You Eat The Skin?

Yes, you can eat the skin from largemouth bass as long as it is cooked properly.

How long as you get it nice and crispy, maybe with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and lemon then it should be totally fine to eat.

Is it Frowned Upon to Eat Bass?

Some people, especially hard cord nature conservationists, may frown upon eating bass, but with that being said, it is no more or less frowned upon than eating any other fish.

The issue that many people have with eating large amounts of bass is that in some areas they have been overfished to the point where their populations have collapsed.

The issue here is not with eating bass per say, but with overfishing the bass populations, thus causing the depletion of it.

Therefore, as long as you adhere to daily catch limits and size limits, it should be fine.

This is particularly case if you only take adults that are over a certain size so that you can ensure that the overall population of the bathroom off be affected, or in other words, that you only take adults that have already made it and produced young.

What Size Bass Should You Eat?

Not accounting for fishing size limits, the best size of largemouth bass to eat is generally between 10 and 14 inches in length.

You really don’t want to eat a bass that is any smaller than this, because yes, it may still be a juvenile, which means that you may be negatively impacting the bass population.

Moreover, you really also don’t want to eat largemouth bass that are any longer than 15 inches in length, because this means that they are adults that they have been around in the water for quite some time, that they have absorbed a lot of the smell from the water, and that their meat is not all that tender anymore.

Remember that largemouth bass meat tends to be quite meaty as opposed to flaky, and the older a fish gets, the meatier that will become.

Therefore, eating a bass that is at least 10 inches in length will ensure that it is old enough to eat without affecting the overall population, but also small enough to ensure that it is not so old that the texture of the meat has become tough and that the taste has become, well, not good. 

How To Cook Largemouth Bass

cooking largemouth bass

Cooking and eating largemouth bass is really no different than any other such freshwater fish.

If you plan on having the best and most enjoyable eating experience with your largemouth bass, it is recommended that you pan fry, deep fry, or barbecue it.

Personally, we recommend getting a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, marinating the bass for a couple of hours, and then grilling it until the meat is cooked, followed by a healthy helping of lemon juice.

Just remember that about 90% of the cooking should be done with the skin side down, because this will help the fish stay intact instead of falling apart, and it will also result in some deliciously crispy skin.

To get you started, we have linked out to some very popular largemouth bass recipes below.

What Tastes Better, Bass or Trout?

The vast majority would agree that while fishing for bass is much more fun than fishing for trout, eating trout is much better than eating bass.

For one, trout doesn’t absorb the smell of the water around it quite as much as bass does.

Therefore, even Trout that are caught and not the cleanest of waters can still taste somewhat decent. Moreover, trout tend to have a bit of a lighter flavor.

Yes, trout can still taste quite a bit fishy, but generally not quite as much as bass. Also, Trout has that classic flaky texture to it which many people really enjoy as opposed to the very firm and meaty texture of bass.

Yes, trout does have all of those little bones in them, which can be annoying to eat, but the meat still tastes great. 

3 Other Good Alternatives To Largemouth Bass 

Let’s take a look at three other fish that are very popular to eat. Keep in mind that here we are talking about freshwater fish, not saltwater fish.

Personally, we like saltwater fish a whole lot more than freshwater fish, mainly because of that awesome ocean taste they have.

1. Bluegill

Perhaps the most popular freshwater fish to eat is the bluegill. Bluegill has a fairly mild and sweet flavor.

It is very slightly fishy, but not too much so and it has very flaky and somewhat firm meat.

Most people would say that this is by far the most enjoyable freshwater fish to eat.

2. Crappie

Another very popular freshwater fish to eat is the crappie. As opposed to being flakey, crappy meat is fairly soft, and not nearly as firm.

Moreover, some people do find the crappie are a bit bland, but with that being said, this is really just in comparison to more fishy tasting fish.

Many people who are not a big fan of fish do still like crappie due to their relatively mild flavor.

3. Catfish

Although catfish does have an extremely unique flavor, it is very popular all throughout North America, particularly in the southern states of the USA., where they are found in abundance.

Catfish is said to have a very sweet, moist, and mild flavor that is very enjoyable and takes well to being spiced up with a variety of ingredients. 



The bottom line here is that while largemouth bass is definitely not the tastiest of all of the freshwater fish around, they are still edible.

And moreover, if you find them in clean waters and you cook them properly, they can actually taste pretty darn good if seasoned and cooked correctly.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.