Can You Eat Bass? – Simple Tips to Catch and Cook Bass
For professional anglers, bass fishing is more than just a sport; it is a way for them to relax, meet new people, and to have a change of scenery once in a while.
The adrenaline and the challenges along the way while catching bass are only some of the reasons why it is a great activity.
Can you eat bass, though? This is the question that many new anglers are asking.
You often see professional anglers doing this for leisure, and they just send the catch back to the lake after catching them.
Yes, bass can be cooked and eaten, but there are a few things that you should know before you start preparing a meal with it.
If you are interested in catching bass and want to try eating it, you need to know a bit more about catching it and some of the ways to eat this amazing fish.
Different Types of Bass
When fishing for bass, you should know the different varieties that you can catch in the wild.
Here are some of the most popular bass that anglers love to fish.
The largemouth bass is often known as black bass, and it is one of the most popular catches.
As a matter of fact, there are fishing tournaments in the United States that focus on largemouth bass fishing.
You can recognize a largemouth bass by looking at their lower jaw, which extends beyond the back edge of their eyes.
The body usually has dark stripes, dark green top, and silvery belly and sides.
This type of bass can grow up to 20 pounds in weight.
The smallmouth bass is often known as brown or bronze bass because of its tan, green, brown, or bronze color.
It has dark vertical bands on the side.
The best way to know if a bass is a smallmouth or largemouth is by looking at the position of the large flap.
The maxillary will reach the eyes, but it won’t go beyond it, and the upper jaw won’t extend past the eyes as well.
This type of fish can grow eight to 15 inches long but only weighs around three pounds.
Rock bass is not really a type of bass, but most anglers consider this due to its rocky habitat.
Rock bass is actually a member of the sunfish family.
Rock bass has orange to red eyes and a terminal mouth.
The color of their body is golden brown or olive, and they have a white or silver belly.
They have five to seven spines in their anal fins and 12 in their dorsal fin.
The most notable ability of the rock bass is that it can change its color immediately to black or silver in order to match its surroundings.
The name of this fish came from the seven to eight dark stripes on its body.
The body is also compressed, and it has well-separated dorsal fins.
Striped bass can grow up to 60 inches.
Black Sea Bass
The Black Sea bass is large-mouthed with a bluish-black color.
It has light spots on its body that would form something like longitude stripes.
It has large scales and a continuous dorsal fin.
Tips for Bass Fishing
Whether you are fishing bass for sports or you are planning on eating it, learning how to do it properly should be your main priority.
You will waste a lot of time and money if you just randomly throw your lures without knowing about bass fishing.
Here are a few tips that you can follow to get a big catch.
1. Put the lure where the fish are.
You definitely have to put your lure where the fish are hiding, but do you have any idea where they are and how to find them?
It is easy to just put your lure out there and wait for the bass to bite it, but you will waste a lot of time waiting.
The first thing that you should do is to find cover in the water.
You have to look for wood, docks, boat, rocks, lily pads, and all the possible areas where the bass would hide.
They always conceal themselves to catch and ambush their prey.
2. The weather says it all.
The weather will have a big impact on the behavior of the bass.
You should first know how they behave depending on the weather, and you can adjust based on this.
During cloudy days, the bass is more active, and they usually expose themselves when feeding.
They would go around the surface of the water.
They move fast, which means that you have to use moving baits, as well.
You can try using chatterbaits, topwater plugs, or spinnerbaits to catch that active bass from the water.
If the sun is high up in the sky, the bass is usually hiding, and they go for cover.
They would wait under the cover for their prey.
Since they are only waiting there, you can trick them and show them the “prey.”
Try using bouncing baits, such as jig head or Texas-rigged soft plastic.
Just cast your line near the cover and wait for the bass to fall for it.
3. Check the water temperature.
Water temperature can affect the feeding patterns of bass, so you have to pay close attention to this.
As a rule of thumb, slow-moving baits are better if the water is cool, while more aggressive baits should be used in warm water.
Again, the activity of bass can differ depending on the temperature of the water.
They might hide more often if the water is cold as the covers serve as warm blankets for them.
4. Don’t be a one-dimensional angler.
You might say that fishing is just a hobby for you, and you don’t plan to be a professional.
For some people, knowing how to fish is already enough.
When you are bass fishing, though, you should at least try different techniques.
Be more versatile when it comes to fishing, and try fishing in different places to improve your skills and techniques.
Try to go to a different fishing area and allow yourself to adapt to its fishing conditions.
If you are used to fishing in clear water, try doing it in dirty water and practice different techniques.
5. Hard work pays off.
Fishing is not as easy as you think.
Even if there are a lot of fish in the sea, there is a chance that you won’t even catch a single one.
If you are fishing in a certain area, but you are not getting anything, don’t give up on it right away.
Just because the bass is not biting doesn’t mean that they are not there.
Sometimes, you just have to wait instead of running from one area to another.
Fishing is a waiting game, so you need a lot of patience.
Can You Eat Bass?
Can you eat bass like normal fish? The simple answer is yes.
Although there are certain restrictions when eating bass, they are safe for consumption.
Well, bass is extremely delicious, and there are a lot of ways to cook it.
However, before you proceed with cooking, you should first know a few things about eating bass.
1. Avoiding Mercury Poisoning
One of the things that you have to take note of is the possibility of mercury poisoning.
Bass, in general, is very safe to eat, but eating too much is not good for your health.
Black and striped bass actually contain a small amount of mercury, so eating too much can lead to mercury poisoning.
Pregnant women can also eat bass, but moderation is the key.
Experts suggest that you should only consume about six or fewer servings per month.
2. Water Condition
You have to look at the condition of the water before you eat bass.
When you are fishing in clear waters, it is safe to say that the bass there is safe to eat.
However, when you are fishing in dirty waters, like polluted lakes and rivers, there is a chance that there are contaminants that would cause harm to your body.
If the lake or river is dirty, it is better just to send the bass back to the water.
You should only eat bass that comes from clear water, and make sure that you do your research about the location before eating anything that you catch from there.
How to Cook Bass
Cooking bass is pretty much the same as the other varieties of fish; you can bake, fry, broil, or grill it.
Before you start cooking, the first thing that you need to do is to clean the bass.
You cannot simply cook it raw without removing the insides of the fish.
Here is a short video on how to clean a bass:
Baking bass is pretty straightforward, as you only need to set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the bass in the baking dish after cleaning it.
Just add in some salt and pepper to taste and squeeze some lemon.
Bake the bass for about 30 minutes, and you’re good to go.
Clean the bass first then put some seasoning on top.
Make sure that you put a good amount of seasoning to give it a much better taste after cooking.
Spray the broiler with some oil and place the fish on the rack.
Broil it for about five minutes.
This is one of the best ways to cook bass, and it is also the simplest.
Just turn on the grill to medium-high heat, apply olive oil to the fish, making sure that you drench both sides, and then add pepper and salt.
Grill the fish for about 10 minutes, and it is done.
For pan-frying, it is better to use a skillet.
Put olive oil on your pan and turn the stove to medium-high.
Put the fish in the pan and start frying it.
You can season the fish while you are pan-frying it.
Pan-fry the fish for about five to seven minutes.
Bass is a very delectable fish.
Even if most anglers just do it for fun, a lot of them try to take home their catch just to have a taste once in a while.
Eating bass is not really dangerous, but you need to practice moderation at all times.