How to Fillet a Smallmouth Bass – Your Guide to Preparing Bass

This article covers how to fillet a smallmouth bass and provides you with a guide to preparing the bass for eating. I know you will enjoy the taste as many fish eaters do already. What a way to end the day, you have the opportunity to eat what you caught.

Does smallmouth bass taste good?

Although this boils down to personal preference, a lot of people would agree that smallmouth bass generally tastes better than largemouth bass. Their habitat largely dictates the kind of taste that they have. Those that are caught in clean waters with cold temperatures are usually the ones that taste good. Its meat is firm and white. Unlike other fish with a strong fishy taste and smell, smallmouth bass has a mild and sweet flavor that can be enhanced when cooked well.

How many smallmouth bass can you keep?

Various states have regulations concerning the catch and possession of fishes, including smallmouth bass. In the States of Texas and Michigan, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass have a catch limit of 5 per day, and the size must be a minimum of 14 inches. Arkansas has a daily limit of 4with 12 inches minimum length. Missouri limits the catch of smallmouth bass to 6 per day. However, only one smallmouth bass per day is allowed in the Big Piney River. In Florida, the daily catch limit for smallmouth bass was not specified. However, there is a daily catch limit of a total of 20 Striped bass, White Bass, and sunshine bass with a minimum length of 24 inches per day.

How do you cook smallmouth bass?

Smallmouth bass has firm meat with mild fishy flavors. It has high levels of protein and is rich in Omega 3, which is a perfect addition to a healthy diet.

Here is a recipe for a crunchy and tasty pan-fried smallmouth bass:


• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

• 1 tablespoon water

• egg white from 1 large

• ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

• 2 tablespoons cornmeal

• 4 (6-ounce) bass fillets, skinned

• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

• 1 teaspoon butter

• 4 lemon wedges


Step 1: While preparing the ingredients, heat a large skillet over low to medium heat.

Step 2: Prepare the following mixtures in three separate bowls:

Bowl 1: Combine flour, salt, and pepper

Bowl 2: Stir the water and egg white using a fork or wire whisk

Bowl 3: Combine breadcrumbs and cornmeal

Step 3: With one (10) smallmouth bass fillet at a time, dip and coat the fillet in the first bowl with the flour, salt, and pepper mixture. After that, dip it again in the water and egg white mixture. Lastly, dip and cover it with the breadcrumbs and cornmeal mixture.

Repeat this step until all fillets are done.

Step 4: Pour the vegetable oil into the pan before adding butter. Then, add fillets and cook for five to eight minutes on each side or until it is golden brown.

Can you eat rock bass?

Yes, you can eat rock bass. They are surprisingly good and tasty too. Perhaps the only downside of eating a rock bass is that it looks big, but it only has a small amount of meat. When you fillet a rock bass, you need more than one piece. 

Can you eat bass raw?

Yes, you can eat bass raw as long as it’s handled and prepared properly. Bass generally has a mild taste and tender meat, which is great for sushi. In fact, sea bass is included among the top fish species that are made into sushi by the Japanese, along with tuna, salmon snapper, and flounder. Most fishermen, however, do not recommend eating largemouth bass raw. Its taste is not appetizing when eaten raw.

Is bass fish healthy?

Yes, bass fish is one of the healthiest fish you could eat. Like most fish, the bass is a good source of Omega 3s that promotes brain health, the overall immune system, and the heart. Bass is also one of the most protein-rich fish. Aside from that, the bass has manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.

Is rock bass good to eat?

Rock Bass is surprisingly good to eat. Many fishermen likened the taste of rock bass to a bluegill. However, it may be frustrating to eat a rock bass as its size contradicts the amount of available meat inside. When you fillet them, the primary cut would be at the back-strap since their sides only have little flesh. 

Can you eat smallmouth bass skin?

Yes, you can eat smallmouth bass skin. In fact, the skin is just as tasty as its meat. Whether you eat the fish with skin or not, it’s all just a matter of personal preference. Others like to cook smallmouth bass without the skin for effortless eating, while some like to season the skin with lemon and pepper when roasting it for an added flavor.

Can you fillet a bass?

Yes, you can fillet a bass. For a first-timer, learning how to fillet a bass may be complicated and exhausting. But once you know-how, you’ll be proud of yourself for having unlocked a great skill in the kitchen.

Here are the steps you need to follow to fillet a bass:

Step 1: Prepare all your tools like gloves, cutting board, knife, and a trash bag to fillet a bass.

Step 2: Place your Bass on the cutting board. Using a scaler or a knife, then work your way from the tail towards the head. Put a little bit of pressure while running your knife or scaler against the scales. Once done, rinse all the remaining scales.

Step 3: After descaling your bass, the next step would be to remove its guts. Start by inserting your knife in the side of the bass near the tail fin. Work your way towards the belly and stop just underneath the jaw. Open it and remove the guts. Once done, rinse the bass again.

Step 4: Now that your bass is clean, you can now start doing your first fillet cut. Start by making a cut behind the gills and fin and carefully slice down without cutting through the backbone.

Step 5: When you hit its backbone, turn your knife and cut along the backbone going towards the tail. Then, work your way along the rib cage.

Step 6: You have the option to remove the skin or not for your fillet. If you want to remove it, slide your knife between the meat and the skin. Be careful not to remove too much meat from your fillet.

Step 7: Repeat all the steps on the other side of the bass.

Can you eat large and smallmouth bass?

Yes, you can definitely eat largemouth and smallmouth bass. Most people, however, prefer the smallmouth bass over the largemouth bass because it has a lesser fishy taste and firmer and tenderer meat. 

Although considered as the less tasty freshwater fish, where you got your largemouth bass will dictate how it tastes. Make sure that you catch your bass in clear, clean, and cold-temperature waters.

What is the best tasting Bass?

Bass is regarded as one of the best-tasting freshwater fish to eat. Like any other freshwater fish, the habitat highly influences the taste of the bass. So, it’s highly recommended that you get your bass from clean waters with cold temperatures.

Compared to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass has mild flavor, firm and tender meat, and less fishy taste and smell. This is why most people prefer the smallmouth. The sea bass, on the other hand, is one of the most liked bass because of its least fishy taste and smell. 

Does bass have a lot of bones?

The bass tends to have more bones in the rib area. The smaller the bass, the more concentrated and sharper the bones are, especially in the ribs. When you descale and fillet the bass, the bones will never be an issue since you have the option to cut the ribs out.

Is bass good to eat?

Yes, the bass is good to eat. Bass is highly regarded as a tasty and flavorful freshwater fish. Whether you bake or pan-fry a bass, it is always a great addition to your diet. It’s rich in Omega 3-fatty acids and protein. It’s also a good source of other minerals like phosphorus, vitamin b6, and vitamin b12.

How do you prepare bass to eat?

Bass, in general, has a mild flavor and tender and white meat that makes it good for any recipe. Just like preparing other meats before cooking, you must also have to clean and descale the bass.

Here are the steps to prepare and cook your bass:

Step 1: Clean your Bass by descaling it using a knife or descaler and cutting its fins and tail. Make sure to remove the guts out to avoid its bitter taste. Then, rinse the fish thoroughly.

Step 2: Season both sides of the bass with your preferred seasoning of choice. Others only rub salt and pepper, while others add more seasonings like paprika and chili.

Step 3: After seasoning your bass, the next step would be to cook it. It’s best if you pan-fry, deep-fry, or grill it so you can also have a taste of its ski.

Step 4: Once done cooking your bass, squeeze out a half lemon to enhance its taste and retain its freshness.

How to Fillet a Smallmouth Bass Article Conclusion

Now, having finished reading the article on how to fillet a smallmouth bass, you should bet ready to undertake doing so with your first bass. I wish you luck in your fishing expeditions and I trust you will enjoy your catch of the day.

Tight lines.

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