Are Largemouth Bass Good to Eat?

Are largemouth bass good to eat

Everyone knows how much fun bass fishing is. But are Largemouth Bass good to eat?

Largemouth Bass are undoubtedly the most popular game fish in the US, the target species for hundreds of tournaments, the topic of many country songs, and bring along a massive audience on social media. But many people still need to learn what Largemouth Bass tastes like.

Below I’ll share my opinion on what Largemouth tastes like, how to cook Largemouth Bass, and other tips I have gathered from my 20-plus years of bass fishing throughout the country.

Are Largemouth Bass Good to Eat?

Yes! Largemouth Bass are absolutely good to eat. This popular freshwater fish tastes good and is arguably the most fun and sought after freshwater species to fish for.

Largemouth Bass is great table fare, but not my favorite freshwater species to eat. Other freshwater gamefish, such as Crappie, Walleye, and Bluegill, are ahead of Bass regarding flavor and texture.

With the proper preparation and cooking, Largemouth Bass makes for a delicious meal.

What Does a Largemouth Bass Taste Like?

Largemouth Bass are known for their tender and flaky white flesh. But their flavor varies depending on the water they grow in, so if you are fishing somewhere with plenty of vegetation, your catch might be slightly more flavorful.

Another factor to consider is the water quality in which you catch a Bass.

Bass caught in cleaner water has a cleaner taste. 

Largemouth Bass feed on other fish, so the water quality affects their prey and themselves.

How to Cook Largemouth Bass

The best way to cook a Largemouth Bass is to grill, pan-fry, or bake. But the key to making sure it turns out delicious is all in the seasoning. A simple combination of butter, garlic, herbs, and salt can go a long way in bringing out the fantastic taste of this fish.

Below, I will share a few of my favorite Largemouth Bass Recipes.

Largemouth Bass Recipes

Grilled Largemouth Bass

Grilled Largemouth Bass


– 4 medium-sized Largemouth Bass filets

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 lemon, sliced thin

– 1 teaspoon garlic powder

– Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat your outdoor grill or indoor griddle to medium-high heat.

2. Brush the Bass filets with olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

3. Place the bass filet skin on the grill or griddle.

4. Grill for about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through, flipping once halfway through cooking time.

5. Serve with a slice of lemon, and enjoy!

Pan-Fried Largemouth Bass


– 4 medium-sized Largemouth Bass filets

– ¼ cup all-purpose flour

– 1 tablespoon garlic powder

– 2 tablespoons butter


1. Place the flour and garlic powder into a shallow dish and mix them.

2. Dip each filet into the mixture to lightly coat it on both sides.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

4. Add the Bass filets to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through, flipping once halfway through cooking time.

5. Serve and enjoy!

Baked Largemouth Bass


– 4 medium-sized Largemouth Bass filets

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– Lemon juice

– ½ cup breadcrumbs

– 2 tablespoons butter, melted

– 1 teaspoon garlic powder


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

2. Place the Bass filet on the greased baking sheet and top each with a lemon slice.

3. Mix the breadcrumbs, melted butter, and garlic powder. Sprinkle over each filet.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flaky.

5. Serve with a slice of lemon, and enjoy!

Controversy Around Eating Bass

Largemouth bass caught with spinning reel

Modern-day anglers are much more acceptable to catch and release fishing; therefore, there has been a growing controversy about whether to eat Bass.

My grandparents didn’t think twice about keeping every Bass they caught. That was the ultimate goal for them, catch their dinner.

Over the past 15-20 years, Bass fishing has grown an enormous following and garnered more attention than ever. So naturally, with more awareness comes more controversy.

Some bass fishermen love the joy of catching Bass and aren’t interested in eating Largemouth Bass. They love the preparation, the hunt, and the feeling when a bass hits a hook.

These are usually the bass anglers that promote not eating Largemouth Bass for preserving this fish species out of good faith.

On the other hand, some anglers are dedicated to catching and releasing fish and feel that eating Largemouth Bass will hurt the Bass population, resulting in worsened fisheries for future anglers.

Largemouth vs. Smallmouth Bass

When it comes to eating Bass, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass taste different, impacting how you cook the bass meat.

Largemouth Bass tend to be a bit tougher when they get bigger, while Smallmouth Bass can remain tender even at larger sizes. Smallmouth bass usually has a milder flavor than their largemouth counterpart as well.

In terms of taste, Smallmouth Bass typically gets more praise from anglers as it can be cooked in various ways and remain tender and flavorful. On the other hand, largemouth bass should be cooked differently than Smallmouth to ensure that they don’t become tough and chewy when cooked.

Common Questions Related to Eating Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Jumping out of water

With such a strong following, Largemouth bass fishing often raises many questions, especially regarding whether to eat Bass or release them. I will answer some of the more common questions below, using my 20-plus years of bass fishing experience.

Are Largemouth Bass healthy to eat?

Yes, largemouth bass is healthy to eat. They are a lean source of protein and contain essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

As I mentioned before, use common sense when consuming any fish species. If you are fishing in a clean and well-preserved body of water, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

However, be cautious when fishing in contaminated or polluted water. Consuming fish from dirty water is risky and could result in health issues.

Is Largemouth Bass safe to eat?

Yes, largemouth bass is safe to eat when cooked properly. As with any fish species, ensure it is cooked through before consuming it. This will ensure that any potential parasites or bacteria are killed off.

Why do some people not eat largemouth bass?

Some anglers don’t eat largemouth bass out of respect for the fish. They believe releasing all caught fish is the best way to protect freshwater fisheries.

Others may not enjoy the taste of Bass and prefer to catch other species. Some anglers are more focused on collecting trophies than catching dinner and will often release any fish they catch, regardless of how tasty it may be.

No matter your opinion, it’s important to practice catching and releasing when fishing for Bass if you don’t intend to eat them. This helps protect the species and ensures that there will be plenty of Bass for future generations.

What is the best freshwater fish to eat?

In my opinion, Crappie is the tastiest freshwater fish. Many other freshwater anglers would agree with me on that.

Other popular table fares include Walleye, Yellow Perch, Trout, Bluegill, and Catfish.

Why is bass fishing so popular?

Bass fishing is so popular because they are hard fighting and often put up quite a fight when hooked.

They also grow relatively large, with some specimens reaching 20-plus pounds, making them a thrilling catch for any angler.

Their wide range and abundance across North America have made them an accessible target for anglers of all skill levels.

Plus, Bass is quite tasty when cooked properly, making them popular among those looking for a delicious meal.

Why is Bass not served in restaurants?

Great question! This one is relatively simple to answer.

With how many freshwater bodies Bass can be found in, it is nearly impossible to verify whether a water source is clean. Many freshwater sources where Bass are found are polluted and contaminated, making fish populations unsafe to consume.

That said, the FDA and other regulatory agencies will not provide the go-ahead for restaurants to serve up either large or Smallmouth Bass.

Final Thoughts on Eating Bass

Man holding largemouth bass

Bass are great fish to eat when cooked properly. They have a mild flavor that pairs well with several seasonings and cooking techniques.

However, check the water conditions before catching and consuming any bass. Do not eat Bass caught in water that is contaminated or polluted.

Be sure to practice catch and release whenever possible, as this helps maintain healthy bass populations for future generations.

For those looking to experience the thrill of bass fishing without consuming them, remember that they are one of the most popular game fish in North America, for a good reason.

Tight lines!

For more guidance on Bass fishing, check out the pages below:

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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