“Bass” is one of the well-known and among the most popular game fishes. Thousands of people fish Bass around the year for the fun of it. Though, a big chunk of the catches is released back to the water right after taking a photo.
But why is it so? This raises the question, Why don’t they eat it? Does the Bass taste good or horrible?
For a short answer, well…. Actually, there is no short answer. ‘Taste’ depends immensely on the person eating it. Besides, different bass species have different tastes, smells, colors, and flavors.
Bass, in general, is not among the tastiest dishes that will make your mouth watery. On the contrary, most bass species taste and smells kind of fishy and mild or plain.
Keep in mind, the taste of a dish depends more on the process of cooking it than the ingredients. In that sense, Bass can also be prepared to be a magnificent dish.
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Eating Bass Tasty Treat Or Ruthful Regret
Fairly speaking, Bass is not super complicated to treat or cook. But it is complicated enough for an average person to make the Bass into a desirable dish. So –
How Does Bass Taste Like?
As I mentioned above, different bass species have different tastes and smells. It partially depends on their habitat and diet. One thing all bass species have in common is that they are rich in vitamins and protein, which is good for health.
Additionally, they have lower calories compared to most other fishes, giving them a position in the healthy dish list.
So, what do each bass species taste like?
The largemouth bass is a popular bass species as a game fish. They are the main attraction in a lot of the tournaments. They are freshwater Bass and are mostly found in the eastern and central regions of North America.
They have been introduced to the other areas in recent years, though. Where they are native, they are found in almost every major lake, reservoir, ponds, and some slow-moving rivers.
So, if you are from the region mentioned above, you can go out there and catch the fish on your own. Otherwise, you may have to make a trip there or buy some if you are interested in eating them.
Largemouth bass has white meat with a firm and tender texture. However, the texture is meatier than the flaky ones. The meat is a bit dense and watery. There are a few bones to worry about.
Largemouth bass meat smells and tastes a bit fishy, even after baking. Hence, it is highly recommended to use seasoning to mask up the smell and taste.
Speaking of baking, It is a good idea to cook the fish in an outdoor environment unless you are ready to saturate the whole house with the overwhelming smell of the fish.
This fishy taste, and more importantly, the fishy smell, is the reason many people don’t like this fish. Another factor is these fish do taste kind of mud-ish or dull. Besides seasoning, you can also fry or grill the fish, both of which can effectively get rid of the smell as well as taste.
Besides the Largemouth bass, the Smallmouth bass is another popular bass variety. It is native to central and northern North America. Smallmouth bass is considerably smaller in size compared to largemouth.
However, they are still popular as game fish. They are the perfect candidate to practice catch-n-release game. Do you know how long Bass can live out of water?
Lately, the smallmouth Bass has been introduced to the other parts of the USA, UK, Japan, and a few other countries. Smallmouth bass also has the iconic fishy smell and taste that keeps a lot of people away from the Largemouth bass.
So, you better be ready to tackle the smell. But the smell is not as overpowered as the largemouth bass. However, smallmouth bass tastes a little less dull. Instead, they have a mild sweetish taste.
In appearance, smallmouth meat is very close to that of the largemouth bass—the same old white meat with light textures. Smallmouth meat also contains very few fishbones.
It has a sort of fishy smell but definitely not overwhelming the largemouth bass. In my opinion, an outdoor cooking setup is not a necessity; you can definitely manage to pull it off in your kitchen as long as it has decent airflow.
Nevertheless, seasoning the meat before baking is recommended, unless you want to fry it or grill it. Overall, smallmouth meat is more appealing compared to largemouth meat.
The spotted Bass is another well-known bass species to the professional and competitive angler community. Spotted Bass, also known as spotty in the community due to its abundance of spots, is native to southern North America.
However, its natural habitat extends in the Atlantic as well. It is not uncommon for inexperienced anglers to confuse spotted Bass as largemouth.
In all fairness, they do resemble black Bass (largemouth) to some extent. They do have a slightly different structure, and their mouth is not as big as a largemouth. That is the main giveaway.
However, the major giveaway is underneath the skin. If you pay attention, a spotted bass does not smell as obviously as a largemouth.
Yes, spotted Bass has the fishy smell that is common across almost all bass species. And yes, their meat also has the trademark smell, just not as much. It is much more tamed and controllable.
Spotted bass meat is also white but a bit more red-ish than largemouth and smallmouth bass. And no, you don’t have to worry about bones.
While largemouth and smallmouth bass is avoided by the most when it comes to eating, the spotted Bass is much more welcomed. They have a slightly above fishy smell than an average fish, but it is not really a big deal.
The spotted Bass has a mildly sweet but almost neutral taste. And you can probably ignore the smell if you are not focusing on it.
Hence, it is not a necessity to shower them with seasoning when baking. They can be prepared as a stand-alone dish, baked with seasoning, put in soup, or as an ingredient with other recipes, as well as your average grilling and pan-frying.
Spotted Bass can be prepared and consumed in a lot more creative ways than most other bass species.
What Makes Bass Unattractive To So Many People?
Well, after the previous discussion, it is clear to see what gives Bass its bad reputation. It’s the fishy smell and flavor. As I mentioned above, it depends on the habitat and diet of the fish.
The same bass species from two different sources will taste different. So, if you have a bad experience trying to eat Bass in the past, there is a high chance that you were simply unlucky.
Another big factor is how the fish is cleaned and prepared. Since the fish meat has a default smell and flavor that is annoying, it needs to be cleaned and cooked with much more attention and patience than most other fish.
Most people do not know or care about properly preparing the fish. But when cooked properly, It will be something you might just like.
Despite having a wide range of species and habitual influence, all the bass species have the iconic fishy smell and taste. They taste either mildly sweet or neutral. But when not treated properly, they may carry on their smell, flavor, or even may taste muddy or gross.
It depends on the source the fish was harvested from, the person cooking it, and the person tasting it. Overall, it is highly recommended to pay attention when cooking fish. Get out there and get fishing. Chill. And now you know how bass tastes like. So, care to try it out?