The smallmouth bass is a species of sunfish that can be found all across North America. They are popular gamefish and are known by other names including “smallie” and “jumper”.
Despite being popular with anglers, the smallmouth bass is considered to be an invasive species, spread to other areas primarily via sportfishing. It’s this sportfishing that introduced the species to the lakes and rivers of the Southern United States, where the fish are unwanted by conservation authorities.
Smallmouth bass generally weigh anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds, with the occasional report indicating that some fish can get as heavy as 10 pounds. In terms of length, the average smallmouth is anywhere from 12-16 inches long.
These fish can be found in a range of colors including brown, tan, green, and a dark bronze. They have vertical stripes running the length of their body and a mouth that does not extend past its eyes, which is what gives it the name “smallmouth” when compared with their larger relatives, the largemouth bass, whose mouth and jaw extend well past the point of their eyes.
- Are Smallmouth Bass Safe To Eat?
- Can I Eat Smallmouth Bass Raw?
- Do Smallmouth Bass Taste Good?
- Does Eating Smallmouth Bass Have Any Health Benefits?
- What Is the Best Way to Cook Smallmouth Bass?
- Is Freshwater Bass Safe During Pregnancy?
Are Smallmouth Bass Safe To Eat?
Yes, smallmouth bass, along with many other kinds of bass, are safe to eat. They’re as healthy as any other freshwater fish and, when compared to some other species, can be cleaner, too. Of course, there are some situations in which you wouldn’t want to eat the bass you catch due to safety reasons.
This includes if your bass has been fished from water that you know is toxic for whatever reason, as well as if you have certain dietary restrictions that restrict your consumption of seafood.
Can I Eat Smallmouth Bass Raw?
It’s no secret that raw fish can be delicious. Trout, salmon, and a variety of other species can be eaten dried, marinatyes, or smoked, but don’t have to be processed using heat ie. cooked.
Bass can be eaten raw. However, it’s generally recommended to cook your bass before you eat it, as it can contain freshwater parasites. Freshwater fish like smallmouth bass, tend to be considered less safe to eat raw than saltwater fish, as salt water is an effective parasitic agent.
If your bass has been caught in clean water and you’re not concerned about parasites, eating your bass raw is an option.
Do Smallmouth Bass Taste Good?
Bass live in various kinds of waters. That being said, if the water they live in is muddy and clouded with algae blooms, your bass is likely going to have a very unpleasant taste and smell. You can, of course, mask much of this unpleasantness with spices and sauces, but if you enjoy the taste of freshwater fish as a whole and prefer to be able to taste your bass, you wouldn’t like bass caught from dirty water.
Bass that live in clean water, especially if they’re caught during the colder seasons of the year when the water has the most oxygen and very little algae, your bass will taste fresh and clean. It has been said that smallmouth bass often taste “slightly sweet” and “crisp”.
In addition, if the harsh flavor of largemouth bass isn’t something you enjoy, smallmouth bass might be the way to go, as it’s milder in taste when sourced from clean water. Smallmouth bass meat has a firm texture that appeals to most people’s palettes.
Does Eating Smallmouth Bass Have Any Health Benefits?
Smallmouth bass does indeed have a number of health benefits associated with its regular consumption. Here are a few of the more notable.
Reduces risk of heart disease and lowers blood pressure.
Everyone knows that eating fish is healthy and, in the case of the smallmouth bass, one of the reasons is because it contains a high level of omega 3 fatty acids. These amino acids are crucial to regular function of the human body.
They serve as a source of energy and help to keep the heart, lungs, immune system, and blood vessels working properly. They also help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Bass are chalked full of nutrients including micronutrients. In a piece of bass, you can find zinc, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, B12, and C. These nutrients are helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, which, like omega 3 fatty acids, helps to prevent heart-related issues.
Source of protein.
Bass is high in protein. Protein helps to maintain the integrity of the body’s organ systems, muscle tissue, and cell structure. It also helps your hair, nails, and skin regenerate and grow, as well as strengthen your bones.
What Is the Best Way to Cook Smallmouth Bass?
Pan frying is a simple and delicious way to prepare your smallmouth bass. Leave the fillets whole or chop them into pieces; use a drizzle of olive oil or a bit of butter, and gently season. Be sure to cook your fish all the way through.
Baked bass is perfect for busy days when you don’t have the time to stand and monitor a pan or pot on the stove. Throw your bass into the oven with your choice of sauces or seasonings and let it cook while you do other things.
Grilled bass is ideal for a quick meal. By using the grill to cook your bass, you complete the cooking process quite quickly — and end up with a piece of bass with beautiful grill marks, to boot.
Is Freshwater Bass Safe During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women can eat smallmouth bass. However, it’s important that the bass is sourced from clean water. In addition, it can be a good idea for pregnant women to opt for eating younger smallmouth bass, as they tend to contain less mercury than older fish. Mercury poisoning can occur from eating older bass that have been eating mercury-filled fish for their entire lives. By eating younger bass, the woman in question will consume less mercury.