Largemouth Bass Culinary Profile
Largemouth Bass have white flesh with a firm, tender texture and few bones in the fillets. The flavor of Largemouth Bass is described as mild, watery, not as clean as Smallmouth Bass, and can tend to taste a little fishy. Because of this, people tend to either like or dislike it immediately, with about 30% of people not being fond of its flavor. But this could be in part due to the way in which it is prepared. For the best results, remove the skin and bloodline before cooking as this will help minimize a fishy taste.
Wild Largemouth Bass are not available in restaurants because they are caught from so many different lakes & rivers that it is impossible for the FDA to verify the safety of the originating waters (in regards to pollution). Therefore, only aquaculture fish are available to food service or retail providers.
Smallmouth Bass have a more likable flavor to Largemouth Bass as more people prefer the sweeter, cleaner taste of Smallmouth.
Spotted Bass have a flavor similar to Smallmouth Bass, with firm textured, white meat, a mild flavor without a strong fishy taste that puts some people off.
Typical Cooking Methods
Black Bass, Bigmouth Bass, American Black Bass, Green Trout, Green Bass, Bucketmouth Bass, Florida Bass, Potter’s Fish, Oswego Bass, Southern Largemouth, Northern Largemount (can’t leave anyone out!)
Largemouth Bass Typical Wholesale Products
Farmed Fresh Live
Largemouth Bass was one of 20 freshwater species studied at Kentucky State University for potential aquaculture production in the US. The majority of farmed Largemouth are used for restocking recreational sportfishing waterways. But limited commercial foodservice production of the fish has also been successful, mainly for live sales in ethnic Asian markets who pay a premium price. Asian consumers appear to prefer live Largemouth Bass to most other freshwater fish. There has also been a large increase in production of this fish in China.
US aquaculture operations take 2 – 2 ½ years for fish to reach a market size of about 1 ½ – 2 lbs live weight. They are primarily fed a diet of fish including goldfish, minnows, carp, bluegills, and/or tilapia and eventually put on a formulated protein feed.
Description (Micropterus salmoides)
Size: Largemouth Bass are a member of the Black Bass species, which are not actually Bass at all, but are rather members of the Sunfish species. Technically, a Sunfish is any species in the freshwater fish family Centrarchidae (sin-tr-ark-i-day). Largemouth Bass are the largest of the Sunfishes, with a record wild weight of 22 pounds 4 onces, but an average weight of about 1 – 3 lbs and average length of 12 – 16 inches.
Identification: Largemouths are a dark olive-green color on the back with lighter green sides and a white belly. They have a black mottled strip on their sides which extends from snout to tail. The dorsal fins are spiny and soft-rayed joined with a deep notch between them.
The upper part of the mouth extends past the eye and opens up wide into a circular cavern almost the size of its entire body. Smallmouth bass have a similar appearance, but the upper jaw ends below the eye.
image courtesy Maine.gov
image courtesy BassOnLine.com
Diet: Juvenile Bass eat smaller items like insects. Adult bass consume a variety of fish, crayfish, frogs, newts, dragonflies, bird fledglings, snakes, and virtually anything else they can fit in their mouths!
Black Bass Species: There are 3 primary Black Bass species which are the most popular in North America: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Spotted Bass. Other less popular Black Bass species (as far as sport fishing goes) include Alabama Bass, Florida Bass, Guadalupe Bass, Redeye Bass, Shoal Bass, and Suwannee Bass. Here is a great resource page for identifying all 9 species of Black Bass in North America.
Largemouth Bass Butchering Yield %
Yield from a 1 1/2 lb whole fish to H&G is about 60%.
|Item||To Skin/On Fillets||To Skin/Off Fillets||Notes|
|Whole Undressed||50%||42%||Based upon a 1 1/2 lb whole fish|
|Skin/On Fillets||—||84%||If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.|
|Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.|
Range & Habitat
Largemouth Bass are found primarily in North American lakes, backwaters, and slow-moving sections of rivers. They prefer the cover of logs, weeds, lilly pads, coontail mats and other weedy growths. These areas give them the ability to lurk in hiding so they can ambush their prey. Although they prefer the shallows, they also visit deep weeklines and breaks, especially during the heat of the day or the warmest days of summer. During dawn & dusk Bass can be found in the shallows hunting for food.
Largemouth Bass are the rock stars of the freshwater sports fishing world in North America, with millions of dollars spent annually on amateur & pro fishing tournaments, shows, and promotional items. They are the #1 gamefish in the United States and are extremely popular among anglers. They are aggressive feeders, which makes them easy to catch since they will strike at anything they think is alive.
They are also a hard-fighting fish which will breach water and become airborne in order to try to break free from a hook, making them an exciting fish to catch. Most people who fish for Bass do it for the sport instead of the need/desire to eat, and therefore abide by the catch and release philosophy. Check-out these great fishing tips for catching Largemouths.
Wild Bass are generally considered to have a Medium Mercury Level. For this reason, you shouldn’t eat more than six portions of bass per month. Farmed Bass on the other hand tend to have very low Mercury levels.
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.