What Does Bass Fish Taste Like? Smell, Nutrition, & Texture

bass fish on wooden board ready for eating

When you think of tilapia, you think of a sweet and mild taste with a tender and flaky texture. But when you think of bass, you think of an aggressive sporty species. Although bass meat is edible, it barely makes its way to the kitchen.

What does bass fish taste like? Bass meat offers a general mild flavor, that gets a bit fishy with size. The bigger the bass, the gamier it will taste. However, the taste depends on the species of bass that you are preparing and the method of cooking that you opt to choose. For instance, smallmouth bass tastes much better, and cleaner and has no gamey taste.

Read on to know more about bass taste, smell, nutrition, and texture.

The Taste of Bass by Type Of Fish

The place where you fish bass, the type, and preferred food greatly impacts its taste. Striped bass, for instance, is completely delicious and can be found on the far end of the east coast beach.

The sea bass fish on the other hand has a delicate flavor with a subtle sweetness, similar to that of cod or grouper. 

Its flesh is tender, moist, and buttery. It also has firm medium-sized flakes that resemble a haddock. If you have a sensitive palate or aren’t a fan of seafood with a fishy taste, then this is your best shot.

How Does The Smell Of Bass Affect Its Flavor?

If you’ve been around a fishery, then you can attest that the smell is not one to warrant a second visit.

Well, bass fish, just like other types of fish expels a pungent odor when raw. But when cooked, it shouldn’t have any smell. The sea smell is fine, but not the fishy type.

According to Chef Dunton, having fresh fish will go a long way in ensuring your house doesn’t fill the fishy smell as you cook it.

Similar Fish That Bass Tastes of

If you missed bass at your fishmonger’s, you can substitute with these fish that will still give you the sweet and mild taste of bass. They include; 


The halibut has a mild, sweet-tasting white flesh that resembles that of tilapia. Its flavor is gentle and as such, it blends with bolder seasonings like basil, lemon juice, and pesto. 

Just like bass, halibut is a source of protein and selenium. Other nutrients that you can source from the halibut include magnesium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.


There are about 30 different species of the flounders, which have a similar shape as the halibut. Their meat is extremely tender and sweet meat. Their flaky flesh remains moist when cooked, giving you a delicate flavor. 

To achieve that exotic bass taste, prepare it by poaching, baking, broiling, or pan-frying it.


Similar to bass, turbot fish also have firm flesh that is pleasant to your tasting buds. It’s a unique species whose flesh turns blue when stale.  

You can poach, bake or grill it and play around with parsley sauce or sauce to turn it into a delicacy

Cod Fish

Bass does taste the same as codfish. The codfish itself has flaky flesh that comes along with numerous ingredients. The best way to cook cod is through baking, but you can be creative with other methods. The fish can be sautéed, poached, or fried.

Are There Plenty of Bones and Are They Edible?

If you are craving for a bass bite, you should be aware of small rib bones that you have to deal with when eating bass. Bass does have plenty of bones, and you’ll probably regret not having ordered fillet.

Are the bones edible? Absolutely! But do you want to spend time digging deep into the bones while you can enjoy fleshy bass meat? These rib-bones usually don’t have a lot of meat. But if it’s a big bass, then you can get some meat between the bones as bass is usually “meaty”.

Nutritional Values in Bass

Are you dieting? The keto perhaps? Substitute the beef with bass and you’ll love the results. 

Bass meat is low in calories and contains high levels of proteins. They are excellent providers of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. Selenium plays a key role in metabolism and thus important to humans. They are also high providers of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 as well. It’s good to note that freshwater bass contains 77 percent more vitamin B12 than sea bass does.

Table Of Data

Nutrient Largemouth bassSmallmouth bass

Bar Chart Of Data


Bass is suitable for preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia disease as the anecdotal report claims that bass helps balance omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. Studies do show that reducing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with the increase of age-related cognitive decline.

The sea bass, however, has a mercury warning in the US and is limited to 6 portions per year. Children under the age of 8 and pregnant women should avoid it altogether as it interferes with the nervous system’s development.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy Bass to Eat 

All bass do not cost the same. The price of bass is determined by the size and species of the bass. For instance, a native largemouth bass that is about 6-8 inches can be sold at $4.50, while one that is about 2-3 inches goes for $1.10.

A hybrid striped bass that is 6-8 inches is sold at $3.50 whereas that of size 4-6 inches is sold at $2.85. A large hybrid bass of between 8-10 inches will cost $5.50while an adult largemouth bass is sold at $12.95. 

Smallmouth basses are expensive as a 3-4 inch smallmouth bass costs around $5.95, and one that is 5-7 inches big costs around $9.95.

Recipes to Try With Bass 

When cooked well, bass will have a lovely, moist, flaky texture. While most people will agree that sea bass is delicious, the largemouth bass is fishier and that the spotted bass is sweeter, it all trickles down to type, location, and most importantly method of cooking.

Let’s check out some great bass recipes and how to prepare.

How to Prepare Fish for Cooking

If you just made your catch, here are some tips on how to prepare bass before cooking;

  1. Bonk and Bleed it Out

You have to make it unconscious, which you can easily achieve by hitting it with a rock between the eyes. Using a sharp knife, cut into the gills and turn it upside down to enhance blood flow.

  1. Remove the scales
  2. Cut through the belly and remove the inner organs
  3. Cut the fins and wash it nicely 

5 Recipes And Ways To Cook Bass

Pan Searing

The easiest way to cook bass is by pan-searing. Consider using butter or oil with pepper and salt. Cook each side of the bass for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. 

Grilled Bass

You can also decide to grill your bass using butter, oil, chopped parsley, and pepper for taste. Heat your grill prior to a high setting. Mix the onion powder, salt, and lemon pepper together in a small bowl. Coat your fish by rubbing the seasoning in and over it, and consider melting butter in a small pan. 

Take it off the pan after 30-40 seconds, and brush some oil onto your grill lightly and place the fish on top. Grill it for about 6-9 minutes and turn. After tuning, gently drizzle the parsley butter and garlic over the fish and leave it again to grill for about 7 minutes until it’s cooked. Before serving, you can consider adding a drizzle of olive oil over the fish.

Blackened Bass

Start off by rinsing and drying the fillet. Place it in a bowl and then toss oil onto the fish. Mix garlic salt, paprika, lemon pepper, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper in a bowl and whisk it hard.

Add oil to a pan or a cast-iron skillet. Dredge the fish in the mixture slowly coating it on both sides. Cook for about two minutes on each side and ensure the fillets are crusty or until the fillets are ready for serving.

Poached Bass over Frisee

Cook it gently in a broth made with thyme, parsley, shallot, and mustard seeds to infuse it with delicate flavors.

Bass Tacos

Bass tacos with grapefruit salsa can be a good meal. Make a quick salsa of chopped avocado and grapefruit to garnish.

No matter how you cook bass, its white, firm-fleshed meat can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet adding vegetables and starch. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference in Taste between Bass vs. Sea Bass?

Sea bass is preferably recommended to those who recoil at the overly fishy smell/taste of other fish. It has a sweet flavor, meat consistency, and high-fat content. When steamed, poached, grilled, or pan-fried, sea bass gives an excellent taste.

Bass provides you with a firm white flesh that has a general mild flavor. They are however described as being too fishy as they produce a fishy taste/smell. 


Just as they are of different species and character, their flavors are also different. When well cooked, you can achieve the mild flavor of bass fish.

It’s not only sweet but healthy too. Low in fat and calories, you should definitely put this in your diet. You will also greatly benefit from its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. 

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