Great Lakes Angler Forum
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Eating smallmouth bass?

    Hi, While casting for walleye in Lake Erie's western basin I caught a nice smallmouth but didn't know the restrictions, etc so I released it.

    How are they to eat or is there anything special to know about cleaning them? I mostly fish for walleye and perch. Thanks,Dave.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Near Lansing, MI

    RE: Eating smallmouth bass?

    On trips to Georgian Bay (Parry Sound) fixng small mouth dinners is an every other day event. Soak the fillets in a bowl of milk for 10-15 minutes and then coat them in Shore Lunch dry batter by shaking them up in a ziplock with the batter. Then it's into the frying pan. No it is not walleye or yellow perch, but out of that cold water it is darn good eating. Much better tasting than large mouth bass.

    For smallies up to 3-4# out of Erie, I would think it would be pretty good too.

    [big][font color="navy"]Ryan
    Think [/font][font color="green"]KINGS!! [/font]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    In the hills, usa

    RE: Eating smallmouth bass?

    Most of the time bass are not my first choice to eat, be large or small mouth. I usually dont keep them but if that is the only fish who wants to commit suicide on my fillet knife so be it. I think they get a bad rap as a muddy poor eating fish.

    When I was growing up if it hit the hook, and wasnt a carp, it went in Grandma's fry pan. So I have eaten plenty of bass in my time and enjoyed every bite. The smaller the better, so long as they are legal. The larger fish tend to get a little on the mushy side, the taste is fine but the texture not so good. If they are over 16" I let them swim free.

    We fillet them out just like any other fish; walleyes, bluegills etc. Then strip them up into about 1" strips, soak them in a salt water bath overnight in the fridge, rinse and deep fry. Gotta admit they are not half bad if you do them that way.

    Last summer my kids were dinking around at the lake cottage and caught several 14-15" sized largemouths. I had a little fish fry for the neighbors and friends. I did them as described above and no one missed a beat stuffing their faces. Most who are fishermen were shocked to find out they were eating the muddy bass.

    I am not a pro but I got a Big Weenie.....hat!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Buffalo, Minnesota

    RE: Eating smallmouth bass?

    I realize Lake Erie is an exceptional fishery, in fact I've enjoyed catching hefty smallmouth in big numbers off Pelee Island. But, in my part of the upper midwest folks pretty much put smallmouth in the same preference as musky--they are great fun to catch, but please release them.

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