How To Fillet A Bass Properly [4 Tips & Full Guide]

April 9, 2022
by Dan Skewes

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So you have just made your first catch. Now you want to eat it. However, before we delve into how to fillet this fish, it is important to know how to clean the fish first. 

Cleaning a bass fish is pretty straightforward, much like cleaning any other type of fish. In addition to the gutting and filleting, some additional steps are involved. We will share how to fillet a bass, and more so you can enjoy your next fishing outing.

The process of cleaning a bass fish is one you shouldn't skip. Otherwise, you may get sick.

Cleaning a bass fish is not only safe but also effective if you want to learn about fishing. By observing the food samples eaten by the fish, you can match the hatch.

Why You Need To Clean A Bass Fish

It is necessary to clean a bass fish for a variety of reasons. If you look around most water bodies, you will find various components and plants. Several species of bass, including the striped bass, live in brackish saltwater, where a lot of salinity is present.

Health varies from person to person. It is always good to always check the fish for cleanliness, regardless of whether it is clean or not.

Still not convinced on why you should clean your bass fish? Then these four reasons will explain why you should.

For Preservation And Storage Purposes

It is important to clean all bass fish, whether they are striped bass, white bass, smallmouth bass, or largemouth bass.

By doing so, it will not decay due to components like E. coli and salmonellae that accelerate decay. These items will be removed when you clean the bass.

There will be no rush to eat the fish before it spoils. The bass will still be edible after several days.

Similarly, many researchers find it convenient to clean any bass before storing it. Doing so will reduce the storage space, allowing more bass to be stored.

Remove Unnecessary Body Organs

Anglers are focused on what's important; choosing lures, fishing, and holding the bass are all essential parts of the sport. The same applies to catching the fish.

Anglers are only interested in the meat, not the innards like the intestines that offer no value to them. A bass needs to be cleaned to remove unnecessary body parts. 

For Easier Cooking

It can be challenging to cook unclean fish. Note that when we say cleaning the fish, we mean more than simply cleaning with water. We also mean gutting and filleting the fish.

It becomes easier to cook the fish this way. No matter if this is your first time cooking the fish or if you are an expert, cleaning it will be a breeze.

By deep-frying or steaming your food, you can even improve your cooking skills.

To Remove Impurities From The Fish

Basses are great feeders that eat almost anything that comes their way, as long as it fits in their mouth. While doing so, they consume items that are harmful and dangerous for human consumption.

The body can suffer harm from this. However, when you clean the fish, such impurities are removed. Thus, the fish can be consumed by humans.

4 Tips to Properly Clean a Bass Fish

The following tips will help you clean a bass fish. This will make the process easier. 

  1. Gather the right tools for cleaning the bass correctly. Scalers, knives, and a cutting board are necessary for scaling, cutting, and placing the bass.
  2. Before filleting the fish, gut it and remove all the innards. This will give you an edge when filleting the fish. Check out our fillet section below for more tips
  3. Rinse the bass using running water. This will prevent the utensils from staining. Next, rinse the bass for a few minutes.
  4. The bass needs to be carefully scaled with a scaler. This should be the first step, to avoid touching the bacteria-harboring the scales.

How To Fillet A Bass Fish Guide

The process of filleting requires practice, patience, and the right tools. Taking out the fresh piece of fish meat is important if you forgot to fillet it.

The tools will include:

After a few weeks, you'll be an expert at filleting any bass, even the striped bass. By following these simple steps, you will be able to fry your meat.

1. Scale the Bass

Scaling the bass with a scaler is the first step. In addition to containing bacteria, creosote produces a foul odor. To remove all the scales, you will need to make sure that every bit is removed.

Although it might be tricky at first, with patience, everything will come together.

To eliminate the fishy smell, it is best to scale the bass in an open area away from your home. Place your fish on a cutting board, then apply downward pressure with your left hand.

Scrape them off with your right hand.

2. Gut The Bass

Place the bass on the cutting board and locate the vent close to the anal fin. With your knife, begin to open the belly towards the jawbone.

Avoid going too deep in order not to damage the organs. Scan the insides with your hands.

To remove the knife from the cavity, you will need it. Do not use too much pressure, as this will cause the knife to burst. Rinse the fish under running water.

3. Fillet The Bass

You can either remove the fish head from the bass before filleting it or not. However, it is recommended not to remove the head at the beginning. Instead, take a knife and stab it behind the gills.

The fish should be cut pointing towards the neck. Then, the tip of the knife should be used to slice the top of the fish next to the backbone.

Then slice towards the tail fin. Skim the knife between the fillet and the skin between the tail and the fillet.

Make sure your knife is slightly angled as you glide. Then, you'll have a fillet free from the skin.

Related: How To Fillet A Walleye & Remove Bones For A Glorious Dinner

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