Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post covering an often asked question when it comes to Bass fishing… can you eat Striped Bass? Now, the short answer is absolutely, if fact, it is actually an extremely popular table fish.
The flesh is commonly described as being very delicious without being too ‘fishy’ – which as we all know, is often used by people to describe the type of fish they like to eat.
So, let’s look at the in and outs of consuming Striped Bass below…
What are Striped Bass?
So, before we start, let’s just quickly recap what we are talking about here. Striped Bass are a predominately saltwater gamefish native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to Louisiana.
They draw their name from their six to eight continuous horizontal stripes on each side, from their gills to their tail. They have strong streamlined bodies that are generally light green or olive in colour although some can also be steel blue, black, or brown dependent upon where they live with a white or silver iridescent underside.
Striped Bass generally live for up to 30 years depending on their habitat and can reach sizes of up to 5 feet in length.
Note: Due to concerns around stock levels, most states and jurisdictions implement ‘slot limits’ on catches which determines the minimum and maximum sizes that can be kept as well as bag limits (e.g. 5 per person) on the number that can be harvested on each trip.
Can you eat Striped Bass?
Definitely! Striped Bass is an extremely popular table fish with a firm, flaky texture and delicate, mild taste. It is similar to most fast moving saltwater species in that the flesh is clean and not very oily.
Are they any good?
Striped Bass produce a flesh that is firm with a flaky texture and delicate, mild taste. They are similar to most saltwater species in that the flesh is clean and not very oily.
As they can grow quite large however it is worthwhile keeping in mind that:
- Older varieties tend to taste a lot stronger or ‘fishier’ so if you are planning to keep one for dinner, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest one you catch.
- Larger varieties are also more susceptible to worms and parasites and well as higher levels of mercury in some locations.
In most cases, as long as you keep them of legal size without going for the biggest one you can find and you are within your slot limit, then you are generally ok.
As with most white meated fish, Striped Bass do not need to be bled upon capture however if you plan to consume it, then it is always a good idea to place them on ice as soon as possible after it is landed. Many use an ice slurry in a cooler which is generally a ratio of 2 parts ice to 1 part water for this purpose.
Note: If you have managed to catch your Striped Bass in fresh water, just make sure you clean it thoroughly first as it is here that they can pick up impurities not found in salt water.
From here, preparation will be determined by your planned consumption. If they are to be eaten whole then you will need to clean and scale them beforehand. If you plan to pan fry, then you can either scale and fillet or fillet and skin. Keep the meat refrigerated or on ice at all times before and after preparation.
Can you freeze uncooked fillets?
Yes – Raw Striped Bass can be frozen for up to around 9 months. It must at the very least be gutted and cleaned and placed in an airtight bag (ziplock bags are good here) prior to being placed in the freezer.
If you are planning to eat the flesh raw, then check that it is ‘sushi grade’. This generally means that it is frozen immediately after it is caught. This kills potential parasites the fish may have.
Can they be eaten raw?
Absolutely – this is considered a great species for the sushi or sashimi wheel – see below.
How to cook Striped Bass
At the end of the day, due to its white flesh, Striped Bass can be prepared in the same manner as most other saltwater species in that they can be:
Bass fillets can be cooked over charcoal or gas grills with any and all spices and seasonings as you see fit. Below is a common recipe:
- Heat a grill hot but not smoking.
- Pat fillets dry then spread butter or oil over the non-skinned side (or both if fillet is skinned) along with salt and pepper.
- Grill fillets until just cooked (fillets start to flake) – Do not overcook as the meat will go dry.
- Consume with salad or grilled vegetables.
You can of course use any other herbs or spices on the flesh to taste.
As above, but in a pan – I like to add garlic to the butter when I pan fry white fish fillets with the salt and pepper as well. I have seen many pan fried fish recipes with Asian spices used too so that is also worth a try. Of course, they can also be crumbed as well which entails:
- Gather three bowls and in the first, place some flour, eggs (beaten) in the second and breadcrumbs in the third.
- Pat dry each fillet (skin on or off to preference) and then cover in flour.
- Sink the flour covered fillets into the egg mixture and then cover in breadcrumbs
- Shallow fry in the oil of your choice in a pan large enough to hold the full size of the fillet.
- Spritz with lemon juice and consume with fries (chips), salad or whatever else takes your fancy.
Note: For extra flavour, add salt and pepper to the flour or even some grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs. I have even seen some good recipes using BBQ rubs on the fillets as well.
For this next option, the fish is cooked whole in the oven. A cooking example is as below:
- Make sure the fish is cleaned and scaled.
- Score the skin with a sharp knife (This will stop it shrinking too much from the heat)
- Cover the outside with a lubricant such as butter or oil
- Fill the cavity with whatever takes your fancy (common options are garlic, herbs, spices, lemon, tomatoes or mustard)
- Bake in the oven until just cooked – again, it will dry out if left too long
Note: Based on my research over a number of recipes, a 1.5lb Bass will take around 15 – 30 minutes in a 375 deg oven.
As above, Striped Bass is a very popular fish of choice when it comes to use in sushi or sashimi. If you are looking to go this way then:
- Lay your fillet out onto a cutting board – make sure it is completely thawed if it has been frozen.
- Using a very sharp filleting knife (or chefs knife), slice thin slices to personal preference.
- Present on your plate with dipping sauce of your choice – I personally love a good sweet and sour sauce myself but you can use soy, sweet chilli or even a nice chilli oil if you prefer.
And there you go – my response to the question of whether you can eat Striped Bass. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences – or recipes – would love to see your recipes below too.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time