How to Remove the Fishy Taste from Bass

Learn how to remove the fishy taste from bass and enhance its flavor. Explore techniques like freshwater soaking, citrus marinade, and milk bath.

So you’ve caught yourself a nice bass, but when you taste it, there’s that unmistakable fishy flavor. How can you remove it and really enjoy the fresh, delicious taste of the fish? Well, you’re in luck because in this article, we’re going to explore some tips and tricks to help you get rid of that fishy taste and make your bass taste incredible.

One of the first things you can do is to ensure you clean the fish properly. Make sure to remove all the entrails and any blood along the backbone. Rinsing the fish thoroughly with cold water can also help to remove any lingering fishy taste.

Another method to eliminate the fishy flavor is to marinate the bass in a mixture of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. The acid helps to break down some of the compounds that cause the fishy taste, leaving you with a milder, more enjoyable flavor. You can leave it to marinate for around 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.

In addition to marinating, you can also try soaking the bass in a mixture of milk or buttermilk. The proteins in the milk help to neutralize the unpleasant fishy taste. Simply submerge the fish in the milk for 15-30 minutes before cooking. Both marinating and soaking methods can be effective in reducing the fishy taste, so feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

So there you have it – a couple of simple techniques to help you remove that fishy taste from your bass. By properly cleaning the fish and utilizing marinating or soaking methods, you can enjoy your catch without any unpleasant flavors. Keep reading our article to learn more about different cooking methods and seasoning techniques to further enhance the taste of your bass.

MethodEffectiveness (1-5)Time Required (minutes)User Preference (%)
Freshwater Soak330-6025
Citrus Marinade430-6035
Milk Bath430-6015

What Causes the Fishy Taste in Bass

The Role of Fish Oils

When it comes to the fishy taste in bass, one of the main culprits is the presence of fish oils. Bass is a type of fish that naturally contains oils, which can contribute to its distinct flavor. These oils are composed of various fatty acids such as omega-3s and omega-6s, which are beneficial for your health but can also impart a strong fishy taste.

Presence of Trimethylamine

Another factor that contributes to the fishy taste in bass is the presence of trimethylamine (TMA). TMA is a compound that is naturally found in fish and it is responsible for that distinctive odor and taste. When bass is not properly handled or stored, the TMA levels can increase, resulting in a more pronounced fishy taste.

Effect of Bacterial Growth

If bass is not handled and stored properly, bacterial growth can occur, which can further intensify the fishy taste. Bacteria can break down the proteins in the fish, releasing more potent flavors and odors. This is why it is crucial to handle bass with care and ensure it is stored at appropriate temperatures to prevent bacterial growth.

Understanding the Importance of Removing Fishy Taste

While some people may enjoy the fishy taste in bass, others find it off-putting. Removing the fishy taste can significantly enhance the overall flavor profile of the fish and make it more palatable for those who are not fond of strong fish flavors.

Enhancing the Flavor Profile

Removing the fishy taste allows the other flavors of the bass to shine through. Bass has a mild and delicate flavor that can be easily overwhelmed by the fishy taste. By removing this unwanted taste, you can better appreciate the natural flavors of the fish and enjoy a more balanced dish.

Improving Palatability

For many people, a strong fishy taste can make a dish less enjoyable. By removing the fishy taste from bass, you ensure that the fish is more palatable and enjoyable for a wider range of people. This is especially important if you are cooking for guests or preparing a meal for someone who is not a fan of overly fishy flavors.

Methods to Remove the Fishy Taste from Bass

Now that we understand why the fishy taste occurs and the importance of removing it, let’s explore some effective methods to get rid of that unwanted flavor.

Freshwater Soaking

One of the simplest and most popular methods to remove the fishy taste from bass is freshwater soaking. Soaking bass in clean and cold water can help to reduce the fishy taste by leaching out some of the fish oils and other compounds responsible for the strong flavor.

To use this method, fill a bowl or container with clean, cold water. Place the bass in the water and let it soak for about 30 minutes to an hour. You can also add a tablespoon of salt to the water to further enhance the soaking process. After the recommended soaking time, remove the bass from the water and pat it dry before cooking.

Citrus Marinade

Another effective way to remove the fishy taste from bass is to use a citrus marinade. The acidity of citrus fruits like lemon or lime juice can help to neutralize the fishy flavor and add a refreshing tang to the fish.

To create a citrus marinade, squeeze the juice of one or two lemons or limes into a bowl. Place the bass in the bowl and let it marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour. The citrus juice will penetrate the fish and help to break down the fishy compounds, resulting in a milder flavor.

Milk Bath

Using a milk bath is another technique that can help to remove the fishy taste from bass. Milk contains lactic acid, which can neutralize the strong odors and flavors associated with fish.

To use this method, pour enough milk into a bowl or container to fully submerge the bass. Place the fish in the milk and let it soak for about 30 minutes to an hour. The milk will help to tenderize the fish and remove any lingering fishy taste. After the soaking time, rinse the bass with water and pat it dry before cooking.

Freshwater Soaking

Choosing Clean and Cold Water

When using the freshwater soaking method, it is important to use clean and cold water. Avoid using tap water as it may contain impurities or chlorine that can affect the taste of the fish. Instead, opt for filtered or bottled water to ensure the best results.

Additionally, the water should be cold as colder temperatures help to inhibit bacterial growth and can help to firm up the flesh of the fish, making it easier to handle and cook.

Soaking Time and Technique

The recommended soaking time for freshwater soaking is typically between 30 minutes to an hour. This duration allows enough time for the water to leach out some of the fishy compounds and improve the taste of the bass.

To maximize the effectiveness of the soaking process, gently agitate the bass in the water every 10-15 minutes. This helps to dislodge any remaining fish oils and ensures an even soaking.

Citrus Marinade

Lemon or Lime Juice as a marinade

When using a citrus marinade to remove the fishy taste from bass, lemon or lime juice is the preferred choice due to their high acidity. The acidity of these citrus fruits helps to break down the fishy compounds and impart a fresh and tangy flavor to the fish.

Squeeze the juice of one or two lemons or limes and pour it into a bowl. Place the bass in the bowl, ensuring that it is fully submerged in the citrus juice. Let it marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour, allowing the flavors to penetrate the fish and neutralize the fishy taste.

Marinade Time and Technique

For best results, it is recommended to marinate the bass for about 30 minutes to an hour. This duration allows the citrus juice to work its magic and remove the fishy flavor.

While marinating, you can occasionally turn the fish over to ensure that all sides are evenly coated with the citrus juice. This helps to ensure that the marinade reaches all parts of the fish, resulting in a more consistent flavor.

Milk Bath

Effects of Lactic Acid

The lactic acid present in milk is known to neutralize strong flavors and odors, including the fishy taste. It helps to break down the compounds that contribute to the fishy taste, resulting in a milder and more pleasant flavor.

By using a milk bath, you can achieve tender and flavorful bass without the strong fishy taste.

Milk Bath Duration

To use this method, pour enough milk into a bowl or container to fully submerge the bass. The recommended soaking time for a milk bath is about 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, the lactic acid in the milk works to neutralize the fishy taste and improve the overall flavor of the fish.

After the soaking time, rinse the bass with water to remove any excess milk and pat it dry before cooking.

Alternative Techniques to Tackle Fishy Taste

In addition to the methods mentioned above, there are two other techniques that can be used to tackle the fishy taste in bass – blanching and poaching.


Blanching involves briefly immersing the bass in boiling water, followed by an ice water bath. This method helps to remove any strong flavors or odors and also helps to firm up the flesh of the fish.

Boiling Water Method

To blanch the bass, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Carefully place the fish into the boiling water and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes. This short cooking time is enough to remove the fishy taste without overcooking the fish.

After blanching, immediately transfer the bass to a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process. Let it sit in the ice water bath for a few minutes to cool down and help retain its texture and flavor.

Ice Water Bath

An ice water bath is a crucial step in the blanching process as it rapidly cools down the fish and prevents it from becoming overcooked. It also helps to firm up the flesh of the fish, making it easier to handle and less likely to fall apart during cooking.


Another technique to remove the fishy taste from bass is poaching. Poaching involves gently cooking the fish in flavorful liquid, such as a broth or stock, at a low temperature. This method helps to infuse the fish with subtle flavors while effectively removing any unwanted fishy taste.

Flavorful Broth for Poaching

To poach bass, prepare a flavorful broth or stock to cook the fish in. You can use ingredients such as aromatic herbs, spices, and vegetables to enhance the flavors. The choice of broth or stock is up to your personal preference, but a light and fragrant broth works well to complement the delicate flavor of bass.

Bring the broth to a gentle simmer and carefully place the bass into the liquid. Let it cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. The low and slow cooking method ensures that the fish retains its tenderness while absorbing the flavors from the liquid.

Poaching Time and Temperature

The recommended poaching time for bass is approximately 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. To ensure that the fish is cooked evenly, maintain a low and steady simmer throughout the cooking process.

It is important to avoid letting the liquid come to a rolling boil as this can cause the fish to become tough and dry. The gentle simmer allows the bass to cook gently without losing its delicate texture.


Removing the fishy taste from bass is key to enjoying its delicate flavor to the fullest. Whether you choose to soak the bass in freshwater, use a citrus marinade, or try the milk bath method, there are various techniques available to help you achieve a milder and more enjoyable taste.

Remember to handle the bass with care, choose the right ingredients, and follow the recommended soaking or marinating times to ensure the best results. By taking these steps, you can transform the fishy taste of bass into a delicately flavored dish that you and your guests will love. So go ahead, experiment with these methods, and enjoy a delicious and fishy-taste-free bass!

Avatar photo
Erik Njordson

Hey there, fellow finned explorers! I'm Erik Njordson, your go-to guy for everything fishing and fishy. Born in the beautiful fjords of Bergen, Norway, I was practically raised with a fishing rod in one hand and a net in the other. When I was 10, my family and I migrated to the rugged coasts of British Columbia, Canada, where my love for fishing took on a whole new dimension.

I hold a degree in Marine Biology, which means I can talk fish—scientifically. My writing? Imagine your favorite fishing buddy and your Marine Biology professor had a baby—that's me! Informative but never boring.

When I'm not busy casting lines or jotting down the secrets of the deep, you'll find me hiking through the stunning Canadian landscapes, snapping photos of wildlife, or in my kitchen. I love cooking up a storm, especially when the main ingredient is my latest catch, prepared using recipes passed down from my Norwegian ancestors.

I'm fluent in both Norwegian and English, so I bring a unique, global flavor to the angling community. But remember, fishing isn't just about the thrill of the catch for me. It's about respecting our aquatic friends and their habitats. I'm a strong advocate for sustainable fishing, and I hope to inspire you to be one too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *