The only guide on “How to fillet a Bass” you’ll ever need!

Do you know that bass is of two categories largemouth and smallmouth bass? Today in this article Canoe Surfer will help you to fillet your bass with the requisite knowledge of both of its types and the techniques of how to fillet a bass.

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Let’s start our learning by distinguishing between largemouth bass and smallmouth bass

In this article, you will learn:

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

  • Upper jaw extends eye
  • Deep notch separating dorsal
  • Greenish body with horizontal lines

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

  • Upper jaw levels with an eye
  • No break down between dorsal fins
  • Brownish body with a vertical line

Largemouth grows bigger and is fun to search for. Whereas smallmouth is acrobatic and puts up a good fight.

Now that you know which bass you are dealing with, we are to the next step how to fillet a largemouth and smallmouth bass.


fillet knife

  • Fillet Knife

The knife should have a flexible blade with a grip of some hard material. The normal range of blade fillet knife should have is 8-10 inches.

  • Filleting Glove

When buying gloves for filleting you better look at the ones which do not have slippery material.

  • Cutting Board

The board should be of a longer length this will provide easy cleaning and skinning.

  • Vacuum Sealer

If you have caught enough bass that could be used later vacuum sealer is best for preserving your fish for a longer time.

How to fillet a bassbass fillet

It’s time to filet your bass with the following easy to do steps

Positioning the knife:

Wear your gloves properly. Hold your fish against the filleting boards, positioning the curve on your knife at the top of the gill plate. Make a cut from top to down and back on a straight line that comes behind the pectoral line. With the required amount of force make the cut in one slice.


Making the cut:

The dorsal fin is your other guide in this step. Insert the knife, perpendicularly to the top of your first cut about an inch. Stay on the same side of the backbone. Slice back to the rare side of the fish down to the rib cage.

Feel the tip of the knife at the outer side of each rib. DO NOT PASS THE KNIFE FROM THE RIBS.

Making the fillet:

Now that a cut has been drawn on one side of the fish it is time for your bass fillet. Continue the cutting carefully and slowly.  When cutting the tail be cautious of the remaining half on the other side


Removing the fillet:

At this point, you should have the belly or the boneless part of your bass. Carefully lift the fillet off the backbone of your fish using the curve blade on your fillet knife.


Repeat the first three steps on the other side of the fish.

Removing the skin:

Hold the tail with your off-hand and let the flexible blade slide in. Put it between the flesh and the skin and slide it though sharply but with great focus.

Be cautious of the sharp yet flexible knife. Always point it away from yourself.

These are the steps that will help you fillet your bass like an experienced man, you can watch this video to have better clarification.

How to clean a bassclean a bass

Cleaning bass is a little messy but gives you comfort when eating. So here in this section, we will learn how to clean bass fish


  • Knife
  • Trash bag

Making the cut:

Make an incision cut on the tail fin present on the belly. Cut it wide open from the incision to the lower jaw.

Cleaning the insides:

Bring out all the intestines and organs from the cavity. Look for a bean-shaped organ, yes, it is the fish’s kidney to take it out as well. Wash the inside with fresh and clean water.

Wash it thoroughly

Use your fingers to pull out anything remaining and wash again with water. Look towards the head and tail part with more attention, as something can be found there because of their shape. Clean it thoroughly and wash it again with fresh water.

Removing the skin

It is time to separate the skin. Use a sharp but flexible knife for this process. It requires your focus; make sure that you are in bright light. Insert the knife from the tail between the skin and flesh and bring it to the top.  Do this process on both sides of your bass. You can cut the head off if you wish but it is recommended to keep it for fillet purposes.

How to cook smallmouth or largemouth bass

Wondering what to do with your bass fillet? We are sharing the best ways you can end your hectic day with amazing dinner

  • Deep Frying

Deep Frying

Roll fillet in cornmeal and put them in an oil pan. In about five minutes they will change color their color to brown. Ta-da its now ready to eat.

  • Baked with butter and onion

Baked with butter and onion

This one is the simplest recipe of all time. Put the fillet in the baking oven with some butter drops and onions rings on top. 5 minutes and you are done.

  • Bass on grill

Bass on grill


Preheat grill for some minutes then sprays some oil on it. Once the grill is heated put the fillet on it and let it cook. As the color changes turn the side and let it cook as done before.

Smallmouth bass is used in most of the recipes. It has been seen that the bass carries the tastes of its diet. This is the major reason why largemouth bass is not eaten frequently. Largemouth bass stays near the structure or where they can find a cover. This strongly dominates their taste and


  • It is mandatory to clean the fish before freezing
  • If you want to eat the skin then it’s totally fine
  • Scales must be removed to avoid choking and internal bleeding

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