It’s the white bass time of the year, and Arkansas waters are loaded with them. When the fish make spawning runs up rivers and creeks feeding into lakes, they can be caught in abundance.
White Bass? Yes, They Are Good For The Table
White bass are fighters at the end of a line, especially light line. They will take a variety of live baits, minnows in particular, and an assortment of lures – small crank baits, spinners, jigs.
But some people turn up their noses at eating white bass.
“They taste fishy.” “Too strong.” “Not good to eat.” “Trash fish.”
And other Arkansas anglers just smile and prepare white bass for the evening meal or to go into a freezer.
According to fishermen at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the common way to deal with white bass for cooking is to fillet them then use the tip of a sharp knife to cut out the strip of red or dark flesh. It is not difficult, and this strip is also common in the white bass cousins – striped bass and hybrid bass. It is what gives the “strong” taste.
With this strip of red gone, prepare the fillets as you would most any other freshwater fish.
A second treatment method is more involved.
Put the fillets, red streak and all, in a pan and cover it with buttermilk Let the pan sit in a refrigerator for a couple of hours then remove, discard the buttermilk and cover the fillets with a half and half mixture of white vinegar and water. Let this sit for an hour or so then pour off the liquid and rinse the fish then pat dry with paper towels.
With either treatment, the white bass fillets will be ready for your choice of cooking routes.
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