Best Way To Fillet White Bass

Here's the follow up to catching white bass, now you can fillet them!

Last week I shared Devils Lake, North Dakota-based guide Jason Feldner’s surefire tips to catch more white bass on crankbaits. I also promised you a follow-up this week on the best way to clean ‘em.

Here it is—a step-by-step video on how to clean white bass quickly so they taste the very best possible for you, your family and friends.

Feldner says anglers who don’t catch and keep the scrappy fighters are missing out on some great table fare. He insists that handled and cleaned properly, nine out of 10 people can’t tell the difference between white bass and walleye or northern pike.

That’s a pretty bold statement, but I know first-hand that when you follow a few simple recommendations, white bass do provide fantastic table fare, especially fried. Plus, follow Feldner’s methods and you’ll also end up with a pile of meat perfect for pickling, which goes great with crackers, cheese and ice cold beer. Give it a shot with this great pickling recipe, courtesy of the University of Minnesota Extension Service.


  • Whenever possible, place white bass on ice immediately after catching. In lieu of a large chest cooler filled with ice, place the fish in a live well, making sure the water is regulated frequently.
  • Fish have two types of skeletal muscle: white and red. Red muscles contain capillaries filled with blood, as well as the proteins, fats and fat-soluble vitamins. This is the primary reason many anglers describe the taste as “gamey.” Simply remove the red meat during the fillet process by staying 1/16-inch above the skin when you take off the initial fillet (see video for more details). An electric fillet knife like Rapala’s awesome Deluxe Cordless Fillet Knife Kit with 6- and 7.5-inch blades make the job much easier. I have talked to numerous guides who’ve burned out the motors on other brand electric fillet knives and now swear by the Rapala. Personally, mine is going on three years and still working as good as it did on day one.
  • Soak fillets in a milk and lemon juice mixture for a couple of hours in the refrigerator prior to cooking. I’ve also met guides who soak their white bass (and northern pike) fillets in 7-Up, which firms up the flesh, creating a mildly sweet taste that rivals crappie and perch when battered and fried.
  • Fish that will not be eaten within two days should be vacuum-sealed for freezer storage.

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