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Cooking and eating your catch can be a tasty and rewarding experience. But often, with eating wild food comes wild bugs.
What do you do if you find worms (yuck!) in bass meat? And are they harmful?
Do Bass Have Worms?
Yes, the short answer is that they probably do have worms.
Most, if not all wild fish will likely have some type of parasite living either on or in the fish. However, most of the time, they can be completely harmless to humans, as long as you cook the fish before you eat it.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass can often be prone to bass tapeworm (white flat worms that live inside the fish). These can also affect other species of fish, such as trout and perch.
There are also several other parasites and worms that can be found living in and on freshwater fish, including bass. Saltwater species and anadromous fish are also susceptible to parasites.
What To Look Out For & How To Avoid Getting Sick From Worms And Parasites
Some bass will have parasites on the outside of their bodies. This can sometimes be a sign that there are parasites also living inside the fish.
Flukes can be found both inside and outside the fish, often as yellow grub like creatures around the tail or within the meat.
However, the larvae can also form white cysts, sometimes around the base of the tail but can also be found on the internal organs.
Black spots on the outside of the fish can also be a sign of parasites. While this might sound unappealing, these parasites are generally not harmful to humans when eaten.
Always Cook Your Fish
Cooking can be one of the best ways to kill bacteria and parasites found in fish. While most of the parasites and worms that can be found in bass will generally not harm you, it is still recommended that you clean and cook your fish before you eat it.
Some worms can be found inside the gills or the guts of the fish so it can be a good idea to remove these before you cook it by filleting the bass first.
However, some worms may still be found inside the flesh of the fish but cooking it for at least 15 seconds at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit should kill them.
Video: Fillet A Bass – The Right Way
Killing the worms won’t remove them from the fish, so you may also want to manually remove them with tweezers.
Freeze Your Catch
Some worms and parasites can be killed if you freeze the fish in your freezer for around a week. This is often what is done to preserve fish that is destined to become sushi.
However, even after freezing bass, it’s still recommended that you cook the fish thoroughly before serving it up, as freshwater fish will likely have other bacteria and is generally not recommended to be eaten raw.
Worms and parasites can be found in just about all types of wild fish but for the most part they’re harmless to us. However, cooking your bass can be one of the best ways to kill parasites and bacteria, and to prevent illnesses.
Remember to clean and fillet your bass before you cook it and if you want to add some extra bug-bashing power, store your fillets in the freezer until you’re ready to cook them.
Let us know about your unique worm-busting tips and share this with your buddies to help them out.