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The 4 Best Tasting Types of Panfish

Panfish are in no short supply when it comes to flavor. Whether your preference is for the various species, you really can’t go wrong. In this article, we’re going to compare the taste of different types of panfish in order to help you decide which is best for you!

The best-tasting panfish is a matter of opinion, but crappie and bluegill tend to be the most popular. Crappie, usually filleted, obtain a bigger size and are well known for the unique slimy texture coating their body. Bluegill are generally much smaller and are gutted and fried whole.

Here is a list of the best-tasting panfish:

1. Bluegill

We’ll start with the humble bluegill; these tasty little fish are well known for their sweet and delicate flavor that pairs well with cajun seasoning and lemon juice.

Novice anglers sometimes overlook bluegill because of their abundance and small size. However, veterans know how amazing these fish are. You can always rely on bluegill even when other fish aren’t biting!

They have an excellent flavor when fried up or steamed. Today most people fillet them, but my father and I still prefer to just cook them up whole. You have to try the tail after it’s been fried in seasoning. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

This video shows exactly how I like to cook them:

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2. Crappie

Next up, we have crappie, often called “spec” (short for speckled perch).

This is my dad’s personal favorite. I fondly remember the hundreds of hours we spent on the water hunting down this delicacy. Since they tend to be easiest to catch on cold days, this made for some pleasurably miserable days. If you are a diehard fisherman, you know exactly what I mean.

Crappie are one of the tastiest fish available. The flesh is uniquely “sweet” flavored, and their taste is very different from other panfish. To get the best dining experience, try them on a crunchy pan-grilled with the natural juices left in them.

This video will show you how to clean and cook ’em the right way.

3. Sunfish

Though sunfish are only rarely caught, they are one of the tastiest (and best) tasting panfish available. Sunfish have a slightly sweet, delicious flavor that is hard to beat. Known for their endurance, these panfish can be caught when other species have already been caught and released. They make excellent table fare.

The best way to cook sunfish is to fillet and pan-fry them breaded with a bit of lemon and seasonings or as fillets. Sunfish are best known for their rich flavor and mouthwatering aroma.

4. Perch

Like other panfish, perch have a slightly sweet flavor and are excellent fried or steamed. You can also prepare them as you would crappie or bluegill if that’s your preference.

When boiled, a perch’s meat is delicate and sweet. The best way, in my humble opinion, is to pan-fry them. That way, you can get that wonderful browned crust on all sides of the fillet for a wonderful treat!

What’s the Cleanest Panfish to Eat?

All panfish are known to be clean fish since they all tend to be free-swimming and do not burrow down into the mud. They like hard bottoms and usually hang out around structure.

Final Bite

The best-tasting panfish is not easy to say because every person has a different opinion. In order to help decide which panfish tastes the best, we recommend that you try more than one type.

Or, ask friends and family what their favorites are and try them out for yourself. Remember, the fun is in catching them. Eating them is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

For more, check out 4 Best Tasting Freshwater Fish (And How To Prepare Them).