5 Worst Tasting Fish According to Anglers

I’ve eaten my fair share of fish, and for the most part, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. 

However, on some occasions, the surprise wasn’t so pleasant. In my opinion, the worst-tasting fish is tench.

My opinion is just one, so I got to asking around and came up with this list of worst-tasting fish.

5 Worst Tasting fish

Let’s preface this by saying that any fish can be the worst tasting if not properly prepared.

You could have one of the best-tasting trout, but if you don’t clean it and prepare it properly, you would probably add it to this list.

This list is sourced from numerous anglers that know how to properly handle a fish. 


5 Worst Tasting Fish According to Anglers

Tench is not a fish that you would frequently find on a plate in North America. However, if you find yourself in Eastern Europe, you will see that tench is only second to carp.

I’m not opposed to trying new foods and will readily try any fish or game. 

However, I was skeptical about trying tench. I grew up catching tench every summer and always knew it to be a trash fish or one that you always put back.

Still, I didn’t balk at the opportunity. Tench isn’t so bad that you want to spit it out. But it tastes exactly as you would imagine. 

Stale water, mud, and a squishy texture describe the taste of a tench perfectly. No amount of seasoning could hide the taste of that fish.

The texture was also impossible to avoid. I like flakey fish. Tench was closer to mashed potato texture. Ok, I may be exaggerating, but still, it left a lot to be desired.


5 Worst Tasting Fish According to Anglers

You may not have heard of the term ladyfish, but you may have heard of the name skipjack.

Regardless of what it is called, most people will have the same reaction to this fish-Can you eat that?

Now plenty of people tried this fish, it is edible, but most people prefer not to eat it.

If for whatever reason, you are out fishing for ladyfish and you feel like eating one, this is about the best recipe I could come up with.

However, let me save you the time and tell you that it’s not the best eating fish. It is, however, one of the worst tasting fish I’ve tried, hence why it made it on this list.

Ladyfish is a very strong-flavored fish. The potent flavor comes from the extreme oiliness of this fish.

Also, I mentioned earlier that I like fish with a flakey texture, like most people, well, ladyfish is the very opposite of flakey.

Ladyfish has a mushy texture with a huge amount of bones.

You can see how this fish may be one of the worst-tasting fish you can find.


5 Worst Tasting Fish According to Anglers

Most people wouldn’t even think of eating bowfin, yet there are a few brave souls out there that are willing to try one.

Let me save you the time; it’s not worth it.

This ugly, slimy fish has a reputation for being a poor quality fish to eat.

If the looks and sliminess of this fish aren’t enough to deter you from eating it, you are braver than most.

You will start to see a trend appearing; most people, myself included, prefer a meaty flakey juicy fish; bowfin just isn’t that.

Most of the fish on this list, including bowfin, will have a soft mushy texture.

In fact, bowfin is so mushy it garnered the name cottonfish.

As if the texture and appearance of this fish aren’t bad enough, there is also the taste to contend with.

The taste of bowfin varies depending on what water conditions it’s caught in. 

If the water is heavily muddied, then you are likely going to be eating mud-flavored bowfin.

However, not all bowfin have a mud taste; some have no taste.

False Albacore

5 Worst Tasting Fish According to Anglers

I guess this one will come as no surprise to most people. I’m sure there will be a few people who will probably disagree with some of the other fish on this list.

However, I’m also sure that nearly everyone that has tried false albacore will also agree that they are certainly one of the worst fish they have eaten.

Most anglers will tell you how terrific false albacores are to catch, a thrilling fight indeed. But likewise, most will tell you they wouldn’t dare eat one again.

If you do try to cook one, you will probably stop halfway into it due to the overwhelming smell.

Bigmouth Buffalo

5 Worst Tasting Fish According to Anglers

Bigmouth buffalo is similar in taste and texture to the tench. They both travel in the same type of water and feed on the same foods.

Many people mistake the bigmouth buffalo for carp, which I would put a couple of places ahead of the tench on this list, enough places that it didn’t make this list.

Unfortunately for the bigmouth buffalo, he is not as good as carp, so it did make this list.

Final Thoughts

This list is a mix of my own personal opinion, and that of many questioned experienced anglers.

All of these anglers know how to properly handle and prepare a fish. Some of these fish could pass as edible, and some of them I would rather not try again.

Out of all these fish, I would say the false albacore is the worst tasting fish due to the potent smell, extreme oily texture, and even the potent taste of the fish meat.

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