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Spring Lizard Tips

By Russ Bassdozer

We've rolled through the winter holidays, Halloween, getting stuffed on Thanksgiving, red noses of Christmas, cheers on New Years. We've done the obligatory Valentine's Day chocolate and roses thing.

Now it's Spring! The time a young man's fancy turns to...lizards!

Lizards are synonymous with spring. Fake ones work even where bass never encounter live lizards or salamanders. One reason may be lizard baits simply resemble something packed full of protein and easy to catch! Another reason may be that lizard baits fit the instinctive profile of low-down, bottom-scrounging varmints that bass kill whenever they intrude on bass spawning grounds. But, the only reason that truly matters to us is that bass hammer lizards hard in spring! No wonder anglers like to fling spring lizards!


A few years ago when Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits introduced two new models of lizards (7" and 4" inches), sales were slow to take off even though field research showed the lizards to be great fish-catchers. Nevertheless, our lizards went through critical bouts of re-engineering, improving the body, belly, legs and tails on each design iteration. Nowadays, we are glad we went that "extra mile" to ensure our fish-catching lizards rank among the very best lizards anywhere!


Traditionally, lizards go on Carolina rigs. Just make a leader with a hook on one end and a swivel on the other. Then string a sliding sinker and bead on the line above the swivel. This lets you slither lizards all around fairly open water from shallow to deep.

YOU FISH THE SINKER (not the bait) with a Carolina rig. The sinker controls everything. The lizard just hangs around and does nothing except follow the sinker. The weight of the sinker controls the fall speed, the crawling or swimming action, and the bottom-bouncing attraction. The sinker makes noise on hard bottoms, and puffs up clouds of silt on soft bottoms.


I'm telling you, never dropshot the BIG 7" lizard on heavy gear so it plays a deadly game of peek-a-boo with bass in the tops of new vegetation in spring. Dropshotting lizards just won't work. And if you do get it to work, never tell anybody. They won't believe you.

Never ever dropshot the BABY 4" lizard in rock or gravel beds for smallmouth. After all, lizards are for largemouth, not smallmouth. Right? Don't let the dropshot weight rap against hard bottom, don't mend slack line so the lizard glides and darts down to bottom, never pull it back up slowly so the line barely tightens up - and wait for a bite. You just won't get one.


Any place the cover gets too thick to pull Carolina rigs or dropshots, you are better off to Texas rig a lizard. In heavy weed, brush, or wood cover, use a screw-in Florida Rig (or a toothpick-pegged bullet weight) that is heavy enough so the lizard will penetrate and drop straight through thick cover - and hold on!

In medium to light cover, fashion an unpegged Texas rig same as you would make a Carolina Rig except put the weight and bead on the leader BETWEEN the swivel and hook.


Lizards go great on jig heads. I like to adorn them with little lizard superhero capes made from worn-out tube baits. Got any torn and tattered old tube baits? Just cut the skirted tails off. Pull them down over the lizard's neck. Then slip the caped crusader onto a jig head. And no, our lizards do not have a big "S" emblazoned on their chests.

Fling lizards this spring. Big bass will thank you for your cooperation.

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