With the same passion and intensity that we would like to use towards the little insurance selling lizard on television, bass also strongly dislike lizards. Putting one of these little guys (soft plastic, not live) on the end of your line can be the ticket to fuller livewells.
Lizards during the spawn are deadly. Bass hate these little creatures. It will be executed if a lizard even thinks about getting near a bed. The reason for the violence is pretty simple. Various lizards are well-known bass bed robbers. They will ransack the nest and kill hundreds, possibly thousands, of bass eggs before the guardian even has a chance to react.
Take advantage of this hatred and toss a Texas-rigged lizard past a bed. Slowly drag the bait into the nest and slowly shake your rod tip. The rapid movement will quickly get the attention of the adult fish that is supposed to be guarding the nest.
The most common techniques for fishing plastic lizards are flipping, pitching, and Carolina rigging. Targeting various wood and rock cover are favorites of many anglers. Slowly dragging lizards along humps, ledges, and points is also very productive. The retrieves used for fishing lizards are nearly identical to those used when fishing plastic worms. You can drag, hop, crawl, shake or swim soft plastic lizards. Experiment with the various speeds and retrieves until the bass indicate which one they are keying in on for that particular day or time.
Swimming lizards is a straightforward tactic and, at the same time, widely overlooked. As the name indicates, you are simply swimming the bait back to the boat (or shoreline). Make your cast and allow the bait to sink to the bottom. Once you have done this, begin a slow retrieve. I usually make very slight up and down motions with my rod tip to give a little more variance and added movement to the bait. Bass will eat these little snacks just as they do a scurrying crankbait. Swimming lizards is also a tournament-winning technique when bass are relating to lily pads and other aquatic vegetation.
Another fantastic presentation for using lizards is the drop shot rig. After your drop shot rig is set up, nose-hook the bait. Now you can cast your lure, put it in the strike zone, and leave it there as long as you want. All of this while still achieving a crazy amount of movement. Giving your rod tip quick shakes and slow raises will cause the lizard to do tantalizing underwater dances that bass can't resist. This setup can and will dominate during the spawn and produce nice limits the rest of the fishing season.
Next time you find yourself in need of a huge, tournament-winning limit of bass, reach for a plastic lizard from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Although they do not come bearing gifts of Budweiser like the lizards on television, they can provide just as much excitement. The best part is you will not have a hangover the day after catching loads of bass on plastic lizards.
Until next time, Fish Hard and Fish Often.