The transition from winter to spring means many things for bass fishing. For starters, it’s accompanied by the fishing season. It’s also the time of year when many retailers hold their seasonal fishing sales events, where anglers can stock up for trips to the lake. Yes, during the spring, a young angler’s fancies turn to the sport they love. However, any good bass angler’s spring fancies also turn to a specific, effective lure: the lizard.

There are some readers who might be wondering to themselves, “Why lizards?” Well, salamanders, newts, anoles, and other scurrying reptiles are prevalent in many parts of the country and when they make their way towards the water, bass waste no time making them a meal. This is because spring means spawning, and spawning means eggs. To salamanders, this means food. Bass are diligent protectors of their beds and will swallow up any predator that intrudes, especially lizards. Another reason bass love lizards is because, unlike worms, they’re rich with protein and move slowly in the water, which makes them easy targets.

Lizards can be rigged and worked in a number of ways, which gives anglers a variety of options from which to choose when using the bait. The Carolina rig is the popular choice when using lizards, due to its ability to be worked slowly and precisely through the water. The sinker will kick up some dust and make noise when it impacts a rocky bottom, which will draw fish near and entice them to investigate.

When cover is thick, it’s time to switch to a Texas rig. This tactic will punch the lizard through the thickest cover and get it right down to the bottom where lizards roam. Along those same lines, a lizard rigged on a jighead, like a football head, is deadly. Add to this setup any number of add-ons—rattles, skirts, etc—and you’ll have a bass assassin in your hands, with which you can pick apart a bed like a Thanksgiving turkey.

There are a number of companies that offer lizard baits, and any brand that makes plastics will have a lizard style in its lineup. I suggest starting with your desired brand or scent, if you have one. If you’ve never used a lizard before, start out with natural color patterns, such as black, green pumpkin, or watermelon seed. These colors offer the most natural colors and can be used in any region with good results.

Lizards have long been a staple of bass diets and angler tackle boxes alike, and any bass fishermen can tell you why. The key to catching bass is to appeal to their biological instincts and nothing says “attack me” more than a lure designed to imitate a natural predator of fish eggs. If you’ve never used them before, do yourself a favor this spring and capitalize on the instincts of bass during spawn season by picking up some lizard baits. Once you flip one and drag it across a bed, enticing that vicious strike, you’ll be glad you did.