I love the fact that, just reading about a product or technique will spark an idea for an article sometimes. Recently, I was reading about Lake Fork’s lizard bait, and suddenly I realized I haven’t broken down the anatomy of lizard plastic baits yet. This was not okay. Lizards are such a popular bait for bass, and with good reason. They can be rigged a number of ways and are deadly when bass are on their beds. Every bass angler should have a good collection of lizards at their disposal, and today we’ll break down what makes them so great!
I remember being a small child and visiting the Bass Pro Shops flagship store in Missouri once. I remember this vividly because I remember thinking the lizard baits were toys because they looked so real. This is part of what makes them so great. The overall design of lizard baits mimics salamanders perfectly, which will feed on fish eggs during spawn season. This causes lizards to be a hated enemy of bass, and they will strike ferociously.
The vast majority of plastic lizards on the market consist of one basic design. They have a head, a body, legs, and a tail—all of which create a realistic appearance and action in the water that fish can’t stand. The head tends to have more density, which serves as an anchor point when fished along the bottom, but also creates an undulating action along the body when fished higher up in the water column. The legs create a bit of water displacement and action along various points on the body, and—much like a plastic worm—the tail of a lizard wafts and creates flare that drives bass crazy.
The tail, though, is where the differences between different manufacturers start to pop up, though. While most lizards have a flat, ribbon-like tail, some differ greatly. Lake Fork’s lizard, for example, possesses a vertically-oriented tail that has divisions and ends in a dolphin-like flattened tip. YUM makes a salamander bait that has a tail much like a swimbait, so it moves side to side.
Aside from overall body design, lizards tend to be available more in natural color patterns, such as watermelon seed, green pumpkin, or black. Fish are smarter than some might believe, and they’ll be a little less apt to strike a bright pink lizard when the natural lizards in their waters are black or brown.
Where lizards become even more effective is in their sheer versatility in terms of the ways they can be rigged and fished. You can use a Texas rig, Carolina rig, weedless rig, and even work them on the surface without a weight, each with effectiveness.
During spawn season, salamanders and other lizard species will prowl beds in search of eggs, and bass will strike without hesitation. Take advantage of this behavior by utilizing the great design of lizards when the spawn hits this year and you’ll be in good shape.