Let those lizards loose in April

There are so many types of soft plastic lures it can be overwhelming trying to decide which is best to use. But April seems to make this decision a lot easier.

I’m calling April the unofficial “month of the lizard.” Maybe it’s because salamanders eat the eggs of spawning bass, and bass in turn eat the salamanders to get them out of their nursery – I can’t say for sure. But I do know there are very few lures that are more versatile and catch more bass at this time of year than a plastic lizard.

The most classic way to use a plastic lizard is Texas rigged on 20-pound line with a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce worm weight.  I use the lighter 1/8-ounce weight in water less than 3 feet deep and move upward in weight if the water is deeper.

A Texas rigged lizard is perfectly matched to fishing around vegetation or shoreline wood, such as bushes that often become flooded and are prime habitat for bass during heavy spring rainfalls this time of year.

And again, bass are in these shallow areas to spawn and seem more than willing to eat a salamander impersonator like a plastic lizard.

The other really popular way to fish with a lizard is on a Carolina rig. In this case, you’re attaching a glass bead and a two-way swivel behind a 1/4- to 3/4-ounce worm weight or egg-shaped sinker. A 12- to 48-inch leader is then tied to the other end of the two-way barrel swivel with a 4/0 hook holding the lizard.

The Carolina Rig is great for dragging around areas where habitat is a little sparser, such as secondary points where bass are stopping on their way to or from really shallow spawning areas. Although I did drag it through fairly thick lily pad stems at the Bassmaster Central Open in March on Ross Barnett and finished in the Top 10.

As far as size and color, keep it simple. I nearly always use an 8-inch lizard, dropping down to a 4- or 6-inch version if the water is exceptionally clear, or the bass seem really finicky. And in my opinion, you only need four colors. For stained to dirty water, I use either junebug or black/blue. And in clear water, I use either watermelon/red fleck or cotton candy.

Bass fishing can get really complicated if you let it, but – thanks to soft plastic lizards – it doesn’t have to be that way in April.