Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lennon might be the Walrus...but I am the Lizard!

Every fisherman has a go-to lure in their arsenal that they use more than any other.  Some guys swear by spinner baits, others rely on Slug-o's, and others say crankbaits take care of a days work.  I am no different as I have had a 'go-to' for almost 20 years that has proven time and again to work.  For me, the four inch Zoom mini lizard is a hands down bass slay'n machine that has bagged more fish than I care to count.  Below is a quick over view of how I fish them,  maybe they'll become your new go-to buddy.

This bad boy was caught on a Watermelon Seed colored 4" mini-lizard.
The Zoom Bait Company is based out of Georgia and has been in the fishing business for over thirty years.  I first discovered them with a high school buddy back in the early 90's.  Back then you could only find them in small 'mom and pop' shops.  Now, you'll find Zoom soft plastic lures all over the U.S. from gas stations to large retailers like Bass Pro and Wallmart.  They also make a wide variety of other soft plastic worms and bait fish for fresh and salt water. 

Zoom lizards come in four sizes; 4" mini-lizard, 5" lizard, 6" lizard and the big-boy 8" magnum-lizard.  Although all of their products are good, in my opinion nothing has out-fished the four inch mini-lizard.  Most of their soft plastic baits are made with very durable plastics that prolong the life of the lure.  They are also impregnated with salt which add to the fish attraction.  It can be used in lakes, farm ponds and rivers with deadly results.  It also works with multiple fish species as I've caught large mouth bass, small mouth bass, crappie, panfish and even had a tiger muskie chomp at this thing.  I am no biologist but I do know that lizards typically eat fish eggs so fish have an inherent hatred for all types of lizards.  Its a natural instinct to strike at these guys, even more so during spawning season.  I have seen bass no bigger than the lizard attack these guys with relish and when fish hit these lures they hit them hard. 

I have fished them in numerous configurations from Texas rigs to Carolina rigs but I find having no weight on the lure gives the best results.  This can limit casting distance but with 6lb mono and a standard light action spinning rod and reel combo I seem to do just fine.  I always use off-set hooks so the lizard presentation is streamlined.  You can also tuck the hook point into the back of the lizard to make weedless (see below).
The right way to rig.  My brother swears by the red hook with this color type - makes it look like the lizard is wounded and bleeding.  
Be careful not to place the hook shank too close or too far from the body when rigging.  If so you'll bunch up the lure (see below).  This will adversely affect the swimming action of the lure and make an unnatural presentation which will spook fish.
What you want to avoid.
The colors I use mostly are Junebug, Chartreuse Pepper & Watermelon Seed (see below).  I use Watermelon Seed mostly in the early spring as well as really clear water.  Chartreuse Pepper is used during the summer months or when going deeper in the water column.  Junebug is used on really sunny days when fishing high in the water column.  When you cast them out, I tend to let it sink (count to ten) then retrieve a few feet and stop, give it a few seconds then start your retrieve and stop.  This makes the lure swim a bit and sink, swim and sink.  More often than not the fish strike when the lure is sinking back down in the water column.  

The colors I use most, aka "The Holy Trinity."  From L to R: Junebug, Chartreuse Pepper & Watermelon Seed.  The hooks to the right are the four I use most depending on water/ weed conditions.

Below are some pics from a recent day trip this spring at three different 'honey holes' in Northern VA.  Total I landed about twenty fish in five hours... at least another ten spit the hook out during the fight.  I also used a fish attractant spray to help "sweeten" the bait.  Usually a garlic flavored spray which can be purchased at any sporing goods store will help get picky fish to bite.

Early spring Virginia large mouth bass.
This guy is no bigger than the lure and he hit it HARD.
This guy was the smallest of the day but fought very hard.
Getting bigger!
Nice size black crappie.
Another crappie - I had these guys dead to rights with a Chartreuse Pepper lizard.
An old abandoned VA manor just off one of my local fishing holes.  Its rumored that Howard Hughes bought that place back in the 60's.
Local fishing buddy.  This guy was slamming the fish all day.
Spring time in Virginia.

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