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The Incredible Lizard of Oz
By Jeff Buchanan

 

The wizard of Oz was a very generous sole. He gave the lion some courage, the tin man a heart, the scarecrow a brain, and Dorthy a first class back to Kansas. What would he give the struggling bass fisherman that has been beating the banks of Lake Sam Rayburn in February looking for the fish of a lifetime? My guess is that the wizard in all his grand knowledge would grace you with a pack of lizards and some patients. The lizard, a huge part of my arsenal in the springtime never fails to produce and sometimes is the strongest way to catch these springtime bass. There are many ways to fish a lizard and I will talk about a few proven techniques.

Probably the best way to fish a lizard in East Texas in the spring is a Carolina rig. Essentially it is a heavy weight followed by a leader with a weedless rigged lizard hooked on a light wire hook. This technique is called by many as "dragging" which is very appropriate. The Carolina rig is cast out and then brought back to the boat slowly while the heavy weight drags along the bottom over grass, rocks, stumps, or what ever else it happens to go through. This rig can be fished both shallow and deep, but most of the time it will be used to cover water five feet and deeper. On those days when the big blue norther blows in, grab your Carolina rig and cover some water. The line I use is 15-20 pound Trilene, the rod is important and I opt for a Kistler Carolina rig rod, heavy action. This rod, along with heavy line will help you make a long cast along with having the swing to set the hook effectively.

Another way that I like to fish a lizard and is very effective when the lake is flooded is a Texas rig. The Texas rigged lizard is fished with the weight ahead of the hook so that it will make contact with the lizard and stay connected as it falls. Most people will use a 3/16 to a 3/8-ounce bullet weight depending on how deep they are fishing or how thick the cover is. This technique will definitely come into play when the lake floods and you fish in the willows and buck brush. The Texas rigged lizard is probably the best way to get these fish out the thick cover. Again the line and rod are very important for this style of fishing. I will use a Kistler Brush Buster rod spooled with 20-pound line. The rod is perfect for making short casts or underhand pitches, and you need the extra heavy line to get the fish out of the thick cover.

The last way to fish a lizard that I will talk about is to fish it weightless. This rig is simple, just a lizard rigged with a 3/0 hook weed less. This is a great technique when the fish get close to going on bed, or fishing around any shallow cover in the spring less than four feet deep. The weightless lizard is yet another look, but very effective when the fish are in the right mood. I like it best when I am fishing around flooded bushes and hard wood trees in two to four foot of water. Throw this bait around any shallow cover and the bass will respond. For a rod, I use a Kistler Wacky Worm Special rod and 12-15 pound Trilene line for both easy casts and hooking strength.

Now the question of what lizards to throw, colors, sizes, ect. Well, a few years ago I started using the Lake Fork Tackle lizard when it first came on the scene. After lots of time Carolina rigging different lizards, I found that the Lake Fork Tackle five inch lizard is the best I have ever used on a dragging rig. For both the Texas rig and the weightless rig, I use a Lake Fork Tackle lizard in the six inch variety. As far as colors, I keep it basic. In clear water I will throw a watermelon seed or cotton candy. Stained water I will usually choose a lizard in green pumpkin or junebug. So when the going get tough, follow the yellow brick road and grab a pack of lizards. Fish it and be patient. Use these proven techniques this spring and maybe the Wizard will reward you with a fish of a lifetime or a tournament win.

I run a full time guide service on Lake Sam Rayburn and also am the proprietor of the Backlash Lodge. The Backlash is your home away from home on Lake Sam Rayburn. Perfect for the guys, but the women love it too. You can find out more about my services and get a weekly fishing report at my web site www.rayburncountry.com or call me at (936) 824-3161 -Jeff Buchanan-

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