Picking effective soft plastic baits can be difficult at times. With all the “latest” and “greatest” claims floating around out there, narrowing down your selection is an overwhelming task. Whether I’m guiding a fishing trip, competing in a tournament or spending a lazy afternoon beating the banks of my favorite farm pond, the Zoom Lizard is one of my most frequently used baits throughout the entire year.
This little dude has accounted for my personal best bass on my home lake, bailed me out of some tough post-spawn tournaments and allowed hundreds of my clients and friends to catch quantities of bass they never imagined possible. Open any compartment of my boat and you’ll see ‘em just about everywhere.
A soft plastic’s durability is a big concern for many bass anglers. Nothing is worse than running out of your most productive bait in the middle of a fishing day, so I make a concerted effort to use the most durable baits I can possible find. The Zoom Lizard fits the bill and never disappoints me.
I love skipping a Texas rigged Lizard underneath docks and overhangs throughout the entire year—there’s something about it that big bass cannot resist. I can flip and pitch docks for hours on-end without the Lizard sliding down on the hook shank. It doesn’t matter if you make a few accidental dive bomb casts either. It stays put and remains perfectly intact, allowing me to take advantage of kicker bites throughout the day.
I’ll be honest—there are few baits out there that will catch more bass throughout the spring months than the Zoom Lizard. In the past month or so, my clients and I have had several 100-plus fish trips using nothing more than a Lizard, a 3/0 EWG hook and a 1/4-ounce bullet weight. I witnessed one client catch over eight bass on a single bait. The head holds up well and the belly-section of the Lizard is very resilient and keeps the hook point protected, resulting in very few hang-ups even with beginner anglers.
It’s most common to Texas rig the Zoom Lizard, but the possibilities are endless. A lot of folks consider it a major springtime weapon but I catch big bass on it throughout the entire year. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it.
- Texas rig—Again, everybody does it but it’s for good reason—it flat-out catches ‘em. Cast it to bedding areas throughout the spring, flip it under deep docks in the winter when the bass are lethargic, cast it on stump-covered points or slowly drag it across vast spawning flats and small drains. It doesn’t take much practice to get good at it, either. Just lift your rod tip slowly, reel down your slack and repeat. Bites aren’t difficult to detect because they usually try to rip the rod out of your hands.
- Weightless—If you’re dealing with ultra-finicky spawning bass, casting a weightless Lizard into their beds is an outstanding way to trick them into biting—just let it fall slowly on 8-pound fluorocarbon and barely shake your rod tip. This is also a great presentation for fishing muck-filled ponds with a bunch of nasty vegetation. I’ll cast it on top of the crud and allow it to fall slowly through the holes. As it falls, the legs and tail kick wildly and entice some great strikes.
- Carolina rig—Don’t mistake the Zoom Lizard for a shallow water-only bait. Believe it or not, it’s responsible for some of the biggest weights caught in offshore tournaments. It sinks very slowly, so when you rig it on a long monofilament leader, it stays above submerged vegetation which gives big bass a great look at it. It’s also outstanding around shell beds and offshore humps.
- Shaky head—If the fish aren’t cooperating, a shaky head is a great way to get some extra bites when it matters. If you’re catching a bunch of small fish with a tiny finesse worm, don’t be afraid to replace it with a Lizard. It has a slightly larger profile and can be ridiculously effective when targeting deep brush piles.
Every time you grab a Zoom Lizard from the package, it’s going to be “right”—it won’t have a crimped tail or bent legs. So there’s no need to constantly inspect them before rigging them. Just grab one, thread it on and get back to fishing.
I’m also impressed by the color consistency of the Zoom Lizards. I don’t get too bent out of shape about soft plastic colors—I keep it surprisingly simple. But ultra-clear water is an exception. When bass have a great look at your bait in clear water, the smallest unnatural characteristic can discourage them from biting. Each Lizard in a package looks identical to the others, so I never worry about trying to find one that looks “just right”. It’s a big confidence booster for me.
Tackle Warehouse has 29 colors of Zoom Lizards from which to choose. Regardless of your geographic location or the preferences of your local bass, you’ll be able to find a color that works excellently. My favorites, however, are pretty straight-forward.
- Bedding bass—White, White Pearl and Pumpkin Chartreuse (to emulate bluegill coloring).
- Clear water—Watermelon Red, Green Pumpkin Purple and Green Pumpkin.
- Dirty water—June Bug, Red Bug, Black Red Flake and Black Emerald.
If you’re looking for an affordable bass fishing soft plastic that simply catches fish, try out some Zoom Lizards. They have a spot reserved shoved under my boat’s windshield—which means they get used a bunch!