Before you go throwing me into the loony bin, let me explain. I am of the belief that becoming familiar with the feel of how a fish bites a certain offering is great preparation no matter where you plan on fishing. With this in mind, I decided to fish the same worms and style on the Delta that I was planning to fish in my upcoming tourney.
It wasn't long before my partner and I were catching fish with great frequency using the Drop Shot technique. Although not all our fish were large, we compared notes on how the bite felt.
"All I am feeling" he said, "is a little weight at which point I lift my rod tip and reel to set the hook."
"Mine feels the same way: just a heaviness and slight line movement," was my reply.
A couple more fish and it was time to try another tactic. This time, I chose a split shot and he used a Carolina rig. Both tactics are drag-along-the-bottom techniques. The only discernible difference is the weight size, and with Carolina you use a sliding sinker. We were set to drag the bottom and see what would come up.
The fishing wasn't as good using these techniques on this day; however, we both caught a dozen fish or so. They just lacked size. We did learn a great deal about the bite, and this was our goal in the first place. We learned that once again, with only one exception, the feeling was one of heaviness. No thunk, tick, or assault in any form. The fish were simply sucking in the bait as it bounced by, and holding on. A good sweep hook-set and the game began.
The next weekend I traveled to Oroville and enjoyed a memorable tournament. After two days of non-stop fishing it was apparent that bass - no matter where they reside - take baits in similar fashion. The drop shot and split shot fish I caught both days bit exactly as the Delta bass did, and it became clear that being in touch with the "feel" of how they bite was as important as fishing the lake itself.