While I was practising I spotted a lot of bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, cruising around in singles and doubles which made nice targets for practising quick shots and direction changes. One thing that was interesting to see was how the bass reacted to the big hookless popper splatting down. None of them had a go at it, but that was hardly surprising 7 inches of NYAP looking thing on straight 60lb is probably not quite subtle enough to fool them. They did however, invariably come and give it a good inspection - sometimes even fish I hadn't spotted were coming from quite some distance away, certainly further than I would have expected - there were some that spent a solid 30 seconds with their nose almost touching the popper, before gliding away. It seems they've already had a few bigger insects falling on the water that's habituated them to the splat.
I'm used to fishing dries for river smallmouth, and have seen similar behaviour, but obviously with the drift there's not so much time to watch the fish as in a stillwater. I never fish poppers in the rivers here, there's just too much pressure and the fish are too skittish. When I do fish poppers or sliders it's usually for lagermouth from the float tube in shallow, dirtier water where you can't really watch what the fish are doing. Seeing them like that has given me something to think about and If the weather forecast holds up I'll get down on Friday for a casting session with the 12 wt before work, I'll take a 6wt with me and some big terrestrial dries. I'm almost more interested in watching the fish than actually catching, because it'll give me something to work on when I'm out on the tube.
I doubt I'll be able to put any of it to a serious test till after my trip to Okinawa though. Hopefully next week I'll be writing about a successful first afternoon on the flats.