I just left Randy Howell's boat, and it was an exciting morning. He moved away from his primary area when he saw birds working. They were pretty scattered at first, but on about his fourth stop, we started noticing bass chasing shad. He quickly caught his first keeper, a smallmouth about 2 pounds.
The toughest thing about that kind of fishing is that the bass are always just out of reach. If birds start working 100 yards away, you have to move quickly to capitalize.
Howell calls it the "5-Second Rule," meaning you have five seconds after you see the fish swirl to get a bait in there. A high-speed reel is a must for the times your line is already out and a fish busts. Here on Oneida, Howell also had to deal with grass fouling nearly every cast.
Howell was jacked up on adrenaline almost immediately, which probably explains why he missed his next two fish. One he set on too soon and the other jumped high and spit the hook next to the boat. The problem with getting excited is that setting the hook too soon becomes more common. According to Howell, the bass will hit a bait multiple times, pecking at the tail or whatever, until they commit. You need to wait until they load up before setting the hook.