Feeling the lead down in my opinion is vital, especially on those waters where there is any degree of weed and bottom debris. The majority of clear lakes will most likely have a degree of weed growth throughout the year, which, if not taken into consideration when casting can render rigs completely useless.
Feeling the lead down onto the lakebed does take a bit of practice, but when the technique is achieved, it will simply transform your fishing for the better; allowing optimum presentation and as a result, more fish on the bank. Being able to control the cast is critical; a controlled cast will mean that each stage of feeling the lead down will be achievable.
Having cast out, the key is to stop the lead just before it hits the water, not only will this make feeling the lead down on a tight line easier, the rig will be kicked out straight and upon impact will be in the correct position to fall neatly through the water layers with the lead, eliminating tangles. Once the lead has been stopped, the lead will fall through the water, the whole time you must keep the tension in the line and watch the rod tip.
When the lead hits the lakebed, a signal will be transmitted up the line and register at the tip. If the lakebed is firm, it will create a thud at the tip, but if you have landed in weed or soft debris, it will be a slow cushion on the tip. If you simply cast out without feeling the lead down, it could be a complete lottery as to what the lead and rig may have landed on, which in some cases could make that rig completely useless.
While you might think you have caught in the past without actually feeling the lead down, learning and applying this technique into your angling will no doubt increase your success rate.