Usually I cast into the "pockets" and let my bug sit there as long as possible then give it a little "jiggle" or two. Then I'll tighten up as much as possible on the slack, lift the rod tip up high, and try to skip my bug across the tops of lily pads.
If you're going to retrieve right through the pads it's important to keep the nose up and the slack out and that's done by keeping the rod tip high. It takes some practice.
I fish out of a canoe most of the time and it's really important that your "boat" is stationary. If the breeze moves you just a bit your line will wind around a lily stem and that's the end of your presentation.
You can't do this kind of fishing without weed guards, and I use 2
Bass bugs are light weight. A lot lighter than the hardware that you're used to and a big bass bustin' on a bass bug is likely to push it away especially if it has a stout weed guard that it has to bite through. So I use 2 light weed guards rather than one stout one.
Besides, weed guards get bent out of shape after you've gotten stuck in the lily pads too many times and when one gets ruined, you can cut it off and still be good to go with the second.
Popper with 2 weed guards