The Japanese make some great lures and finding them in Australia can be a frustrating experience, usually retail shops carry only a small range and only have them once never to be seen again, they also have a tendency to overcharge something chronic. Over the last couple of years Japanese tackle shops have seen this demand and are now catering for international anglers over the Internet. This guide will go into detail and review each of the online tackle stores that I know about judging each one on ease of use, payment methods, delivery times and range of stock. If you have experience with other online tackle stores please let us know in the comments below.
Firstly a word of warning about online purchasing. Online purchasing carries an element of risk as it relies on the honesty of the online retailer and there are alot of scammers out there willing to take your money and run. The old saying that 'If it is too good to be true then it usually is' most definitely applies to purchasing over the internet. That said most online tackle stores are honest and realise that repeat business is the path to success so they will dispatch your order promptly and communicate well. Wherever possible pay by credit card or Paypal as both methods carry buyer protection. Never spend what you can't afford to lose and always when purchasing via a new website make only a small order first to test dispatch times and communication.
Next, Delivery is something you need to take into account when purchasing. Unless you have the patience of a saint, EMS or FEDEX is the only way to go. These 2 options usually cost around US$15 and have a delivery time of 4-7 days. Standard Air Mail can take 2-4 weeks. Beacuse of this delivery charge you are better off buying 4 or more lures at once to offset the cost.
Price, on average you will pay between $20-25 each for lures shipped in from Japan, but this obviously depends on the strength of the Aussie Dollar. Always use a currency converter before you complete checkout to know exactly how much you are spending. XE.com is a good one to use. When paying by Paypal, they always have a exchange rate a couple of cents lower than the standard rate so it will cost you a little bit more.
Now on to the websites...
Samurai Tackle has a good store with a decent range of Vibs, Minnows and Poppers and a good range of quality trebles to choose from, as with many of the others its plastics range is limited though it does score points for having an excellent range of Ecogear Grass Minnows. Quite a few items are out of stock though, and sometimes items are listed that are not in stock. They do let you know when this happens and give you a choice of another or refund. The only payment method accepted is Paypal for international buyers. Dispatch time is very good, usually within 24-48 hours, delivery time by EMS is 5-7 days. Navigation is good with lures divided by type then brand, and brand searchable from the front page. Sale prices are in US Dollars only.
Plat often gets lures that noone else has, for example its the only one that has had the Daiwa Over There Range of sinking pencils. Most lures are not restocked though after they are sold out so you need to subscribe to the newsletter to find out when he gets them in. You can pay by Credit card or Paypal but the methods of doing this are a bit convoluted, he really should simplify it. Dispatch time is good, within 48 hours, delivery time by EMS is 5-7 days. Navigation is difficult with lures sorted by area of use( which is very subjective) then by brand. Sale Prices can be converted to Japanese Yen or US Dollars.
Ebay Tackle Stores
There are plenty of Ebay tackle stores but I'm only going to review the ones I've dealt with. Ebay has a feedback system that allows buyers to rate the seller, this is a powerful tool for a buyer to decide whether or not the seller is worth dealing with. The standard online warnings(see above) still apply though.
Shimreels is located in Vietnam and has an excellent Ebay store with over 8000 items in stock and the only store I have found which stocks a good range of Zipbaits Vib58-13g. Feedback is okay considering the sales he has. Communication is okay, but can take a day or 2 to get back to you. Payment is by Paypal only. Items are Buy It Now only, no auctions. Navigation is good, with categories by type and then brand. Dispatch is within 24-48hrs and delivery time is 4-7 days by FEDEX. Sale prices are in $US only.
Sayaka 603 (Ebay)
Sayaka 603 has a good store with a fantastic range of Megabass lures, which many of the other stores only carry in limited quantities. Feedback is okay considering the amount of sales he has. Paypal is the only accepted payment method. Dispatch time is okay with items posted within 2-4 days from date of purchase. Delivery time by EMS is 5-7 days. Because his range is limited navigation is easy via the brand categories. He auctions lures constantly which enables you to pick up lures very cheap at times, though it requires a bit of patience. Set an amount and only bid in the last 15 seconds of the auction, if the auction goes over your amount, ignore it and move to the next lure you are intereted in. Communication is okay but not great. Sale Prices are in $US only.