I have to give Brian credit for digging up these cool links to Japanese lure websites. Not endorsements by any means, but a chance to check out some very cool looking baits, even if you can't read the text.
Unsure of Name - but cool!
Jackall Bro's - Lake Police
Misc Links to Japanese Manufacturers
I'm working on a list of where to buy the big plugs and swimbaits. If you can contribute, please put a post in reply to this thread. I'm going to make this a permanent part of the Big Plugs and Swimbaits article once I can gather more information.
There certainly is good fishing to be had, but as usual it's a matter of time on the water and especially of timing this time of year. All species of fish, in freshwater and in salt, respond to weather fronts in similar ways. Their instincts tell them to feed heavily before a major storm hits, because the just don't know if food is going to be available if the water gets muddies up or the ocean gets rough and blown out. It's not always possible, but boy if you have the flexibility, watch the fronts as they move in and try to be on the water as things are clouding up before the storm.
Thought I would share some of my favorite weather links that I'm looking at before any trip. I tend to look a lot more at the big picture rather than the 10 day forecast telling me that it's going to be showers tomorrow and light rain the next day... So here's my big picture links
Western Weather Fronts
Jet Stream Forecast
Overlay these two and you get a good feel of where the fronts are and where the jetstream might be taking them.
I had a chance last weekend to fish with Larry Heron on the Calico Hunter II and Larry pointed out some interesting things to me about winter time saltwater bass fishing. If you read the sport boat counts you can easily be led to believe that fishing for calico and sandbass is pretty tough in the winter time. If you read Larry's fish count you realize that he is out there kicking butt all winter long. I think what might be happening here is that the way the bass live in the winter time is not very condusive to catching them on the anchor. I think that the fish scatter and spread out over hard bottom areas where they feed more on reef forage and random bait than on schools of sardines or anchovies like in the spring/summer. You can't really chum them up because they aren't that active, but boy, as Larry demonstrated, if you drift over the reefs dragging a 4 or 5" Big Hammer swimbait along, they definitely are there. Something to consider if you're out on a private boat and want to get into some winter time action.
Boy not a whole lot going on. Fongster has been reporting in on the saltwater board with some successful tubing trips down off Laguna Beach, but the inshore stuff around Santa Barbara is pretty much done for the year I think. The harbor might still kick out some fish, but once we get a couple big swells and some cold water, stuff like Goleta tends to really shut down. One thing that can be worth a road trip though from what I understand is the bite inside the big bays down south, especially San Diego. So if you need your saltwater fix, that could be the place to go in the coming months.