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Aaron Shirley

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About Aaron Shirley

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    Any Lake, River or Stream :)
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    Fishing of course!!!

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  1. A few weeks ago, I joined my friend Glen with his buddy Alan for browns on the shorelines of Lake Ontario. It was a great day out, as we caught a bunch of feisty browns in shallow water. Storm Thundersticks were the hot ticket trolled at 1.8mph. A great way to kick off the open water season! Glen and I fished with Tony on the north shore of Lake Ontario this past Sunday after Glen and Tony fished for lake trout on Saturday. It was an absolutely beautiful weekend to be out, and the fishing was fantastic! Glen and Tony did well catching lakers on Saturday, and managed to boat a behemoth over 25 pounds to currently lead the SCGF spring derby in the lake trout division. The guys asked if I wanted to join them on Saturday as well, but I declined as I didn’t have a derby ticket. I had a feeling! I bought my ticket on Saturday, and headed out with them on Sunday morning. Glen with his derby leading laker We got out Sunday bright and early, started setting lines and it didn’t take long to find the kings. Riggers and Mag Dipsys were the ticket. We didn’t get a bite off a standard Dipsy or planer boards. All the action came at 2.3mph at the ball on custom Big Erns done by Mike Blake. Mike does the nicest custom colours I have ever seen, and it regularly pays off for us. I also love the Shoehorn spoons, as they also have great colours and run well at slower speeds in the spring. As a bonus, the Shoehorn spoons are compatible with Big Erns. My favourite set up is a mix of Big Erns and Shoehorn spoons early in the season. The water temp was 38F to 39F from top to bottom most areas we fished. We all had a blast hooking up with almost 30 fish mostly kings. We even had a couple double headers, but it was a steady pick for the most part. At one point, it was hard to keep the hottest Big Ern down in green/silver with black dots. Some kings didn’t even wait for it to be let fully out before nailing it! The three hottest spoons. I get the feeling this will be a great year on Lake Awesome! It was great times with great friends. It doesn’t get any better than that. We are all thinking about making the next trip out again! Good fishing! Aaron
  2. If you have any interest in Lake Ontario at all and would like to help with the stocking plan, please visit the OMNRF website and submit a comment. This stocking plan affects anyone who fishes Lake Ontario, the tribs that flow into Lake Ontario, its harbours and connected waters etc. Submit your comment online or to the contact on the right of the page before it is too late! This is a must for anyone that has an interest in Lake Ontario and its connecting watersheds. Don't let this opportunity slip away from you, then complain later. This is the time to have your say and help shape the next stocking plan! Lake Ontario Stocking Plan - EBR 012-3046 Additionally, there will be public information sessions for Lake Ontario where you can have any questions or concerns answered. I plan to be at the Port Credit event. Hope to see some of you there. Whitby - Tuesday March 17 - 6:30 – 10:00 pm Centennial Building Theater, 416 Centre St. South, Whitby Port Credit - Saturday March 21 - 1:00pm – 5:00 pm Clarke Memorial Hall, 161 Lakeshore Road West, Mississauga (Port Credit) Grimsby - Thursday March 26 - 6:30 – 10:00 pm Town Hall (Council chambers), 160 Livingston Ave., Grimsby Belleville - Tuesday April 21 - 6:30 – 10:00 pm Fairfield Inn (Churchill room), 407 North Front St., Belleville Cornwall - Wednesday April 22 - 6:30 – 10:00 pm Best Western (Cabaret Ballroom), 1515 Vincent Massey Dr., Cornwall We have many items of interest to both lake, shore and tributary anglers: • We will be presenting a stock status for Chinook Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, and prey fish (Alewife). • We will be providing some information on the recent Rainbow Trout mortality in the Salmon River NY. • We have results of the angler diaries and a general update on the Lake Ontario tributary angler creel which is ongoing until May 31, 2015. • We will be proposing a Catch and Release season for Atlantic Salmon in the Lake Ontario tributaries for FMZ16 and 17. • And lastly – we will present the Proposed Lake Ontario Stocking Plan which is designed to improve lake, stream and shore fisheries. Hope to see you there.
  3. I had a chance to take out a couple of friends Tony and Glen to Lake Erie for walleye recently. We hadn’t fished Lake Erie for walleye in years, so some preparations were in order. Tony headed over to my place one evening for a beer and to help rig our gear. It helped a lot, thanks Tony! After tying up 14 worm harnesses, spooling 30lb Sufix braid on 4 walleye sized Hydros and RSCII reels, making leaders and getting the dusty walleye gear out, we were all set. I ended up making up some custom Colorado blades painted and taped up, and my son helped me tie up another 6 worm harnesses the following day. We enjoy our time together doing ‘arts and crafts’ LOL. We left early so that we could get out for first light and shake off the walleye rust with our set-up. We also had a major storm a couple days earlier and a cold front. We got set up with 4 small sized 000 Dipsy Divers on a 0 setting and worm harnesses, and ran them from 90- to 220 back and clipped on in-line planer boards. It’s a good thing the walleye line counter reels hold over 1000-feet of 30lb braid, as we had almost 500-feet out after the in-line boards were deployed. We rounded out our set-up with two large sized 001 Dipsy Divers right off the boat on a 2.5 to 3 setting with worm harnesses. We started in 65-feet of water with some tips from a couple friends I spoke with and headed deeper. We didn’t get into much and had to go into search mode. We started switching up colours and trying spoons and stick baits as well, even though the eastern basin of Lake Erie is predominantly a worm harness bite. After a while we got into a few walleye and marked some waypoints. We found a good group of walleye schooled up in one tight area, and ended up working the 4 waypoints hard by late morning. The weather was great, the waves were perfect and we were catching walleye and having a great time. We had to watch the rod tips carefully, as the white bass were hitting and tougher to tell a fish was on the line. The deeper Dipsys off the in-line boards did well 225- to 250-feet back, and the big size 001 Dipsys off the boat did well 140- to 170-feet back on a 2.5 and 3 setting. It was a good thing I spent more time tying up more custom harnesses with my son, as the white/yellow/green black dot harnesses were working well. We did get some on watermelon and blue and white as well as a few others. Stick baits took a couple bites, but harnesses were best. We tied up the worm harnesses with 30lb fluorocarbon approximately 24” in length. The reason I prefer 30lb fluorocarbon is that the clevises turn on the fluorocarbon causing a weak point over time, and 30lb Sufix is a perfect solution to help prevent break-offs over lighter line. We also ran a 7-foot fluorocarbon leader in 15lb test from the Dipsy Divers to the worm harness or stick bait and spoon on all Dipsys. We found the walleye suspended in the water column from 35- to 65-feet down over 65- to 75 feet of water. Our speed seemed best at roughly 2.6mph. We got into a bunch of walleye, white bass and even a steelhead. We all got to take home some fresh walleye and had a blast out fishing! Good fishing! Aaron
  4. I wasn’t able to get out much during the GOSD derby this year, and when I did, it was typically only for a few hours at a time. I had some good days out and some poor days, and I even got skunked twice. I can’t remember the last time I got skunked on Lake Ontario. I heard similar stories from many guys this year. It has been hit and miss this season, and when it was good, I wasn’t able to get out or fished the wrong area a few times. I was able to hit it right at times as well and did well. It was a challenging year to keep on fish, and I don’t think I missed too much this season not getting out much. The success I had was on a mix of flashers and flies and meat. I put out some metal and plugs with limited results. The fish seemed like they were out east again most of the season with the west end picking up late again. I didn’t fish Port Hope this year like usual, but I did manage to fish the south shore once. Mostly, I just fished locally around Bronte with my limited time. I got into rainbows and lakers with lots of small kings and shakers in between mature kings biting. I did well with Jensen Twinkie rigs and TriggerX cut bait heads. Coyote flashers did well, as did SD’s etc. There didn’t seem to be a real good pattern that stayed except for the Jensen Twinkie rigs. They worked well all season. I am always sad to see the kings turn dark when they stage, as it means it will all be over soon until next spring. I am ready to start fishing for other things now. I hope to get out my family for one last salmon troll if I can, but other than that, I am looking forward to catching some bass, walleye, muskies etc. Here are a few photos to end my 2014 salmon season. Good fishing! Aaron
  5. Thanks everyone, it was truely a spectacular trip, and one I really looked forward to! Old Iron maker, the show will air on Sportsnet next year. MSP the Rapala rain suit is terrific. It is truely waterproof, breathable, wind proof, lightweight and comfortable. I have older Lund suits that are pretty good but they are too heavy for summer. The Rapala rain suits are perfect. I'd rather put on a hoodie underneath on cooler spring or fall days and have the option to wear it in the summer. I like the weatherproof zippers and hand warmer pockets as well.
  6. I recently met with Italo, Barb and the Canadian Sportfishing film crew to embark on a journey to Sund’s Lodge on Malcolm Island along the Pacific Coast of Canada. Although it would be a short trip, I was super excited, as this was my first time traveling to British Columbia and fishing the Pacific Ocean. Malcolm Island is located in the Queen Charlotte Straight, between North East Vancouver Island and the mainland. Malcolm Island has a rich history with the Namgis First Nations, and the ocean surrounding the area is abundant with marine life. We were fortunate enough over our 3 day trip to see Orca Whales, Hump Back Whales, Sea Lions, countless birds, star fish, crabs and fish. The fishing is unique on the Pacific Ocean in the respect that it offers a unique blend with salmon trolling, and deep water fishing for halibut, snapper and ling cod to name a few. Fishing shoreline, kelp beds and shallow rocky areas with lighter gear can offer another element to enjoy for smaller fish like sea bass, kelp greenling and rock cod. The main baitfish is needlefish, herring and anchovies. We traveled to Vancouver from Toronto, and then took a smaller flight to Port Hardy on Northern Vancouver Island. At the Pacific Coastal Airline area, there sits a very impressive set of mounted fish; a 53lb Chinook salmon and a nice coho salmon. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, nothing will! From Port Hardy, we took a taxi to Port McNeil where the Sund’s Lodge guides picked us up in their boats. It was a short boat ride to get to the lodge, and the amazing staff greeted us with drinks and a warm welcome upon arrival. I was like a kid in a candy store as I glanced into the water around the dock. I instantly saw schools of needlefish and a small salmon swim by around kelp. Now I was more excited than ever. I couldn’t wait to hit the water. After brief introductions, we settled into our luxurious log cabins. I was happy to get to stay at the Tyee cabin. Our guide Jim took us out for an afternoon bite trolling for salmon after we were settled in. We began trolling with a simple set-up consisting of two mooching outfits with downriggers. Jim also put out a third stacker line off one rigger a bit higher for coho and pink salmon. The guides have the option to troll at the back of the boat with a second steering wheel. I can see this becoming very handy with guests that do not fish often, as the guide can quickly get on a rod and hand it to a guest that may not be paying close attention. The kings eluded us that afternoon as it did most boats, but we got into some nice coho and pink salmon. The beauty of the Pacific Coast is difficult to describe to those that haven’t been. The air is fresh and crisp. The countless majestic mountains, islands and cliffs in conjunction with whales breaching the surface around the abundant marine life was surreal for me. I had dreamt of fishing this area for many years, and I finally had the chance to do it. While fishing, I often caught myself just gazing into the British Columbia backdrop with the layered depths of mountains that seemed to have their very own clouds and ecosystem. On our first full day, we began trolling for salmon first thing in the morning, and the coho and pink salmon hit aggressively. The Chinook salmon eluded us again, as it was slow fishing all around for kings, but the coho and pink salmon kept us busy. The Sund’s Lodge ‘Burger Boat’ met us out on the water with fresh hamburgers and hot dogs right off the BBQ with sides. This was a really nice treat while out on the water fishing. They didn’t even pull out rods; they kept trolling while the burger boat tied up to the side of our boat. That was a very unique and interesting thing to witness. The staff pulled it off perfectly, and we ate a hot meal without having to stop fishing. As most good guides would, Jim recognized the slow Chinook fishing, and offered to take us bottom fishing for the afternoon. I had not done anything like this before, and I was stoked. We had beefy rods with Benthos two-speed reels spooled up with 80lb braided line. On the business end, Jim had on heavy duty spreaders with clips and heavy monofilament dropper lines. One dropper line had a one to two-pound weight, and the other dropper line had a big set of hooks and a piece of octopus or whole herring. We fished depths ranging from 100-feet to 500-feet deep on the bottom during slow tidal currents. The two-pound weight was used for 300 plus feet of water, and the one-pound weight was used for depths up to 200-feet. As we drifted into 450-feet of water I got a big hit that didn’t budge. My rod was buckled right over with a firm drag and a heavy fish that pulled drag. The fight was exhausting and my arms cramped up several times during a tug of war battle. I was persistent and reeled in the big fish from the depths. I wondered what the heck I had just caught when the tank of a fish was gaffed and brought into the boat. I had never seen a fish like it, and it turned out to be a big ling cod. Apparently ling cod is one of the best eating fish on the Pacific Coast. It was put into the box to be taken home after a few photos with an ecstatic angler. We bottom fished the rest of the day and caught snapper, rockfish, a ratfish, and Italo and Barb got a double header of big ling cod. I also caught my first halibut which was a blast, and another great eating fish. All in all, it was an amazing day fishing the Pacific Ocean with our great guide Jim from Sund’s Lodge. Back at the lodge for dinner was always special with gourmet chefs preparing mouth-watering appetizers and main course dishes while the friendly staff catered to our every need. The Sund’s Lodge staff also include a ceremony every dinner that involves seating the person with the biggest Chinook salmon caught that day in a beautiful hand-carved wood fish chair. They drape them with a king’s crown or tiara complete with cheerleaders. Additionally, anyone that caught a Chinook salmon over 30-pounds receives a special gift for catching a “Tyee” salmon. Jeff got the only Chinook the first half day, and Leena got the only Chinook the second day. The following day we started trolling for salmon and we missed the first two kings, although we did catch a bunch of pink and coho salmon. A couple hours later, I finally had a good Chinook salmon on that put on a spectacular aerial show numerous times. After an intense tussle, my first British Columbia Pacific Coast Chinook salmon hit the floor of the boat. That really made my day as I am a hard-core Great Lakes salmon angler and always wanted to catch Chinook on the Pacific Coast where they are native. Italo got a similar sized Chinook salmon a short time later that was equally impressive. The Chinook salmon fishing is typically much better, but we happened to hit a slow period during our stay. It was good to have cooperative pink and coho salmon as well as bottom fish which are excellent table fare. We stopped for an early lunch on the beach with the crew. This was a special lunch where the guides and crew beached the boats on a private beach and we had live Dungeness crab and other seafood dishes prepared by the gourmet chefs. We ate like kings on the beach overlooking beautiful mountains and islands along the Pacific Coast. This type of thing is what makes Sund’s lodge an incredible place to visit, not to mention the great staff that pays close attention to even the smallest details. The afternoon was dedicated to bottom fishing again. I put down a piece of octopus hoping for a big halibut, and it wasn’t down long before I had on a large fish. Unfortunately it got free, but Barb and Italo caught a couple of “chickens” which is a nickname for a small halibut. We caught a bunch of smaller fish including a unique–looking fish called a kelp greenling. The entire time we were fishing, we could see birds congregating over a big bait ball that a hump back whale was pushing toward the surface. We could see the whale breach the water’s surface and hear the loud exhaust from the blow hole which sent a huge mist of water up far into the air. What an amazing experience to say the least. Italo was jigging a 10oz Luhr Jensen jig that was on fire for all types of smaller fish when all of a sudden he set the hook into what looked like bottom. Hs rod was bent over hard with a large fish on the other end. The anticipation of what type of fish it could be and the size was overwhelming. The fight lasted a long time as Italo struggled to try and get the big fish to the surface. The sensational battle was lengthy and a tiring Italo finally became victorious as a large halibut was pulled from the depths to the surface. It was unclear whether it was of legal size to keep, so Jim quickly scrambled for his measuring stick and tried to get a measurement on a highly uncooperative halibut. It was almost comical to watch Jim try and get a measurement as the big halibut had other ideas as it took off for the bottom every time he got close with his measuring stick. When Jim was finally able to get a measurement with my help, it was of legal size to keep so Jim got his harpoon out. A big halibut can be very dangerous in a boat green, and it needs to be harpooned to settle it down. It was almost like watching the movie Jaws as Jim put a harpoon tip tied to a rope through the middle of the big halibut. Italo kept battling the big halibut with his rod and reel while Jim pulled the rope. Italo successfully pulled in the biggest fish of the trip that was over 60lbs. That was a great way to end the fishing on our awesome trip to Sund’s Lodge! Back at the lodge, we found out that Jeff once again got the biggest Chinook salmon at an impressive 33-pounds. It was a true Tyee that crowned him the King of Kings for the day. We all gathered around for dinner and shared fish stories over a delicious meal with lamb as the main course. The next morning while we waited for our shuttle back to the airport, I walked along the beach turning over rocks and found all kinds of fascinating crabs and critters. The land around Sund’s Lodge also had lots of life with deer grazing out front and tame alpacas. I was sad to see us all packed up so soon, but happy to have a box of fresh Pacific Coast fish and the experience of a lifetime. I could have stayed much longer, but it would also be much harder to leave such a paradise. What is a trip abroad without checking out the local tackle shops?! Interesting stuff to check out.
  7. I had a week off work to fish for salmon on Lake Ontario for the Great Ontario Salmon Derby I had a family vacation during the first week of the derby, and I also needed to rig up 2 new Cannon downriggers on my boat, so I didn't get out once in the first week. This was my first time having Cannon riggers on my boat, and I must say, I love them! They handle heavy weights and are incredibly fast. I began fishing out of Bluffers on Monday, and fished the general area to the east and west for the week. When I first got out on Monday I hit one nice fish right away on a Coyote flasher and TriggerX Twinkie rig, then it died. I got out late ad caught the tail end of the morning bite. I began trolling shallow, mid depths and deep to no avail. I decided to pull lines and try a new spot a few miles away. At 10:30am I had lines down and instantly started hitting nice kings! I love when a big move pays off. I had trouble keeping 2 lines down. As soon as the Luhr Jensen Coyote flasher and cut bait was sent down on my new rigger and Dipsy, off it fired. I had double headers solo and caught fish the rest of the day. Riggers fired from 50 feet down to 100. The Dipsy Divers fired from 89 to 180 out on a 3 setting. 130 feet of water to 215 produced well. The fish were high in the water column. Nothing big enough to weigh in for the derby, but close! Tuesday, I headed out again to the waypoints I hit fish the day before with a friend Rob. To make a long story short, we pounded them all day right up until we had to leave. Coyote flashers and TriggerX bait heads with herring strips getting it done again. Same settings on Dipsy divers and riggers. Same depths produced again. I had a friend Mitch out on Wednesday, but things changed dramatically on the lake with a big west wind Tuesday evening. The bite was off. We hit a couple smaller fish, then it died. After a while, we moved around 20 miles checking and fishing spots all over east and west. Finally just before we left, we hit a few more fish in front of Bluffers. On Thursday, I had Rob back out again, and another friend Derek joined us. This was the first time I have fished with Derek, and it was a riot. We'll have to do it again soon bud. It was nice to fish three guys, and it allowed us to utilize downriggers, Dipsys, leadcore and copper. We weren't expecting much, but we got into them pretty well, with deeper presentations working and 300 and 400 copper lines off planer boards. A variety of Coyote flashers and Kingfishers worked with herring strips in TriggerX Twinkie rigs and cut bait heads. Most fish were under 20lbs, but Derek got a nice one. Still not big enough to weigh in for the GOSD. Friday was a tough bite. I had a friend Melanie out, and we tried a bunch of spots, depths and combos. We only managed 5 bites and one was a shaker and a 12lb rainbow trout that Melanie got. On Saturday I had a friend Mario out, but we could only manage a few small kings in the 2 hours we were out. Now I am limited to weekends hoping to get one big bite! Good fishing, and good luck to anyone fishing the Great Ontario Salmon Derby!
  8. Thanks for ideas guys. I didn't realize that it gets reset monthly. I highly compress my images to a small file size. I'll probably sign up for another account. I am not an enterprise. I don't even have a business. I am a family man paying 2k a month in daycare. I have very little disposable income to spend on this type of thing. The second Photobucket account sounds like a good option. Good fishing! Aaron
  9. Apparently I have reached a bandwidth limit of 10GB of people viewing my photos that I have linked to my posts. I haven't seen this before, maybe it is new? I have nowhere near 10GB worth of photos on Photobucket, but I guess they have now set limits for how much people can view your photos. Here is a link to my recent thread here where Photobucket has cut off my account for people to see my photos unless I pay them to upgrade. http://ontariofishingcommunity.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=74608 I think every post I've ever made has now been Photobucket blocked for all the photos. Have any of you experienced this with Photobucket before? Where do you upload photos for sharing without this bandwidth issue? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! Aaron
  10. Those are really nice flies. Hope you have some great trips for brookies this year Mike. I look forward to the reports. Those look like they will work well on God's Lake. What weight fly rod do you use for brookies Mike? 6wt?
  11. Dave, the water warmed up quickly, and the rain run off helped. The Niagara was ice water only a couple weeks ago. River runs, the first fish is a Brown trout, not an Atlantic. They look very similar. Good fishing! Aaron
  12. I enjoyed a fun day on the Niagara River with a friend Chuck. We got into lots of steelhead and many hens were fat and dropping a stream of eggs into the bottom of my boat! Yes, the steelhead are right in the middle of spawning on the Niagara River! It is very late for them this year, but the water temps are only just hitting around 47F. I have never seen them spawning so late. Steelhead will be in the Niagara River well into June this year, and maybe even into July! The water colour was heavily stained below the power dams, and we only hit one fish, a nice brown that nailed a 6 inch pink worm. Above the dams had several feet of beautiful green "slaughter water". We caught fish drifting three-way rigs and pink worms, roe bags and beads. Chuck had a certain hot bead that was on fire. He must have had 8 fish to the boat before I asked for a bead. The bead is a unique colour that was chartreuse with a hint of pearl white to it. We pegged the bead approximately 2 inches from our hooks with a rubber bead peg. Roe accounted for a lot of bites as well in natural peach tied in bags smaller than a dime. We didn't take many photos, we were busy catching fish Enjoy the few pics we did take. Good fishing! Aaron
  13. Davey Buoy, I think you are a minority with a BB! I gave up mine for Android years ago, as did most people I know. I just got the Samsung S5 and love it. Amazing phone. My wife has a new iPhone and loves it as well. The kids always want our phones now though lol. They never wanted my BB with its lack of apps. They killed themselves by not going with an Android platform years ago. They always had good hardware, but a lack of app support made me switch. Have you tried to install the Android UFindfish app on your BB? I have Navionics on my phone and it rocks. It works better than my sonar charts. Great on the ice. Tony and I take screen shots and send them to each other so we know each others 411 when we split up in search mode. I just lost hundreds of way points switching over to the S5 though, as I forgot to sign up for the cloud storage for Navionics. I will not make that mistake again!
  14. Maverick, I use an Olympus TG2 compact tough camera for all the shots you see in this post except for the smaller photos at the end. Italo took those with his DSLR. I got the camera at Christmas after doing months of research. I am really glad I did so much research, as the camera is amazing and takes great photos above and below the water. And half above and below lol. There are two waterproof lens attachments that can be purchased for it, a zoom lens and wide angle. I got the wide angle. The wide angle lens attachment is best to get a good half above and below shot. The area of the lens is much larger and can be more easily positioned to get a much better half and half shot. I tried without the wide angle lens and didn't get really good shots. The TG2 was $300. The wide angle attachment was $100. Best $400. I have ever spent on a camera. It also accepts filters. I have a circular polarizing filter for it as well. It takes incredible super macro shots as well. The TG3 is out now. The big difference being the TG2 is 12mp and the TG3 is 16mp. The TG3 also has built in WiFi where the TG2 doesn't have WiFi. I highly recommend the Olympus TG2 or TG3 to anyone looking for the best compact tough waterproof camera. Oh yeah, it takes great full 1080p HD video as well. FYI in my research I learned that the Nikon was by far the worst tough underwater compact camera. This was evident at all stores having lots in stock and the Olympus was selling out weekly. Bad reviews on performance and water damage from lots of people in reviews. Cannon ranked second last. Surprising as both Nikon and Cannon make great cameras in general. They just don't seem to put much effort into the growing tough waterproof market. The other worthwhile camera to look at is the Pentax, and not surprising it has the exact same fast lens as the Olympus TG2. I didn't research any inexpensive models, just the high end compact tough waterproof cameras.
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