Thumb-Burner

need recommendation for 8-9.5 ft conventional surf rod

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53 posts in this topic

On 5/8/2021 at 0:00 AM, Russ57 said:

FWIW part of it comes down to understanding the different types of rods and their intended use.

 

For example a back bounce is made to fish a heavy weight on the bottom in current.  You lift the tip, and therefore the weight off the bottom, let it drift back a few feet/yards, and lower the tip.  So they have a strong tip but more of a moderate action back bone.  They can make a nice moderate sized snapper/bottom fishing rod.  Often times the same blank is used for back bounce, musky, and swim bait rods.

 

Hot shot rods are almost the polar opposite.  They are designed to work a plug on the top using only the current.  They are the fastest blank around with a very limber tip leading to a ultra quick shut off into a strong back bone. They are a great blank for casting lighter weights for fish that fight on the top of the water column in open water.  The lighter powered ones are favorites for flats fishing in my area.

 

But yes, the general purpose ones are often of the "buggy whip" type.  Length is a clue as hot shot and back bounce typically aren't any longer than 8 1/2 feet.

 

I wouldn't say that.

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To the OP: I fish Tins & Plugs with Conventional Rods & Reels & have been doing to for 46 years now. I also use spinning rods & I fly fish too. It is actually possible to do what you want to do with conventional tackle & they're actually are some really good reasons to go this route.

 

Most often I throw 1 1/2 oz, sometimes I will go as light as 3/4 oz & sometimes I'll go up two as heavy as 4.5 oz on some large plugs. Generally when I go heavy I break out Conventional rod that handles larger stuff.

 

However for daily fishing purposes from the beach, I looked for a rod that had a real sweet spot at about 1.5 oz. Over the years what I discovered is that a rod's rating has become increasingly more influenced by marketing. Marketers realized if they increase the rods rating range more people buy it. In fact most rods can easily handle weight ranges outside of whatever they are rated for. It's up to the caster to adjust based whatever payload is being thrown.

 

One thing is for certain, you will find every rod has a general sweet spot.

 

I love the Century Slingshot rod series and I have fished a number of Slingshots hard over the last five years and they've made me a big fan. 

 

Lamiglas also makes some excellent conventional rods & some of their blanks will do what you want to do. 

 

There are many other choices out there including St Croix..etc. The rod is actually the easy part of this conversation. 

 

The reason most guys don't throw conventional rods & reels are numerous but at the same time, if you figure this game out the advantages are also numerous. 

 

The biggest single issue is the reel. It's extremely hard to find one out of the box that will handle 3/4 oz to 2+ oz optimally. Daily fishing involves dealing with wind. That rules out 95% of the conventional reels that you might be looking at because their mag controls are insufficient.

 

The next issue is startup inertia. Most reels have very large spools and they take significant pull to make them function very easily, 3 oz is on the lighter end of what most reels do well with. The reason for this is that the spools are ginormous and many are designed for high capacity boat fishing.

 

For this reason, customized conventional reels have an absolute niche spot in the surf casting community. 

 

Due to the pandemic these types of reels are hard to find. When you have a conventional reel made you generally either luck out and buy one that's already good to go or you have to wait a significant amount of time while your reel is being tweaked to the necessary specs.

 

Another major issue is that most conventional reels come in right hand retrieve only. That could be an issue for many people. I personally use only left hand retrieve reels. 

 

Most of what you're going to find down in North Carolina is set up for beach fishing and you're hucking 3 to 6 oz regularly. Those types of reals suck for the application you would be applying them to.

 

Based on your location I would recommend contacting Hatteras Jack and asking for his best recommendation on a magged, narrow spool, open cage, star drag reel that will throw 3/4 to 2 oz optimally. Another option might be to contact Jamie from PMR in England and see if he has any thoughts. 

 

Typically when people tweak reels, they use models that due to the machining, don't require too much custom fabrication on the parts. Abu Garcia, Akios/Omoto, Penn..etc. 

 

There are some reels out of the box that can be used with minimal issues for lighter duty plugging. Many have wider spools than desired, closed cages and unfortunately level wines. The Shimano Calcutta TE is one that you'll hear a lot of people have luck with problem is there though, they're not going to come anywhere near the distance that a custom reel will give you. That said you're going to have some definite disadvantages opposed to something that's customized.

 

What you are looking for is an open cage design and a narrow spool with enough capacity to handle 200+ yards of 20# or 30# radial braid, or maybe #15 mono if you prefer. Most of these types of reels that are out there have to be magged. 

 

The last issue you'll have is a plethora of reels that might look promising but then when you're really look at them, not only is the spool too large and not only is the mag control insufficient but you'll probably be staring at a lever drag. 

 

The goal is to find a star drag reel that can be reliably adjusted during a fight from the beach. Most conventional reels are designed not with surf casters in mind but with the boating community as the customer base. Therefore, a surf fisherman can weed out  about 90% of all conventional reels immediately. 

 

Customized conventional reels have a number of tweaks that help them achieve maximum distance with 3/4 oz to 2+ oz (and larger models that handle heavier payloads are also out there). 

 

 

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16 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

To the OP: I fish Tins & Plugs with Conventional Rods & Reels & have been doing to for 46 years now. I also use spinning rods & I fly fish too. It is actually possible to do what you want to do with conventional tackle & they're actually are some really good reasons to go this route.

 

Most often I throw 1 1/2 oz, sometimes I will go as light as 3/4 oz & sometimes I'll go up two as heavy as 4.5 oz on some large plugs. Generally when I go heavy I break out Conventional rod that handles larger stuff.

 

However for daily fishing purposes from the beach, I looked for a rod that had a real sweet spot at about 1.5 oz. Over the years what I discovered is that a rod's rating has become increasingly more influenced by marketing. Marketers realized if they increase the rods rating range more people buy it. In fact most rods can easily handle weight ranges outside of whatever they are rated for. It's up to the caster to adjust based whatever payload is being thrown.

 

One thing is for certain, you will find every rod has a general sweet spot.

 

I love the Century Slingshot rod series and I have fished a number of Slingshots hard over the last five years and they've made me a big fan. 

 

Lamiglas also makes some excellent conventional rods & some of their blanks will do what you want to do. 

 

There are many other choices out there including St Croix..etc. The rod is actually the easy part of this conversation. 

 

The reason most guys don't throw conventional rods & reels are numerous but at the same time, if you figure this game out the advantages are also numerous. 

 

The biggest single issue is the reel. It's extremely hard to find one out of the box that will handle 3/4 oz to 2+ oz optimally. Daily fishing involves dealing with wind. That rules out 95% of the conventional reels that you might be looking at because their mag controls are insufficient.

 

The next issue is startup inertia. Most reels have very large spools and they take significant pull to make them function very easily, 3 oz is on the lighter end of what most reels do well with. The reason for this is that the spools are ginormous and many are designed for high capacity boat fishing.

 

For this reason, customized conventional reels have an absolute niche spot in the surf casting community. 

 

Due to the pandemic these types of reels are hard to find. When you have a conventional reel made you generally either luck out and buy one that's already good to go or you have to wait a significant amount of time while your reel is being tweaked to the necessary specs.

 

Another major issue is that most conventional reels come in right hand retrieve only. That could be an issue for many people. I personally use only left hand retrieve reels. 

 

Most of what you're going to find down in North Carolina is set up for beach fishing and you're hucking 3 to 6 oz regularly. Those types of reals suck for the application you would be applying them to.

 

Based on your location I would recommend contacting Hatteras Jack and asking for his best recommendation on a magged, narrow spool, open cage, star drag reel that will throw 3/4 to 2 oz optimally. Another option might be to contact Jamie from PMR in England and see if he has any thoughts. 

 

Typically when people tweak reels, they use models that due to the machining, don't require too much custom fabrication on the parts. Abu Garcia, Akios/Omoto, Penn..etc. 

 

There are some reels out of the box that can be used with minimal issues for lighter duty plugging. Many have wider spools than desired, closed cages and unfortunately level wines. The Shimano Calcutta TE is one that you'll hear a lot of people have luck with problem is there though, they're not going to come anywhere near the distance that a custom reel will give you. That said you're going to have some definite disadvantages opposed to something that's customized.

 

What you are looking for is an open cage design and a narrow spool with enough capacity to handle 200+ yards of 20# or 30# radial braid, or maybe #15 mono if you prefer. Most of these types of reels that are out there have to be magged. 

 

The last issue you'll have is a plethora of reels that might look promising but then when you're really look at them, not only is the spool too large and not only is the mag control insufficient but you'll probably be staring at a lever drag. 

 

The goal is to find a star drag reel that can be reliably adjusted during a fight from the beach. Most conventional reels are designed not with surf casters in mind but with the boating community as the customer base. Therefore, a surf fisherman can weed out  about 90% of all conventional reels immediately. 

 

Customized conventional reels have a number of tweaks that help them achieve maximum distance with 3/4 oz to 2+ oz (and larger models that handle heavier payloads are also out there). 

 

 

Cary, I really appreciate the well thought out response.   With the risk of sounding arrogant, which is not my intent, I'll say I've probably had 30 or 40 custom tweaked reels over the years, many I have done myself, some from Ryan at Hatteras Jacks (been going there since for over 40 years) and some from some of the best casters in the UK.  While i absolutely agree with your comments about needing a light spool for lighter payloads, I've had no issues over the years keeping levelinds in tact and getting plenty of distance.   I've been casting conventionals since for 43 years.  I strongly prefer brake blocks for fishing over mags, assuming i can have a setup for the specific application.  switching from a 1 oz tin to a 4 oz lead and bait makes mags very useful.  to me, a reel for 4-6 oz and bait all the time, for example, i see no need for mags.  To be clear, that is a personal preference thing, not saying brake blocks are better.

 

The specific challenge I'm having right now is finding a factory conventional rod that has the action I'm looking for.  I'm trying to find a really awesome rod, cheap.  LOL

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1 hour ago, Thumb-Burner said:

Cary, I really appreciate the well thought out response.   With the risk of sounding arrogant, which is not my intent, I'll say I've probably had 30 or 40 custom tweaked reels over the years, many I have done myself, some from Ryan at Hatteras Jacks (been going there since for over 40 years) and some from some of the best casters in the UK.  While i absolutely agree with your comments about needing a light spool for lighter payloads, I've had no issues over the years keeping levelinds in tact and getting plenty of distance.   I've been casting conventionals since for 43 years.  I strongly prefer brake blocks for fishing over mags, assuming i can have a setup for the specific application.  switching from a 1 oz tin to a 4 oz lead and bait makes mags very useful.  to me, a reel for 4-6 oz and bait all the time, for example, i see no need for mags.  To be clear, that is a personal preference thing, not saying brake blocks are better.

 

The specific challenge I'm having right now is finding a factory conventional rod that has the action I'm looking for.  I'm trying to find a really awesome rod, cheap.  LOL

Interesting nights TB & certainly many talking points in the details of your experiences over the years. 

 

On the topic of reels, two general observations come to mind. The first is taken from examining pitch flip large mouth bass bait asters. Most have small, closed cages with level winds & are not magged. Some of nicer "bait casters" are a joy to fish & they cast awesome, providing the bait has a little weight to it 1/4 oz to 3/4 oz. They often feature centrifugal braking systems, opposed to magnetic cast controls. 

 

**for our readers, below is some brief detail on this topic. 

 

Centrifugal brake blocks work only during the first part of the cast. Think about what happens when you make a cast. You use your rod to slingshot an amount of weight (lure and line) towards a target.

 

Your spool instantly begins turning at a high rate of speed as your cast sends your bait out into the distance. A mistake a lot of guys make here is with their casting stroke. A herky-jerky stroke, opposed to a smooth, sharp acceleration will cause problems because,, if y our spool is spinning at a greater rate than the lure is traveling, then your line will get loose within the reel and you will end up with a backlash.

 

The centrifugal brake is the control that allows the line to feed off of the spool at the same rate of speed as the cast. As the spool is spinning, gravity will make the centrifugal brakes extend from the center of the spool to run along a shelf inside the side panel of the reel. Kind of like the way brake pads work on a drum brake in cars.

 

Most reels will have six such brake pads that you can turn on or off, usually by sliding a small lever for each brake. By locking each individual brake, you are telling the reel how many brake pads to let out to run along the drum. Less brakes equals longer spool turning whereas more brakes will slow down the spool faster. The drawback to the centrifugal brakes is that you MUST remove the side panel of the reel in order to adjust them.

 

An experienced caster does just fine with well designed Centrifugal brakes. Most anglers have trouble though as casting technique in crucially important - as are the decisions you make when it's windy (need more heavier payloads that wind can't mess with).

 

When we Mag a reel, we start by disengaging the brakes.  On one side of the reel there will be a small dial that moves your magnetic brakes either closer or further away from the spool.

 

Turning the dial one way will decrease the distance of the magnets to the spool and turning the other way will increase the distance between magnets and spool (this will only be noticeable if there is a great deal of float and adjustability - If the knob doesn't move the magnets very far as it's rotated and there's a limited amount of ability for the magnets to get quite far from the spool, The end result will be displeasing to most casters. Let's explore this a bit further.

 

Magnetic brakes work on the principal that the closer the brakes are to the spool, the faster the spool will slow down within the cast and by default, the further the magnets are from the spool the freer the spool is to spin. The magnetic brakes also only work with the first part of the cast and in principal work the same way as the centrifugal brakes. The biggest advantage to magnetic brakes is that you can easily adjust the magnetic brakes by turning the dial and without having to remove the side plate.

 

The caster uses his thumb in order to stop the spool from spinning as the lure approaches the water surface. Failure to do this equals an instantaneous backlash. This is where most casters goof up even when they launch a good cast. Spinning reels don't suffer from this problem and hence most people spin fish.

 

Thumb-Burner!! Great profile name. Regarding Centrifugal brakes vs Magnetic brakes, there is a lot to be said on this point and it's probably a whole separate thread. Also why fix something that ain't broke? If you prefer the brake blocks & don't mind opening the side-plate & adjusting and also if you feel you get better performance once you set up for anticipated conditions, then we're to the races, as they.

 

I was absolutely in the same frame of mind as you until about 5 years ago, when I began to prefer custom Mag controls. 

 

One of the main reasons was how fast modern Bearings have become. The others were because I was using balanced Mag Controls with exceptional float & balanced magnet distribution advanced rods, competition shafts & extremely light spools.

 

I've been using certified ABEC-9 bearings in 4 different reels,  which are dry running, for the past 5 years. (I have never opened the bearings nor have I ever lubricated them, nor were they ever lubricated & I fish a lot)

 

ABEC-5 bearings are typically lubricated with trace amounts of silicone-lube & they are the most common bearings you will find in most reels. It's also becoming more common to see ABEC-7' bearings used by so manufacturers & these are also lubricated with trace amounts of silicone lube.

 

(There are numerous counterfeit bearings on the market so a lot of times people think they're using one type of bearing when they're really not. Also, If bearing seals are allowing water into the bearing race too easily, this is going to require constant cleaning and maintenance. The tracks that hold bearings eventually wear out because the bearings are harder than they are. Even with dry running bearings at some point you're going to need a new bearing track)

 

Competition distance casting shafts are combined with these lightning fast bearings and these extremely light spools and the end result is extremely fast RPM's, speeds at which we could not achieve in the past. 

 

The onset of these advances, combined with improvements in the Mag Controls and not to mention Rod technology and the introduction of faster and faster & stronger blank advances, create optimal casting distances & easy in the field adjustments. 

 

All three of these more modern bearings are obviously very fast. Well designed Mag Controls are able to exert a lot more stopping power than Centrifugal Brakes. This means you can take that extremely fast-moving spool and slow it down a bit.

 

Most Mag controls are side plates inside the reel & they slide along a shaft which is controlled by the control knob on the exterior of the reel. The rare earth magnet array usually consists of between 1 to 4 magnetic disks which are most often placed in a uniform line. As the spool spins, whichever side of the spool disc that the cast-control is on receives equal pressure as the spool edge passes by the array of magnets. 

 

Other Mag Controls might be placed in a circular formation so that they are spread out evenly and that each magnet is continually providing uniform pressure. These types of designs do seem smoother than the concept of magnets in a straight line. 

 

Most really good Mag Controls aren't really that good. It's because they're not highly adjustable. A Mag Unit that features a ton of adjustability and can move from very close to very far away from the spool is a game changer, especially if the magnets are positioned in a circular fashion rather than a straight line. 

 

In order to achieve what I am talking about, we're talking about a serious amount of fine tuning and extremely precise engineering -- all done to take full advantage of modern technology. This is a lot more effort than 99.5% of all fishermen are willing to go through when we consider..

 

Quite frankly, simple Centrifugal brakes, for daily fishing, will basically do the same thing as Magnetic brakes. They'll also even slow down a pretty fancy reel pretty well. Though Magnets do provide much more stopping power & they offer easier, in the field adjustments, if Magnets really aren't needed for most actual fishing, then why use them?

 

Therefore we see Mags most often when guys are throwing heavier payloads long distances, or in situations where extra distance on a cast is routinely needed. 

 

To Thumb- Burner: Try a Century Slingshot Casting rod rated appropriately for 3/4 to 2+ oz. That is the best recommendation I have for throwing typical 1 5 oz lures & plugs till the cows come home. They load very easily. They have tons of smooth, fast, even power & they excell when battling big fish. Conventional saltwater reels seem to love them also.

 

I suspect the reason for this is because they are a terrific match for people who can load & unload a rod smoothly.

 

This is probably because even though the Slingshot rod are pretty fast they aren't overly stiff or hard to load. They're very accommodating.

 

An extremely experienced caster will also get to the point where they can't get any more distance out of them, this is probably true of any rod though.

 

I also like Lammy blanks for their smoothness, though I do like Century blanks more, for Conventional reels, as I've said. 

 

 

 

 

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GREAT post!   This quote from your post above is so difficult to explain to people who have casted spinning their whole lives where a snappy cast has no real negative impact..

 

"A mistake a lot of guys make here is with their casting stroke. A herky-jerky stroke, opposed to a smooth, sharp acceleration will cause problems because,, if y our spool is spinning at a greater rate than the lure is traveling, then your line will get loose within the reel and you will end up with a backlash."

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8 hours ago, Thumb-Burner said:

GREAT post!   This quote from your post above is so difficult to explain to people who have casted spinning their whole lives where a snappy cast has no real negative impact..

 

"A mistake a lot of guys make here is with their casting stroke. A herky-jerky stroke, opposed to a smooth, sharp acceleration will cause problems because,, if y our spool is spinning at a greater rate than the lure is traveling, then your line will get loose within the reel and you will end up with a backlash."

 

It was a great post. Cary definitely took some time to type all that info up and it is great info for anyone unfamiliar with baitcasters or conventionals.

 

I am like you, I like my centrifugal brakes which is a good thing because my favorite baitcasters and conventionals use centrifugals.

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I know there was a video I saw of Scooby fishing a conventional rig in the surf. I want to say it was a Black hole rod with a Tranx. 

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If your looking for a less expensive rod- maybe try the Fiblink moonsniper - it’s about 50 on Amazon. It’s most likely a China rod, if that matters to you. 

 

As a disclaimer- I’m no pro that owns hundreds of rods- but just your typical surf caster who prefers conventional set ups over spinning. I generally use an Abu Garcia type of reel with a level wind. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on expensive equipment which is why I have the cheaper older stuff that has held up (although I just recently bought the fiblink so idk how long it will last) 

 

I was was surprised with the fiblink- it has a feel and look of a 150$ rod. I have the 9’ med action I think it’s 3/4 to 3 oz? Idk off hand but the sweet spot of 1.5 to 2... really being closer to 2. Perfect all around rod. Just be careful as some of the reviews mentioned cracked rod guide rings, so check that. Mine had some resin buildup on the ring that I was able to chip off easily. There may be free returns on it- check then if you order it and don’t like it- return it. 

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54 mins ago, Mr.Belmar said:

If your looking for a less expensive rod- maybe try the Fiblink moonsniper - it’s about 50 on Amazon. It’s most likely a China rod, if that matters to you. 

 

As a disclaimer- I’m no pro that owns hundreds of rods- but just your typical surf caster who prefers conventional set ups over spinning. I generally use an Abu Garcia type of reel with a level wind. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on expensive equipment which is why I have the cheaper older stuff that has held up (although I just recently bought the fiblink so idk how long it will last) 

 

I was was surprised with the fiblink- it has a feel and look of a 150$ rod. I have the 9’ med action I think it’s 3/4 to 3 oz? Idk off hand but the sweet spot of 1.5 to 2... really being closer to 2. Perfect all around rod. Just be careful as some of the reviews mentioned cracked rod guide rings, so check that. Mine had some resin buildup on the ring that I was able to chip off easily. There may be free returns on it- check then if you order it and don’t like it- return it. 

Actually, that is a great idea.  the quality of factory rods have skyrocketed in the last 10-15 yrs. I think it may be the same company, but i've had two of the BerryPro salmon steelhead rods from amazon.  They are outstanding for under 60 bucks.  A friend of mine has 5 of them that he uses off the beach in florida.   the blanks are outstanding and the components are fine.  the first place i looked was for one of those in conventional.  I heard others locally that have been pleased with the fiblink, but i didn't know they made conventional surf rods.. i'll check it out.  I'm meeting a buddy at lunch today who is going to let me check out his 7'11" swimbait rod for freshwater.  Not sure, but it sounds very much like what i'm looking for...  

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12 hours ago, MAGA said:

I know there was a video I saw of Scooby fishing a conventional rig in the surf. I want to say it was a Black hole rod with a Tranx. 

 

Correct, it was a Blackhole rod he built himself.

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The search is over.  Just picked up a rod from a buddy that i think is going to work well in the 3/4 - 2oz range.   it's a 7'11" Okuma Guide Select swimbait rod.  feels like it's rated accurately at 3/4-3oz.  forgiving tip but a ton o' backbone when you get into the mid section.   im8 graphite.  so it's super lightweight.  nice split cork handle and the distance from center of reelseat to end of the buttcap is 16".   Also, i got the friend price which is a huge plus...

 

I'll let ya know how it does in a few weeks.

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4 hours ago, Thumb-Burner said:

The search is over.  Just picked up a rod from a buddy that i think is going to work well in the 3/4 - 2oz range.   it's a 7'11" Okuma Guide Select swimbait rod.  feels like it's rated accurately at 3/4-3oz.  forgiving tip but a ton o' backbone when you get into the mid section.   im8 graphite.  so it's super lightweight.  nice split cork handle and the distance from center of reelseat to end of the buttcap is 16".   Also, i got the friend price which is a huge plus...

 

I'll let ya know how it does in a few weeks.

 

Nice!

 

Yes, let us know how if functions.

 

Had to be a fraction of the price of the St. Croix Legend glass or Legend Musky Downsizer.

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8 mins ago, Beastly Backlash said:

 

Nice!

 

Yes, let us know how if functions.

 

Had to be a fraction of the price of the St. Croix Legend glass or Legend Musky Downsizer.

about 80% off.  he's a good friend.  lol

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13 mins ago, Thumb-Burner said:

about 80% off.  he's a good friend.  lol

If it doesn't work out, where in NC are you?

I have a few rods you can play with if you are close to Virginia Beach.

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17 mins ago, RWP said:

If it doesn't work out, where in NC are you?

I have a few rods you can play with if you are close to Virginia Beach.

that's a very gracious offer. unfortunately I'm about three and a half hours from the coast and about 6:00 from the outer Banks

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