Texas Pond

We hadn’t taken out the raft in a while so headed to Texas Pond right outside Fort Bragg. The water was surprisingly low, seeming to average no more than two feet in any location.

 As usual, little B was ready to go in her outward Hound life vest and boat shoes. Dan had been researching and experimenting with different types of hard plastic minnows and spinners/buzz baits. I really never got into using these so it was a bit of a learning curve for me.

One lure he used was a white Mistsuo popper. The method was to toss out, then twitch the bait causing it to splash back and fort, and pause while reeling to retrieve the slack line.

Dan seemed to have pretty good success with this. He used the same method with a black lucky craft topwater bass lure. In the mean time I am not catching anything and getting fairly frustrated. Dans been watching a lot of videos and doing a lot of research, so really its no surprise he has gotten a lot better. Nevertheless, I am butthurt at this point.

Poor poo dog still hasn’t gotten used to being in a boat. She continues to cling to my leg and get in the way of rowing. Not sure how to get her used to it outside of continuing to bring her though. It’s sort of cute how she will conquer her fears to be with us though!

Dan also hooked a decent sized chain Pickerel! This one was snagged utilizing a jerk bait. The method here involves holding the rod at a 90 degree angle from where you tossed the lure, then jerking the lure toward you and reeling in between as you go. There are a many ways to retrieve: aggressive, twitches, long pauses, continuous… you simply have to try different speeds and levels of aggression until one attracts the bite.
Of course when I tried this, I seemed to attract nothing. Finally, I got a big hit on the jerk bait and I was hoping to see a Pickerel or a bass!

Thanks to Dans extensive research, we are breaking into the world of hard plastic lures and there’s so much to try. Though often harder than live bait, it’s a fun challenge to work and finesse the lures to get that bite. We will continue to update with different lures and methods.

Broken Arrow Creek

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Equipped with a new pole, and some newly gained American catfishing experience from NC, I set out to try the Chattahoochee River again, this time at a landing near Broken Arrow Creek. This was behind the “Pet Cemetery” at Fort Benning and I had heard good things about it from others. To get there, you have to navigate through a maze of unimproved dirt roads, often flooded over with water, so a off road capable vehicle is a must. The lift on my ’04 Jeep Grand Cherokee was good enough, but I could see it being impossible in a rainier time.  When you reach the end, there’s a couple of different landings to fish, some on the creek itself, and some on the river. I decided to set up on the river.

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Naturally, using a worm as bait for my first rod, I come up with a gill. I was trying to set up my other rod, but kept getting tags on the first one. Next was this little guy:

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That’s a baby channel! Cute little guy. I was using a medium action rod, and the issue was that I didn’t have enough weight attached to it to cast it as far as I wanted. So basically, I was catching the little guys. This next one was a bit of a surprise though since usually they only go for live baitfish!

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Yup, that’s a schoolie! My very first striped. These guys fight like hell though; it was hard to get him to stop flopping to even take the picture.

Unfortunately, after I got my second rod set up, I really didn’t come up with anything so I packed it in after a few hours and called it a day. Definitely will check this spot out again and see if I can catch a true striper!

Wyatt Lake

Following our couple of bass (but no carp!) out at Kiest, we decided to amble down to the adjacent Wyatt Lake. Wyatt is not labelled on most maps that we saw, but it is to the direct East of Kiest, which is labelled. It’s a relatively small pond with a lot of landing areas to fish from. The entire pond feeds into the Little River.

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This is more of  a catfish pond, but the word on the street is that because most don’t fish it for bass, there are some lunkers sneaking around, little detected. At this point night was falling though so we decided to just get our cat gear set up. In addition to the single spin reel pole I threw out, Dan went ahead and cast out a couple of our traditional Korean cane poles. Depth wise, I was able to cast way further with the spin reel. Dan was maybe a few meters in front of the landing.

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But he ended up being the one to catch! With the cane pole, it’s important to have a landing net. The hooks used are much, much smaller (so more easily escaped), and since you have no reel, you bring the fish to you by tiring it out,  and raising the tip of the rod, basically fighting the fish intil it’s close enough to snag with the landing net.  I have explained this in my Korean fishing posts, but the cane pole rig is attached to a thin vertical bobber, which sinks and moves when the fish is grabbing the bait (raw chicken in this case).  When the bobber sinks all the way in, you set the hook by giving it a quick and forceful yank up. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and a lot of fun to fight to get the fish on shore.  This was the next catch for Dan:

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Yup– another turtle! They’re rampant around here. This poor little guy was hooked by his arm. He was obviously stealing the raw chicken and ended up caught in the act. And by the looks of it, he’s a little alarmed by the whole ordeal. And one more to complete the night:

It was nice to go to another lake after Kiest, and to get Dan catching a few! Nothing quite like the frustration of your fishing partner catching when you can only seem to pull up weeds and lose your lures. It was also really cool to break out the cane poles again. Still my favorite way to fish!

McKellar’s Pond #2

Given our success at McKellar’s the first time, we decided to go at it again and see what we’d come up with. This time, we entered from McKellar’s road to a dirt path that had little wooden posts next to it– more of a “main” entrance. We took a left, following the small creek that borders the pond, and settled  in the north, directly across from the Peninsula. We took with us two Shakespeare 7′ Ugly Sticks, and one 7′ PLUSINNO Spinning telescopic rod, in addition to a 5′ telescopic for casting. We used both size 5/0 treble hooks, and size 5/0 circle hooks. Bait was chicken blood doughs, little stinker dip bait, and cut bait we saved from last time (blue gill). The setup was the same as last time– casted out as far as possible, and posted into the ground with rod holders. At the same time, we threw a couple free lines in for baitfish. As soon as evening hit (6pm and forward) the hits started coming!

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We were catching a lot of channels, but at the same time missing a lot. This sort of brought up a hook size debate. Circle hooks in particular work by turning and grabbing the side of the fish’s lips, which is why you generally do not have to “set” the hook like you do bait hooks and others. But the issue is if the bait covers the space between the tip and the rest of the hook too much, the hook has a tendency to bounce out. We experimented a lot with bait sizing, but we only had the 5/0 hooks so stuck with them.

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Seriously, the cats kept coming in! It was a great fishing day. Brook had fun, too. She is very well trained now so she is allowed off the leash and she is too scared to run away from us in the dark anyways. I do worry  about other angler’s trash though. God forbid she get into a discarded hook. Let that be a lesson– PLEASE clean up after yourself when fishing. If not for the good of the environment, for those of us who bring out furry friends out there.

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I just had to add this picture in because it was taken right after Dan slapped himself in the face with a big chunk of stinky cut bait, which I found HILARIOUS. As usual, he was mad at me for laughing at his expense, hence the facial expression…

The next cat we pulled up was a WEIRD surprise. Since we are relatively new in our channel cat angling escapades, we do a lot of studying of the fish’s anatomy, skin, fins, etc in order to better identify. We snag up a seemingly normal fish and Dan goes “This one’s all white!”

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Now check that out!  A ghost catfish in the night! Here’s it next to a regular channel for comparison:

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If you watch The Last Airbender, my immediate reaction was we have captures the OCEAN and the MOON spirits! Twi and La! Really cool catch anyways! It turns out to be an Albino Channel catfish, which is a VERY rare sighting in the wild. Similar albinos are bred in captivity for small fish tanks (much much smaller than this channel). It was a really cool surprise, and likely something we may never see again! Of course we released the beautiful moon spirit, lest the entire world fall out of balance.

GREAT day of catfishing on McKellar’s pond. This pond is quiet, pleasant and chock full of channels. We will be back!

 

 

Somersville Pond

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My sister was visiting back home in CT for a few weeks, from Australia, so I decided to come home and surprise my family. A cool aspect of getting into fishing was it even gave me and my dad another thing to bond over. Now Dad’s all “into” it too haha. So we looked up some local holes, and turns out here was one pretty close at a dam near an old mill site. Fairly small with a nice little pavilion as well as a small dock you could walk out onto.  I used my dad’s dated equipment, so it was about a 5ft long old school spin reel. Nothing fancy.

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I used the usual, old reliable technique of a treble hook or rooster tail with a fat night crawler attached. My Dad, just like when we were ice fishing, wouldn’t use any of the advice I gave him, and instead attached a hook to a circle bobber and had a little medley of baits floating an unknown distance above the bottom. We started off slow, and were basically competing on who could catch the most pumpkin seeds because MAN those little guys were greedy today.

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Some of them were so pretty though!

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In the meantime, my Mom, sister and brother came along and hung out with us on the dock, as well as took the boys for a walk. A quick reminder of what they look like:

The first fish I hooked was a beautiful, good sized perch! They don’t really have these around in South Georgia, where I’m living now, so it was really pleasant because these fish are just stunning.

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Here’s another angle and a selfie with my favorite hat…

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Even in the face of my success though dad just wouldn’t give up his weird bobber-bait-salad method. I pulled in a couple more perch after!

Dad got a lot of excitement when his goofy rig got a tug. Here he is with a HOG!

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Little pumpkinseed. Haha. Anyways, eventually I even reeled in a few black bullhead. Another cool species that isn’t local where I live.

Bullheads are actually a type of catfish, sort of similar to flatheads, ,but the bullheads head is way fatter. They share the shallow, rounded tail “fork” though, whereas blues and channels have a deeply forked tail. An issue I ran into however, was both one of the perch and both of the bullheads seriously swallowed the hook. We made a dire mistake of not equipping with long nose pliers while out here (we had only my dad’s stuff, I didn’t bring my kit) and so getting those hooks out was a pain in the ass. I also felt bad and truly hoped I didn’t fatally harm any of the fish in the process. A big lesson learned there, because I do truly value the life of all creatures.

Eventually I was able to convince my dad to use my slow pitch jig technique, against much of his opposition. And surprise! He pulled out a bullhead of his own.

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Little guy, but it’s better than sunfish, right? In the words of my Grandpa, however, “I saw your shitty bullhead!” My Grandpa is the worlds biggest Facebook troll, but that’s neither here nor there.

 

Overall, Somersville pond was a ton of fun. It’s packed full of fish, the area is clean and beautiful, and it was so quiet. There were a couple kayakers out there, but not too many people. A boat would have been nice because this dock/side was really the only easily accessible area on the shore, and the kayakers got to move down the whole pond. Really good time, definitely want to get out there again!

McKellar’s Pond

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In eastern/central North Carolina there are a few common types of American catfish: Channels, Blues, bullheads and flatheads. Since we often had success catching Amur catfish we decided to go after their supposedly delicious American cousins. McKellar’s pond is located in Fayetteville, NC tucked into a few backroads. The pond overall isn’t very well kept. It was littered with trash and remains of slobby fishing parties. Sad– they do not have any staff or conservationists to clean up; It’s the fisherman’s responsibility and it looks like people just don’t care around here.

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Anyways, we set up three catfish rods (two ugly sticks, and one telescopic) with different baits ranging from chicken liver flavored dough baits, to “Little Stinker” dip bait, and even some night crawlers. We casted out the rods as far as possible, then tightened the line up and placed the rods into individual rod holders. Finished it off with a little clip on bell that way when a fish bites, we are alerted. We used treble hooks for the dip/dough and circle hooks for other baits. In the mean time, we used our short rods to do a little spin fishing for bass or panfish. We went the first few hours without too much luck until I ended up catching this little guy:

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Channel catfish are known to like to eat bluegill, so we cut him up into small 1-1.5in sections, discarding the fins and spines and slipped it onto circle hooks. It’s important to note that the way a circle hook works is that it twists and punctures the side of the fish’s mouth. So when baiting a circle hook you want to ensure you keep the gap between the point and the hook fairly clear. Bigger bait isn’t always better on a circle hook, especially a smaller one like the 5/0 we were using.

 

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Once the bluegill was on the hook and the sun began to set, the bites started coming. It’s a whole lot of fun when the bells start ringing on all the rods!

We ended up with a good amount of channel cats after the sun went down. Catfishing is a lot like carp fishing in Korea, where it’s pretty stationary and passive, but man it’s fun to bring ’em in once the bell jingles. In the mean time, we just hung out, drank, and played with Brook the entire time. We kept 3 cats to take home with us, and released the rest.

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We cleaned up our catches the next day, using a fairly simple technique of a diagonal cut behind the gills, a cut down the spine to the tail, and just slice the meat off the skin. We got four good filets out of it, which we pan fried up with some seasoned breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper and created some delicious cat fish po’boys.

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Always a great experienced to catch, clean, and cook. We have finally figured out how to catfish in America!

Engineer Landing

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I had been to the Chattahoochee River before unsuccessfully a few times, but this time was after Dan and I had discovered our nearly fool proof slow pitch jigging technique. The area we decided to head to is called Engineer landing. There is basically a dirt path wide enough for a car that leads to a small landing on the river. The bank is pretty muddy, but wide enough you can fish in a couple different spots. The view here was stunning, as is most fishing locations. Sadly, though a lot of trash and crap was left behind and strewn about. Kind of a bummer especially when you want to let your dog run around, but there’s broken glass everywhere.  Last time I went, I wore sandals and seriously regretted it… after also being covered in mud and bitten all over by sand flies.

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The Chattahoochee is split pretty much in half between Georgia and Alabama. We were on the Georgia side. We set up a few catfish rigs, consisting of long spin reels leaning on rod stands. For bait, we had dough and liver. The river is supposed to be a prime spot for getting large blue and channel cats so we were excited to see what we could pull up. Surprisingly, the area was fairly packed with other anglers as well. We could even seen some Alabama anglers across the way.

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That was once my cap, but it is now Dan’s official fishing hat. Not the best rodholders, just some cheap ones from the post exchange. While waiting, we picked up a couple of regular spin reels and casted out to see what we could grab. The “Hooch” (as some of the locals call it… supposedly) is also home to a couple types of bass including LMB, Smallies and stripers. In fact, it’s even been known to have a pike or two. We tested this out and ended up bringing in a fish on a rooster tail!

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Yup, just a dumb sun fish. Albeit, this one was a Green sunfish and was particularly radiant. So from research we learned that catfish love cutbait. We cut this little fella up on the back of my hatch only to reveal he had FOUR WORMS in his belly, the glutton! What a greedy little guy! Dan also had no problem leaving fish guts all over the back of my car…

Well, we recasted out our cat lines with the new bait, and saved the rest of it for a later date. At some point, I went into the backseat of my car to rummage for something and what do I find!? The freaking TAIL of the sunfish. So I’m like, “Dan why did you put the tail in my car!?” since it’s going to stink it up, I’m kinda irked… But he denied all culpability. Meaning there was ONLY ONE PRIME SUSPECT…

20170311_133049Yup, little Brookster for some reason grabbed the tail off the ground and put it in my car, since I left the door open. What a dork!

Unfortunately, outside of the one sunfish, we turned up empty this time around. But we will certainly be back to conquer “The Hooch”! Gotta do more homework and really look into what the big cats want to eat.

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Man, I love this dog…

Twilight Pond (Again)

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Now this was a great day of fishing. A bit after our initial success at Twilight Pond, Dan, Brook and I decided to make our return. We used nightcrawlers again and a similar method to the first time– a sort of modified slow-pitch jigging. Almost off the bat we were getting bites left and right.  I was fighting a bass for a while, when I finally hooked him. I reeled him in in a frenzy and DISASTER STRUCK. The fish got away, and it felt like a big one, too. When I brought my line out, the hook was nowhere to be found. Was it big enough to have broken the line? Well, it happened AGAIN! And as it turned out, my knot was coming undone. Let me admit that I’d been really lazy with my spin reel knot tying because I never expected to get anything huge. Like I said before, my luck had been pretty poor in Georgia. So instead of a figure eight with a bight, I’d been doing like 5 square knots in a row. I know, I know… really idiotic. So I go over to fix this problem, and in the mean time Dan steps in my spot.

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And comes out with a HOG! We didn’t have a scale, but it was around 18 inches long, so assuming 3-4lb. A great catch! I have to say though I was a little butthurt that I moved away for a second and he snagged my nemesis. I definitely get a little competitive with catching! Anyways, we were fishing for food today, so we knocked this bad boy out and put him in the cooler. I retook my spot and got another bite.

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To my surprise I pulled out this flathead! Had no idea there were even catfish in this pond since it had recently been drained. Threw him in with the LMB to add some catfish nuggets to our future meal. Our luck kept going at this point.

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Pulled out 3 more pigs! Really great day of fishing since we were only there a few hours! Here’s one in comparison to Brooky:

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She always likes to give the fish a little sniff and a lick. Anyways, we threw a couple back and kept 3 largemouths and the flathead to go. Cleaned all four fish, and got some nice filets out of them. We seasoned with salt and pepper, washed with egg, and bathed in a combination of breadcrumbs, salt/pepper/garlic and other fry seasonings. We pan fried the bass in filets and the flathead in nuggets.

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Came out amazing. There’s always something extremely satisfying about catching, cleaning and cooking your own protein. Overall, a really successful day for fishing.

Twilight Pond

20170212_160951Since moving to Georgia from Korea (after a stop in CT), I had horrible fishing luck. I’d tried numerous spots around the area with absolutely no luck. I bought more and more American style lures and tackle and NOTHING seemed to grab me anything other than sunfish! My first experience at Twilight came after my sister visited me down here.

Pulledthis doofy little blue gill. Sure was a cute one! At least this pond was absolutely beautiful and with the Southern sun shining down, I couldn’t keep myself from coming here again.

Fast forward a few months (YES, MONTHS! MONTHS WITHOUT A CATCH I WENT! SOME ANGLER I AM!) and Dan finally arrived from Korea! When Brook saw him, it was an incredible reunion. I talk about Brook briefly in our about section, but I promise a future post on her entire situation. Let’s just say she was really happy to see him again. And the feeling was mutual!

20170220_094701Of course the first thing Dan and I did was have to go fishing together again. And this time with our little companion. I brought him to Twilight and mourned my inability to catch anything since before he came. He then showed me a secret technique he learned while in California from an old man who took him under his wing (yes, again). I’ll post on that later, as well. But anyways, I changed baits from soft plastics to live nightcrawlers, changed up my presentation technique.

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And finally after long last, I caught my first Georgian bass! A little guy, but still. That definitely started a roll and I was able to bring in one more juvenile LMB

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This was the first time Brook has seen a fish! She gave it a couple sniffs, and a lick. I was ecstatic. This beautiful but desolate fishing spot all of the sudden became teeming with life. Surprisingly, Dan’s luck rubbed off on me and he didn’t end up pulling anything but shellcrackers.

I couldn’t be more excited to get back here with Dan! Unfortunately, I have work a lot while Dan’s here so we’ll hit it again next time when we can. But I am so grateful to have the opportunity to fish with him again. The duo is back! This time with our little sidekick, reunited with us!

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Gipiul Fishing

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Once again, we found ourselves in Pocheon at Gipiul Fishing, an oxbow lake on a tributary of the Gayung River. Dan went out ahead of me since he had the day off from work, and managed to have a fish steal one of our poles, causing a whole scene and an elderly man to have to boat around and locate the pole haha. But in the meantime, he caught a pretty big catfish. Once I got there I was surprised to see that the bungalow we had was not only floating, but didn’t have any road to get to it. So a worker took us out on a boat to get to it, which was pretty cool.

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This place was very nice. Much less spiders that previous places, and there was a little broom you could use to sweep off the area. Also, believe it or not there was a little bed inside! As well as a TV, and air conditioning. Talk about fishing in luxury. As usual, we fished off the front porch area with overhead coverage. Within the first hour of when I finally got there (around 7p), I made a pretty nice catch.

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Another nice thing was you could order dinner to be delivered via the boat, haha. So we ordered some nice Korean fishes and soju. I made another catch in that same hour of a medium sized korean carp (full suit of scales) and tossed it in with the catfish. Not much luck after that, so we wrapped it up around midnight and went to sleep completely comfortable on the bed. Here’s Dan looking like a goof as we enjoy our meal in our bungalow.

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Come morning, we check on our net and the carp was completely missing! Knowing very little about the behavior of this fish, and knowing that catfish tend to be predatory, we began to assume the two catfish had attacked and eaten the carp in the middle of the night.  Then… I went to go use the toilet, and find one dirty little carp covered in grime laying on the floor. Turns out, the common carp is a bit of a jumper. Luckily, we saved it in time that it was still alive. Unfortunately, we had no further action in the morning and decided to pack up.

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We cleaned the two cat fish and the carp and I was in for a little surprise. Being fairly new to cleaning fish, I had no idea what it would look like if the carp was pregnant and I certainly didn’t expect these bright orange balls. Dan managed to clean the catfish via a knock-out-hand-in-throat method… interesting experience, to say the least, but we were very pleased with our bounty.

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