The sport of fishing

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hynek001
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The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:58 am

While TV channel surfing on the weekend my youngest son came upon a channel that was broadcasting an Australian professional fishing tournament held in a Queensland fishery targeting Barramundi. The objective being to have the largest cumulative length of up to 5 fish brought to the boat. Artificial lures were being used exclusively. While viewing the program one of the participants mentioned that he was using 20 lb braid line. Presumably some form of trace was also used. There followed an interesting discussion between my son and I about the difference between professional fishing, amateur fishing, and sport fishing. I would be very interested in the current attitude and thinking of younger anglers to the following 5 questions.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:36 pm

While watching the professional Barramundi Sportfishing TV program, I did not observe very much sport during the fishing.

1. Is line class important to the sport of fishing ? In other words, does the fish weigh at least the same as the pre-tested breaking strain of the fishing line. If not, there is no merit in the capture for a professional.

2. Is permitting a fish to breath while fighting important to the sport of fishing ? In other words, what chance to breath and escape does a 10 lb Barramundi have with a 5 inch lure stuck in its throat. If little sporting chance, perhaps there should be a serious size limit to the lures used.

3. Is using only a single hook important to the sport of fishing ? In other words, what sporting chance does the fish have with two or three sets of treble hooks stuck in its throat. If little sporting chance, then perhaps there should be a limit to a single hook per line.

4. Is using a barbless hook important to the sport of fishing ? In other words, should the fish have a good opportunity to escape when it betters the sports fisherman by winning slack line.

5. When does a fish become worthy of a professional sport fisherman ? In other words, should a fish caught by professional sport fisherman be worthy of any merit unless it is at least 5 times the weight of the pre-tested breaking strain of the line.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Tagged » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:03 pm

The old man down the road always said to me "I caught a 6lb Bass in that creek". It was the heaviest Bass he'd ever caught and he had stories of Bass to 25 inches from that creek. The best Bass could be caught below the tree with a swing in it. Today thousands of drivers go past that creek every day on the highway at Gunalda. Private dams, small crops, cattle and a possible change in the climate have made sure the creek hasn't seen water for about 40 years, not in my life have I seen water there. But that was the way it was, and I see merit in your questions because that was the way it was done. But now there's no water in that creek and the way it's done isn't wrong, it's just different. And hopefully very enjoyable for all including the fish. I have a book of records somewhere here and there's a section for Dolphin, could you imagine doing that today.
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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Big_unit » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:38 pm

I can see some thought went into this topic.

Im sure this will create some strong healthy discussion - KEEP IT CLEAN LADIES & GENTS.

Cheers
James

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by chick_magnet_0001 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:51 pm

all good points in your opinion...
come down to a ABT bream comp for a wiegh in and listen to the missed fish stories you would see these fish have got the anglers worked out

not me.. i get 5 every time :lol: :lol:

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:14 pm

Dear chick_magnet_001, the questions do have a point, but they are more questions than points. Sometimes we fish for meat. Sometimes we fish for company. Sometimes we fish for solitude or even to enjoy the great outdoors. We may be fishing but that does not mean we are sport fishing. The notion of sport brings to mind an even contest where preparation, practice, skill and experience bear on the result. Sometimes this contest even can be life threatening for both parties. Now for professional sport fishing, that should be the most demanding contest and test of fishing skills, i.e., the very tops of the tree in terms of a contest. A more challenging contest could easily be constructed (there's those questions popping up their ugly head again) but does anyone care, particularly our youngers, and perhaps their mentors ?

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by steven bechly » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:37 pm

I certainly can see the merit in your questions and they are worth asking too. With relation to the barra, a bit of history could hopefully easy your mind a little. Impoundment barra fishing is a relatively new sport. In its humble and esky filling beginings, impoundment barra were relatively easy targets, and often treated (not intentionally..just lack of knowledge) in poor fashions. Nowdays (especially in the ABT and AFC scene) the information and education on correct handling methods have been exeptional. Knottless landing nets, wet brag mats, not skull dragging fish into the boat, not lifting by the mouth etc...have all increased the chances of survival, and given a certain amount of respect to this iconic fish that provides us all with great joy. Many AFC episodes also promote these excellent techniques...and from what I, and many regulars around the main barra dams have seen, attitudes towards filling eskies have changed and a steady progression to sustainable C&R techniques are being employed by pro and rec anglers alike. As for line classes, well braid is the common line these days, and to tell you the truth, unless you have tangled with one of these brutes in the timber...they control you for the majority of the fight!!...and if handled correctly, will swim away without dramas. I think barra are hardier than given credit for. As for trebbles down throats. I reckon I can count on one hand how many barra I have had that have been 'difficult' to get trebbles out of their face (general location for HB hookups)..and most single hook soft plastics (which are common used lures these days amongst the AFC pros) are relatively easy to remove.

As chickmagnet pointed out, these fish (barra, bass and particularly bream) are mere wised up than expected, so stealthy techniques are required. Most of the barra this year were caught on a 20 -30lb average line rating....much less than the weight of most of these fish.

Hope this give you a bit of an insight into some aspects

Cheers Steve

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:36 am

Dear Steven, thanks for the post and your sharing your thoughts. Watching the TV program made me want to go Barra fishing in those same waters but I am in Melbourne at the moment. I guess there are 2 matters that interested me. The first matter resulted from a recent trip to visit relatives who live on the Murray. We went fishing for Murray Perch near one of the locks. There were perhaps 20 youngsters fishing with their dads. Most of them were probably fishing with 20 lb fishing line or heavier. When they did get a bite they would rip their fish in just as quickly as possible. A few of the kids came around to learn what we were doing that allowed us to catch more fish. The only difference was we were fishing much lighter. We lost a lot of fish as well. That is the trade-off. You lose more fish, lose more tackle but catch a lot more fish and might have to spend 5 - 10 minutes fighting a fish during which time any number of things can happen where the fish escapes. The second related matter was watching the TV program and seeing professionals use equipment that, for me, reduced the contest to less than sporting for the fish, where the skill being demonstrated was in the hunt, lure selection, choice of location, casting, retrieving but not a lot of skill once the fish was hooked. That worried me because kids who watch these professionals on TV will think that is what sport fishing is about. As we all know there are tremendous skills that can be used once a fish is hooked. For example, how to better stay connected to a jumping and thrashing fish on a single hook. You dont need that skill when using trebles because they are more difficult for the fish to throw when jumping or thrashing. I am certain that those professional anglers are outstandingly skillfull and I thought it would be beneficial, especially for youngsters watching, to see real sport fishing skills and an even contest, rather than what was being shown. For example, I would really appreciate seeing those same professionals have selected tournaments where 5:1 is required for fish qualification, using pre-tested lines with a single barbless hook on a small lure. They would then be able to display all of their skills, in an even sporting contest. Such selected tournaments would then promote and encourage our young anglers to develop those same fishing skills.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by steven bechly » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:18 am

Totally agree with the kids skulling fish in off the bank. We used to do that out west with handlines on yellowbelly :lol:
Like you said, you definatley get more hookups using lighter gear, and the bustoffs too. Its a fine line, which does require more skill. I think you will really notice it when the bream episodes air on TV...they use 2lb stuff..anything more and there is no hookup pretty much.(the bream dudes here could better explain that side)
As for the barra, I do understand where your coming from with the restrictions you reccommend. Unfortunaltely (and the AFC show doesn't really show it as its an action packed cramming of fish hookups etc) but the hooking of barra isnt as easy as TV often makes it look!!! You can cast all day easilly without a touch, light gear or not. Then there is the hookup! Some days you can lose 5/5 hookups, or maybe stick 1 fish to the boat. As any of the ABT barra tour guys this year can confirm. There were some of the champion anglers losing 15 fish a session at Teemburra...and everone was having the same problem. This was the case at most lakes too. these fish are very skilled at throwing hooks...even with the skilled seasoned barra guys. The AFC probably doesnt show the whole fight, sometimes it can be drawn out..it concentrates on the 'action' aspects to make a good show, but I can assure you there is no way you can 'skull drag' a barra into the boat on the gear used by 99% of anglers fishing for barra thesedays. Every hookup requires skill, patience, pray and some luck to go the anglers way...the barra pretty much has control for 90% of most tustles. If you decrease the anglers chances further, its going to be difficult to make an episode at all. But I deffinatley see your point. I think the kids in the future of fishing are getting educated much better than when I was a kid..the 'fill the esky at all costs' attitude is slowly breeding out, and sustainable 'take a feed' and release seems to be the way nowdays. With that, and the advent of shows like AFC promoting sporting aspects (using lighter gear etc) I think the sport of fishing will evlove OK with the kids....well I hope it will.

Cheers Steve
Last edited by steven bechly on Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:19 am

Dear Steve, very good post. Thank you. Peter.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by clutter » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:41 pm

Just another point to keep in mind is that it may not be in the best intrest of the fish to be played about for ages on light line before getting to the net. If you are fishing a catch and release comp it may be better for the fish to be brought to the boat in a short time and released quickly rather than allowed to be totally spent and then released to die of over exertion. I think there may be a rule in some marlin comps that limit the time you can fight a fish for this reason.

Cheers, Mick

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:36 pm

Dear Mick,

Is it common for Barramundi to die during a fight on light line or even after a fight on light line ?

I have seen large marlin die during a fight on heavy line because they became tail wrapped. I have seen large yellowfin tuna pass-out during a fight on heavy line after making a high speed initial run of 500 metres. I have seen large marlin thrashing on the surface gagging on a metre long bait on heavy line which became 5-minute marlin so to speak. I have known game fishing committees to introduce time limits on fish so that competitions can be run more efficiently. I have seen game fishing skippers introduce time limits so that other fisherman on a charter can get a chance to catch some fish. I have seen game fishing skippers in Cairns give you one hour on a marlin because in their experience after that the marlin becomes a sitting target for the sharks. I have seen fresh water fish die because they were handled. I have seen fish die because the hooks have caught in and damaged the fish's gills. I cannot recall seeing a fish die because the angler is fishing line class.

Regards, Peter.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Big_unit » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:35 am

I wasnt going to enter in to this debate however I can see both sides of this topic. After spending a couple of days fishing for barra at Lake Monduran I was pretty disappointed to find several large barra ( some over the magic metre ) floating belly up around the dam. I counted eight dead barra in total, now Im not saying they all died due to poor fishing skills or inexperience either.

The most graphic death was a large metre plus barra which had a Halco lure jammed firmly in both top and bottom jaws, the lure had some fairly light braid tied on as leader.

On the other hand we caught three barra and all were released quickly, alive and healthy. To fight another day.

Cheers
James

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by clutter » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:24 pm

Peter,

I wouldn't have a clue if it's common with Barra as they are not exactly a target species of mine here in Brisbane but believe it or not but just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't happen despite your obvious vast fishing experience and knowledge. Ask around other fishing web sites or even try to google it. It's happened to me with other species so it does happen.

I usually fish light by the way, I was only trying to give another point of view so sorry it didn't fit in with your obvious one sided views.

Cheers, Mick

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by steven bechly » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:55 pm

James, thats pretty sad to see mate. 8 dead!....you probably remember the fish kills a few years back, I reckon we lost about 200 or so at Monduran (got off lightly compared to Awoonga and especially Lenthals)...since then I reckon I have seen the odd one every couple of trips, but not 8 or more...I wonder what happened?? obvoiusly 1 was a lure jammed bad, I wonder if the rain and inflow (minimal as it is) has something to do with it.??

Peter,

Its a tough one regarding do they live or die after long fights. I have had fish put up massive fights, unintentionally for long periods, and charge off on release (although I do try to get them back in ASAP)...I dont take photos of fish under 110cm just to keep the chances down of death...I have also had fish 'sluggish' after short fights too...I really think its up to the general health of each individual fish on the day.

Line class on impoundment barra is a bit hit and miss...it takes the same time to land them on 50lb braid as it does with 20lb due to the limitations of the rest of the gear ie drags, reels, trebbles/hooks etc....generally these are the weakest points that need 'forgiveness' during a fight and less on the braid. Thats just what I have noticed...I do take it a little easier on 20lb than 50lb...but not much...probably not enough to create excessive time delay and draw out a fight....of that makes sense :P

Cheers Steve

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by stuartb » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:08 am

G'Day Fellas,

I'm not into the Barra scene but I think what we do can be classed as a sport, as this seems to be the question Peter is asking.

First and most importantly it is a competition with teams, points, winners & losers. ( Sport )
Secondly to be sucessful requires skill, training and commitment ( Sport )
Thirdly, dedicated equipment is used ( Sport )
Additionally at times fitness levels may even be tested, injuries can be incurred like Repetitive Strain Injuries like Tennis Elbow are very common.

The Collins English dictionary states a sport as a "game, activity for pleasure, competition, exercise, enjoyment " - This seems to perfectly describe competition sport fishing to me !

As for sporting chance which Peter refers to. Nobody gives me a chance when I compete in any other sport. I dont see top Tennis players or any elite competitors wilfully handing out " Chances ".

The sporting chance that exists is that between the other competitiors and myself..... not the fish. The chance that line size, lure size etc will either increase or decrease my chances of beating my fellow competitors is the challenge at hand.

I too at times in the past felt a little challenged explaining to friends and family that this type of fishing is a sport. But at the end of the day, it is what you make it.... a competition, a sport performed by professionals for money.... A SPORT. Ah Sport ?

Just my thoughts.

Cheers

Stuart Bible.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Tagged » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:20 pm

Fishing is the officially the largest participation sport in the world.
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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:04 pm

Fishing is a form of hunting.

Should we compare sports between human beings, such as in a 100 metre sprint, with hunting where there is a quarry that may well result in the death of the hunted and maybe even the death of the hunter ?

Some forms of hunting may be sport, especially when they are conducted according to rules that are specifically designed to ensure a sporting chance for the quarry. For interest, I located a 1985 copy of Australian Game Fish Records And Rules, published by The Game Fishing Association Of Australia. There I found a quotation from the Rules of The Tuna Club Avalon, Catalina, USA. "The underlying spirit of angling is that the skill of the angler is pitted against the instinct and strength of the fish and that the latter is entitled to an even chance for his life."

It seems to me that professional fishing tournaments are a sport between the contestants where the contestants use equipment of such a weight and strength so that the quarry can be brought to capture as quickly as possible, measured, counted and then released so that the next fish can then the captured as quickly as possible, etc. No doubt in my mind that the Barramundi is a worthy quarry and it is recognized internationally as a game fish. I question the recognition of captures that are well below line class and the use of lures that restrict the quarry's ability to breath during the fight.

Also in that 1985 book are captures well in excess of line class. For example: -

1 kg line class - 5.25 kg Barramundi - Darwin, NT.
2 kg line class - 8.82 kg Barramundi - Mary River, NT.
4 kg line class - 19.00 kg Barramundi - East Alligator River, NT.
6 kg line class - 16.80 kg Barramundi - Peron Island, NT.
8 kg line class - 27.10 kg Barramundi - Point Stewart, NT.

Remembering that this thread is about professional fishing tournaments, my original question was asking whether younger anglers and their mentors see any merit when a professsional captures a fish that is less than line class, and whether methods should be used that give the fish a sporting chance.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by stuartb » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:53 pm

G'Day Fellas,

Gee Peter, some amazing figures. I am starting to really see where you are coming from.

Actually I think fishing is a form of hunting as well but also a sport where the fish has a real chance. When I go pig shooting ( hunting ) I basically sneak up on an unsuspecting boar and try to fill it's brains full of lead before it knows what even happened, very little if any chance, skill sure but not a huge amount of chance. However when I go bream fishing i use artificial lures and as light as lines as possible and try and trick the bream into taking the lure. The bream has a huge chance as it has the ultimate choice to take the lure or not, the skill is obviously to entice and trick the fish. The odd times I have caught Barra the fact that they were located on sunken timbers in shallow water meant that drags had to be locked up and standard size lines had to be used or those Barra would bust off and be left with a mouth full of jewellery and nobody really wants that. Why drag it out ? Why prolong the stress on the fish, why increase the chances of a fish busting off with a mount full of lure and maybe even meters of fishing line attached and the possibility of it starving to death. It's either a quick kill or quick catch and release in my book. Hunting, fishing, sport it's all relative and if you do it for money then it's professional.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers

Stuart Bible.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Tagged » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:01 pm

A professional in this case refers to a highly skilled person and expert in this field and I think it's a noun and not a verb. For this reason the professional wouldn't need to catch a fish to be regarded as a professional. For the capture to be a professional one and then make it a verb, it may be possible for one of the professionals to do a professional job but not compulsory.

Does the 1985 book include Dolphin ?
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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by hynek001 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:09 pm

Dear Tagged, the 1985 book does not show dolphin. They are not included in its list of recognised game fish.

Dear Stuart, I would like to focus on your comments, in pertinent part,

"The odd times I have caught Barra the fact that they were located on sunken timbers in shallow water meant that drags had to be locked up and standard size lines had to be used or those Barra would bust off and be left with a mouth full of jewellery and nobody really wants that. Why drag it out ? Why prolong the stress on the fish, why increase the chances of a fish busting off with a mount full of lure and maybe even meters of fishing line attached and the possibility of it starving to death. It's either a quick kill or quick catch and release in my book."

I agree that a quick catch is good, for many reasons.

Now regarding sunken timbers and being able to hold a Barramundi from surging back to cover and or busting off, this is an interesting fishing challenge and of course it is reasonable to use equipment that is fit for that purpose.

The question is how heavy that equipment needs to be when fishing for Barramundi.

Assuming that you use a lure fitted with quality trebles that are rated to fail above your line class, and assuming that you are using a leader and 100% knots to join, and assuming that you have a well tuned drag system that is capable of smoothly applying 100% breaking strain of the line, then what line class is necessary so that you can turn a big Barramundi and hold it from getting back to cover ?

I know from my experience that breaking 20 lb pre-test monofilament on a parabolic rod takes serious effort especially because monofilament can have 30% stretch. Even 12 lb pre-test monofilament on a parabolic rod has some serious stopping power. The modern braided lines have different characteristics because they are thinner and often have less than 10% stretch. Maybe modern braided lines are much less resistant to a big fish turning and heading back to cover because of their lack of stretch. For a short while I did try using modern braided lines when big game fishing. We missed many big game fish at first strike because the hooks were being ripped out of and even through their mouths. We quickly realised that a minimum 50 metres - 100 metres monofilament top-shot was needed because the stretch helped to buffer the impact when a high speed fish was hitting our lures / baits. Soon after stopped using the modern braided lines even as backing. I just did not feel comfortable fishing stand up in a moving boat and being so up close and personal with a band saw.

Perhaps the promotion of modern braided lines together with the use of fast action graphite fishing rods has required an increase in line class used by Barramundi fisherman because they have such little stretch.

It would be interesting to see the professional touranment fisherman go back to say an ANDE pre-tested monofilament using a suitable parabolic rod to see whether they could very well drop down several line classes and still have plenty of stopping power for those 1-metre long Barramundi.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by stuartb » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:48 pm

Yeh mate, that would be interesting and I reckon you would be right.
I guess the only real constant is change. (annon)
Catch you out there some time. Thinking about heading out to the 36's 2 morro so I better get organised. I'm hoping to break in my new Sealines on a Dolphin ...(only kidding...Dolphin fish maybe)
All the best.
Cheers Stu.

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Big_unit » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:26 am

steven bechly wrote:James, thats pretty sad to see mate. 8 dead!....you probably remember the fish kills a few years back, I reckon we lost about 200 or so at Monduran (got off lightly compared to Awoonga and especially Lenthals)...since then I reckon I have seen the odd one every couple of trips, but not 8 or more...I wonder what happened?? obvoiusly 1 was a lure jammed bad, I wonder if the rain and inflow (minimal as it is) has something to do with it.??

Cheers Steve

Gday Steve,

Fish kills of 2007, what a horrible memory that is !!! Lenthalls is only really showing signs of proper recovery now, hats off to the FCFSA.

Awoonga well I dont know, maybe someone else is better qualified to comment on how things are doing further north ?

In my opinion there are a number of logical explainations for a small number of dead fish at Monduran -
1. Water temps got too high.
2. Water quality ( dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphorous, chemical contamination ) was poor due to inflows and etc.
3. Poor angling skills.
4. Possibly disease played a part but thats highly unlikely.
5. Predation or bullying.
6. OR a combination of some of the above factors.

There are other factors I could name but are extremely unlikely to have had even a minor impact on the outcome.

Cheers
James

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Re: The sport of fishing

Post by Tagged » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:24 pm

Yes, I found a Barra and Lenthals a few years back with a Catfish or Jew stuck in it's mouth. The dorsal spine was sticking through the roof of the Barra's mouth.
As for temps, I was at Lenthals on Sunday and the north arm was 26.1 degrees and the middle arm was 31.8 degrees, strong easterlies blowing.
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