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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. I routinely re-cycle old flies if they're patterns that get bit over and over again. After a thorough rinse in freshwater, and being allowed to dry, I carefully remove the areas that need to be re-tied (usually wings, collars, remnants of wire weedguards) with a single edge razor blade (buy them by the 100 so the moment a blade dulls it's discarded - I save my double edged blades for new deerhair work exclusively). Once I have the bug down to good components then it's quickly re-tied and back in the game. The last thing to do before re-tying an old fly is to re-sharpen the hook, sharper than new, with a file (I'll discard any hook that can't be properly re-sharpened - or any hook with rust, since weakened hooks just won't do in my world...). Yesterday I re-did eight Night Flies to build up my stock for night bookings on Friday and Saturday, this weekend. When I'm running continuously those long, long days leave very little time for tying each night - but a few minutes at the vice and I can re-cycle a half dozen bugs that were chewed up that day and will actually be fished the next day (particularly Clousers).
  2. Yes, the snook will eat them... this is the biggest snook we've ever taken on fly and the Night Fly did the trick.... Don't think this is a regular deal... I've never taken one that big myself (and I've been trying since the late seventies). Big snook are usually very, very careful not to eat flies... I've done them with bead chain eyes, lead eyes, even once or twice spun and clipped a deer hair slider head in front of the collar... but my favorite is the way you see it... By the way, the only reason the fly is white is so the angler can see it in relation to the fish (and speed up or slow down the stripping rate depending on what the fish is doing). Guys I've fished with over the years have gotten solid hits on every color imaginable (and on more than one occasion.. a completely different pattern than the one I like). Most nights we're underneath a bridge somewhere in the shadows, not anchored up (I'm just holding onto a piling with my angler next to me and we're facing up-current). The fish hold just inside the shadows in front of us and slowly patrol back and forth keeping an eye on the area that the street lights have illuminated. The shrimp coming on the tide rise as they approach the bridge lights and are usually right at the surface as they come into the shadows where the tarpon are waiting. It's quite a show (and might be the first thing I ever learned from a boat when I'd only been in Florida for less than six months -more than forty years ago...). Tarpon of every size at night seem to completely ignore our boat as long as the motor is off and we stay behind them. They'll come so close at times that you can reach out and touch one with the tip of a rod... We normally fish them with 8 or 9wt rods using old fly line (concrete pilings are really hard on fly lines at times). Most days I'm a long way from home down in the 'Glades, the night trips are only a winter through spring or summer deal and some years I'm not able to do very many night trips (fishing both days and nights you'll find they conflict so it entirely depends on who calls first..). This sort of stuff at night is a completely different world from the urban areas of Biscayne Bay during daytime. Many nights we see very few other boats passing by and only on weekend nights do things get hectic. All you need is that falling tide and a few shrimp trying to get out to the ocean...
  3. Time I started contributing a bit more.... the following pattern has been a staple for the night scene in Biscayne Bay for a number of years. It evolved in the early eighties when I had the luxury of doing quite a bit of night-time tarpon and snook fishing long before I came back to guiding. Many nights it's all we use, if the shrimp are moving. The best part about this step by step is that the same exact techniques form the basis of most of my Keys style tarpon flies... We'll start with the hook.. it's an Owner Aki 1/0, or 2/0 (we also use the old Mustad 7766 and the Tiemco 600sp). The thread is Danville's flat waxed in fl. yellow (for my own flies I use fl. red for 1/0 and fl. yellow for 2/0 - helps to tell them apart in low light conditions). The thread is started directly above the hook point. Next is a generous amount of bleached white calftail, tied in on top -then rolled around the shank to evenly distribute it on all sides. You'll note it's kept fairly short... The wings are strung neck hackle, three on a side (not on top) with the tips the same length, tied in place one side at a time. You can see that the thread is still directly above the hook point... (a quick note... as a commercial tyer I can't be trimming or working with materials after they're tied in place -takes too much time. As a result I've learned to make a single cut on materials so that they're the exact dimensions before being tied in place. For tail feathers I match three on a side, then hold both sides at one time and make a single cut - as a result they're perfectly symmetrical when tied in place. I don't strip any fibers away - the fibers and the feather stem together are tied into place....) The next step is to tie in a few strands of pearl Flashabou Accent (the fat pack), 6 to 10 strands, then pull the flash forward and cut it about 1" in front of the hook eye to get the length just right. Now we'll add the collar, it's three wide, webby strung saddles with as much of the "fluff" at the base of the feather left in place (if you look closely at every saddle hackle there's a place along the feather stem where the fibers are fluff but the stem is still thin enough to be wrapped -or palmered around the hook -that's where you'll make your cut). The saddles are mated, all three are held as a unit, and a single cut at the base of the feather is made, then just enough of the fibers are stripped away to make a tie-in point at the base of the saddles. They're then wound forward as a single unit, trying not to trap any of the fibers from each previous turn... The following photo shows the tie in before winding forward... The next photo shows the collar wound into place and caught by the thread. I've learned not to use scissors to cut the tip ends of saddles used to make collars.... instead I take two turns of thread, hold it tightly, then just snap each tip away one at a time. This keeps the collar in place with as little thread as possible.... The next step is to pull back the front of the collar fibers and form a small head with the tying thread to complete the pattern...then a quick whip finish by hand and you're ready for any finish to be applied. Here's a batch ready for finishing. For my own uses all I'll use is a tiny bit of super glue (use a Krazy Glue applicator like a paint brush and just barely wet the surface of the thread all around). Be careful with the glue -if any touches the feather it will be drawn up into the collar and stiffen it. For the shop, instead of the super glue the head will get a coat of a rodbuilder's finish, FlexCoat, and allowed to dry. FlexCoat provides a very high quality finish to any larger fly (far superior to anything you can do with epoxy...). This pattern is mostly used at fish we're looking at gliding back and forth in the shadows under bridges waiting for the tide to bring them lots of shrimp -or doing the same thing in one docklight or other. On a good night we've jumped as many as a dozen fish in the 20 to 40lb size on this bug. I'll have an angler aboard in a few nights doing just that with a bit of luck. Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  4. This past week it was mostly fly fishing and on Thursday and Friday I had visiting angler Jonathan Hey aboard. He was on his way down to Mexico from London and wanted his first trip to the Everglades.... As anyone on the water these recent weeks can confirm, our local weather hasn't been the greatest. Lots of wind, day after day, and water temps that are moderate for a day or two then quickly drop five or six degrees in just one night. It's enough to make the fish a bit confused.... and this guide as well. Using just one rod (a lovely Sage 9wt) we worked the interior in Whitewater and Oyster Bays the first day and Jonathan got a backcountry slam of trout, redfish, and snook. Here are the pics... All were caught and released on just one fly pattern, Whitewater Clouser (and it would be a great choice for any "one fly" tournament). Here's a closeup of the snook being released... It was our biggest fish that day, measuring just under 28".... The next day we ranged a bit farther from Flamingo, all the way north up into mostly freshwater areas. The snook, redfish, and trout weren't as big but we did catch and release all three species. To top off the day Jonathan caught and released three small tarpon for that once in a lifetime, grand slam (catch and release all four backcountry stars - trout, redfish, snook, and tarpon). Here's a pic of the first tarpon.... It nailed a small Crystal Schminnow way up inside a tiny creek where there was barely enough room to swing a rod.... Not bad for your first trip to the backcountry.... He's off now to hunt permit down in Mexico and I'm hoping to see him again. Tight lines, Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  5. Thanks for the questions.... I long ago gave up pouring lead products (one or two of the long time lure makers I've known died early.... don't know if the lead had anything at all to do with it, but I'm not taking chances.). I have a commercial outfit that does my heads, with the black nickel hooks I specify (and I get the hook size right, as well...). The ship to me by the 100, the 500, or the 1000 per size as needed and arrive as unpainted blanks in both barbed for plastic or Gulp tails, and in bucktail models ready to paint and tie.... The blanks are so well done that they don't need the slightest trimming or sanding. Some years ago I quit painting my jigheads, preferring instead to use powder coating. Each head is powder coated and when I have as many as wanted (up to about 100), they're hung in an oven and baked at 350 for 20 minutes to harden them. I used to go round and round working paint, etc out of hook eyes. I got smart a few years ago and bought a selection of very small drill bits just for clearing paint or powder coat out of hook eyes. I always use Danville's flat waxed nylon for all my bucktails, and all of the thread is treated with just enough super glue to slightly wet the surface. When it dries you end up with a jig will only lose its hair if the hair is chewed off.... and at times I struggle just to cut off old thread wraps to re-cycle a jig. As far as sidewinders go, I haven't had a request for one in years and years (which is very handy since I don't think my manufacterer even has a mold for them. As well as they work, I much prefer to catch spanish macks with a fly rod... Macks of every size are deadly on popping bugs with short tails and simple Clousers done on long shank Mustad 34011 hooks (and the hook shank acts as the leader -preventing most cutoffs) Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666.
  6. Since I'll do anything (almost) to make a buck (and I've rarely found them in stores), I've also been tying and using bucktails for just about forty years now. Here's a few pics Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666 Note: the skimmer jigs are for bonefish, permit, and any other fish foolish enough to bite in very, very shallow waters the "LBJ" is just a "little brown jig" much loved by guys who fish the backcountry of the 'Glades during winter
  7. Those nicely curled tip ends of every calftail.... After years and years of trying to find some use for them (and buying ten at a time in almost every color imaginable).... I've finally learned to value them for the solid thunk they make when you toss them in the round file.... Seriously, I buy calftails (oldtimers call them kiptail since they're actually a substitute for impala - long on the prohibited list) by the hundred (since almost every tarpon fly I produce has a kiptail spreader, and almost every bonefish fly has a kiptail wing). Almost every one of them, as Perchjerker's photo shows, comes with a very badly twisted tip end -and nothing I've ever done has worked to straighten them. As a result I use every last bit of the hair on any kiptail - but not the tip end. I just toss that portion and piok up a new tail...
  8. Like most I really can't say why one color works better than another (despite the fact that today I had a first time visitor to the Everglades get a backcountry slam on fly .... with just one fly pattern (yep, one of those darned fl. Chartreuse and white Clouser variations...). As far as really dark colors - all black, black/purple, red/black (commonly called Black Death in the tarpon community....) I do have an opinion -particularly in the dark stained waters of the Everglades.... Most of the fish we're targeting with these colors (with one notable exception) are tarpon which can just about always be found right on the bottom wherever they are (no matter what you see them doing -rolling, moving, etc.). As a result any fly worked near them is usually above where the fish is holding... I think it's as simple as the surface waters being much brighter than where the fish are holding so that any dark colored fly sticks out in silhouette against the surface and is just much, much more visible to the fish as a result.... The only other time I show a strong preference for a dark colored fly is for a small all black fly called a Blacklight Special... and we only use it when shallow waters of the interior are both quite cold and crystal clear. The Blacklight (#1 hook, black maribou tail over sparse bucktail with pearl crystal flash) sticks out like no other fly. I can see that fly as my anglers strip it -almost 100 feet away from my skiff (I'm up on the poling platform, roughly 15 feet behind my angler ). I'll post a pic of it. That small black fly draws strikes from everything that swims - but only when the water is cold and clear.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  9. If there is such a book I'm not aware of it... There is, however, a book written by Archie Best on commercial tying techniques. Ask for Production Tying by A.K. Best. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but it was very helpful to me as I worked to become a bit more organized with my own production work... Hope this helps. Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  10. if that critter were mine... it would get a bit of a haircut....
  11. I've done a bit of work with stinger hooks and the loop tied in to mount them. Can't report any great enthusiasm for the results.... I much prefer a single hook with an erratic retrieve to provoke a strike by large, short striking fish. The method I've used for the loop involves taking the two ends and running them through the hook eye and back along the shank before tying any of the pattern. The doubled wire, usually nylon coated wire in the 30 to 50lb size, is fixed in place with a triple wrap of thread - then super-glued in place. Once it dries then you tie the fly around the loop. With the wire loop you can mount a stinger of your choice, then bend the loop just enough to bring the stinger into alignment with the shank of the leading hook. Here's two pics of an 8 to 10" fly with loop and stinger in place. The last pic is of the Southern Deceiver, a full dress version of Lefty Kreh's classic pattern on a 4/0 extra strong hook (Owner Aki or Tiemco 600sp). I much prefer a large single hook fly to anything I've done with a stinger hook (using chum or teasing to provoke a big fish into taking the entire fly on its attack... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  12. Kirk, I do a fair amount of solo poling when I'm out exploring (exploring is my excuse when I can't tie one more fly or repair one more piece of gear, and the customrs are few and far between). Like everyone else, poling shallow, and seeing fish a lot closer than you'd like them to be -I struggled with handling pushpole, rod, and everything else. Here's the routine I came up with. On soft bottom when I spot a fish I immediately use the pointy end of the pole to stop the boat -then pick up the end of a short tether attached to the poling tower and secure the fork end. This does two things, it stops you as quickly as a Power Pole and frees up your hands to use a rod. If I'm fly fishing I have the fly rod laid out in the bow with line stripped out ready to do -all that's needed is to quietly get down, move to the bow (hopefully not losing sight of the fish...) and you're ready to go. If I'm using spin or plug gear I stay up on the platform and retrieve a rod already mounted up under one side of the platform (that rod sets up parallel to the deck with the tip pointed forward so that it doesn't get in the way of poling at all -yet is still reachable after you tie off your pushpole....). When I'm poling on hard bottom staking out with the pushpole just isn't possible. In those conditions I keep a small grapnel anchor tied in place on a short line at a rear corner of the skiff and simply slip it over the side after securing my pushpole (either the pole is secured to a holder up on top of the platform or brought down and put back into the clips after dropping the anchor.... Hope this helps. When all goes well the above routines look practiced and skilled - if it's one of those days when I'm fumbling around it looks like a crazy fire drill. And, of course, you need to see the fish far enough away to have the time to do that drill...
  13. Had a customer on my skiff a few weeks back that was set up with a Triangle Taper fly line and I was very impressed by it's performance in a variety of situations.... The areas that we fish are extremely hard on fly lines (mangrove shorelines and oyster bars with lots of submerged trees covered in barnacles and oysters...) so I tend to buy what's cheapest in a bass bug taper if possible but the performance of that line has me re-considering.... tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  14. Forgot to mention the Neon Bendback was originally designed as a pattern for trout, reds, and snook in murky water. That's just short of muddy water where I'd choose an all pink fly...
  15. The guys that I know who fish pomps with fly... invariably use extra short winged clousers with size medium or larger lead eyes. We're talking #1 or smaller hooks, wings of fl. chartreuse, or fl. pink (or an awful combination of those two colors) and like folks from Key West... you can argue all night over which one will be on top.... Seriously go to Florida Sportsman magazine and look up articles by Mike Connors - for a few years he was their fly department editor (and a skilled fly angler and guide). Any articles by him about pompano on fly are well worth reading. Here's a bug of my own that will work - but you really need to shorten the wing as much as possible.... The color pattern of this fly, the Neon Bendback is another color scheme that will work well on Clousers tied with medium and larger lead eyes for pomps... Once again keep the wing on any pompano fly as short as possible (I try to have no more than 1/8 to 1/4 of wing extending past the bend of the hook.... \ Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  16. Some of your allergic reactions may not be as great as you think.... The chemicals that some tails are treated with can also cause a problem. I came up with several solutions when my materials (both fur and feather...) begin to be a nuisance. The first and obvious item - take care to wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face. The second and uncomfortable route is a simple dust mask (the cheapies you buy at Home Depot or any hardware store). I also take one further precaution when I'm having trouble at the bench... I use a simple water sprayer to dampen the contents of the waste bag that all my trimmings go into so that they don't add to the problem ). I suspect my occasional problems stem from constant exposure when I'm at the bench hours at a time day after day filling orders. I do notice that they seem to disappear when I'm on the water working and my fly tying activities are greatly reduced. Hope this helps. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  17. The 'Glades are completely different than the Keys (thank heavens). Many days we hardly ever see another boat... the water is dark colored unless you're out on the coast (and the coast is a long way from anywhere...). Baby saws will strike anything that moves in front of them if you get their attention (but most hookups with flies are in the bill or rostrum since that's their attack mode (after a strike with the rostrum the fish moves on top of the target to pick it up). Big saws are a different proposition entirely. I just don't think we'll ever take one on fly unless it was snagged by accident (I've seen sawfish that were clearly in the 20 foot and larger size...). The biggest we've ever gotten on conventional gear appeared to be about 14 feet long at boatside -but with a big saw I'm a bit too busy to be able to do any measuring while trying to release one with no damage to my skiff (don't be fooled by the overall dimensions - a 14 footer includes the three foot long rostrum.... so you're actually dealing with the equivalent of an eight or nine foot long shark). Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  18. As usual please disregard everything but the fly fishing.... if you can. Been a long time since my last report (more than a month) but between bad weather and other interventions have finally managed to put together a few days on the water out of both Flamingo (mostly) and Everglades City. We've had our first cold fronts now, followed by very mild temperatures with lots of wind. The fish have been moving into the interior but there are still areas with lots and lots of bait along the coastline. At least half of my charters have resulted in backcountry slams (a trout, redfish, and snook for each angler in a day's fishing). Had two days where both anglers scored slams - on both conventional and fly gear. The fish we're finding aren't the monsters of September but they've been biting whenever we find them. Lots of fish movement now. One day they're holding in one area the next day they've moved. The recent surprise has been the number of small sawfish we're seeing each day in very shallow waters. These are babies in the three to five foot range and up so shallow that you can see them prowling in less than a foot of water. They may have disappeared everywhere else but there's lots of them in the 'Glades at both ends of the Park. All we've used these past two weeks were mostly small jigs with Gulp tails with spinning gear or just one pattern for fly anglers.... Here's a pic of the Whitewater Clouser (every night I'm re-tying a half dozen for the next day.....) Now I'll let the angler's pics tell the story.... This is Brad Barker's best snook, taken on a small jig and very light line. The baby sawfish above was only pulled up for just an instant for the picture. Their rostrum (that thing with the teeth on it) is actually soft and can be carefully held with only thumb and forefinger for the release (and yes, you let go if he starts swinging it....). Brad is a member of Sportsman of Broward, a prominent local fishing club. This is Pat McAndless another club member with a bit smaller snook taken in the same interior bay (where there wasn't a hint of saltwater). Each snook was carefully released to fight another day... The redfish and trout were also biting that day... The next day I had more local anglers, Charlie Jones and Dr. Charles Shenker aboard. The Doc got a slam and Charlie released a nice red, while both kept trout for the table. Here's a closeup of that redfish showing one of the small jigs that fish have found attractive recently... A day later and I was back on the water with skilled fly angler Tom Peterson out of Washington state. It was his first visit to Flamingo and we covered lots of ground each day. At the end of three days he had a slam on two days, his first reds, and we even had a few shots at some medium sized tarpon (30 to 70lbs).... Here's a pic or two. His biggest snook was the size of the first photo in this report (but we were using his camera instead of mine). Both snook and reds were gorging on pilchards at a creek mouth the last day we had. If the weather stays mild that may be something to look forward to... Here's our best fish from yesterday, a nice healthy trout taken on one of those Clousers... It was Steve Arthur's first time on board and I hope to see him again. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  19. All of the replies are valid but you may be going about this a bit backwards.... I've been tying commercialy for many years (but have cut back a bit in recent years to just one shop and a few guides...). I would never consider "tying flies to sell". Instead I take an order and fill it, keeping nothing in stock except for my own needs as a full time guide. I buy in bulk if at all possible (and from whatever source that has what I need). Hooks by the 1000 per size, feathers by the pound, deer or kiptails by the 100 if at all possible. Since I'm trying to generate an income I don't restrict myself to just fly tying - I also do bucktails jigs in quantity (but again, strictly to order). Hope this helps. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  20. One last tip for bonefish flies in the Bahamas... A while back I got dozens and dozen of bonefish bug orders for that area - and almost all of them specified either some bright pink or fl. orange as accents in each pattern... The only other item I'd get asked for was to have a few dozen "blind Charlies" in each order. The idea is that some days you just don't want any bead chain eyes on a pattern at all since they do make a bit of noise when the fly lands. I've heard of some guides in other areas taking the eyes off with a pair of nippers when the conditions warranted, hence the "blind Charlie". The shop I've been tying for the past ten years or so had an offshore source for many of their bonefish patterns so I haven't filled those kind of orders in a while... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  21. I'd be interested to know what fly you used for that great catch (I have one saltwater pattern that many use for pike but I don't know if it's taken any musky...). Here's a tip for the spinning side the next time you make that musky water.... try a product called Hogy (their 6 to 9" models) -it's a soft plastic eel type lure that you can rig with a single hook in the nose, we've had great success with it on tarpon (which come at it slowly and follow for a moment before taking - sometimes right at the boat just like a musky....). Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  22. For really tough terrain - I do use a doubled wire weedguard just like the commercial model shown - Tie in the fly just short of the hook eye about 1/8" from the eye... then add the weedguard (#4 wire is just right) to make the weedguard you have to first make a measuring tool (I use a toothpick)to measure the exact distance from the rear of the hook eye to where you want the wire loop to end then mark the toothpick at that point. Bend your wire to form the loop, then using a tiny pair of needle nosed pliers bend two tiny hooks into the other end of the wire (these will be the anchors that the thread will hold). Your measuring tool comes into play now since you need to know exactly how far in front of the hook that your wire loop needs - then tie it in place with the loop facing forward, complete your fly, superglue the thread, then do any finish you choose. Once everything is dry, then bend the loop into position and lastly use those needle nosed pliers to make a final bend in the loop (the "pocket" your hook point will sit in) and you're done. By the way, I don't want a doubled loop with too much spring in it so I bend it toward the hook shank until it's only 1/8" or so above the hook before being mounted on the hook point... just enough to do the weedless thing you're needing.... I do this regularly to rig single hook spoons (Barracuda spoons mostly) and it works like a charm. I've also done specialty tarpon flies for one tournament winning tarpon guide in this manner (until he got too famous to come see me....). By the way, that's one of the real benefits of saving master patterns of any order you tie up. I still have masters from the eighties carefully stored so the colors don't fade and they're ready to help me duplicate anything I've done in the past - no matter how long ago - if I still have that master.... I'll have to dig out those old tarpon bugs and take a picture or two.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  23. Thanks, have to give those a try...
  24. Lots and lots of different types of synthetic flashy stuff available these days. Here are the ones I use the most when filling orders for guides and shops (not necessarily in any order...). Flashabou Accent (the fat pack) in pearl will do for almost any purpose (and it won't curl up and die on you if things get hot the way ordinary Flashabou will). Original Flashabou (also in Pearl -although I do find some uses for gold, silver, pearlescent pink or chartreuse). The latest version of Flashaou, called Holographic Flashabou (in all the previously listed colors). Next, but rarely used for fly tying, is some stuff Wapsi lists as Holographic fly fiber (it usually comes in two colors -one on each side, I like the gold/silver). The stuff's a bit stiff for ordinary fly tying but it's killer for bucktail jigs.... I'll stop here since this only scratches the surface.. Here's a tip for anyone that uses more than a strand or two of flash in any application.... take half of the fibers you're wanting and as a bundle wrap them around the barrel of your bobbin (after you've already started tying and the thread is secured to the hook - wherever you're wanting to add flash...). From that position just slide the bundle from the bobbin onto the thread, then onto the fly and if you're able to stagger each end of the bundle as it doubles into place. The flash is permanently anchored and with ends staggered really shows well in the water....as you continue wrapping the thread into the next step.....
  25. That is a very, very good bug. What exactly is the head you've used? As far as a weedguard you might want to do something similar to what I do with real skimmer jigs, picture enclosed (it's simply a piece of #4 wire doubled and tied in with the two ends facing forward, then raised into position (folded back), bent and trimmed to form a 45 degree spread... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
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