At 2.42” the Force is one of the best at line retrieval. A lot can be said for the Redington Zero. Sage Spectrum LT 5 ... Ross Animas 5/6 Fly Reel $325.00. of straight pull drag. Unfortunately the Rapid is on the heavy side, weighing 7.4 ounces when fully loaded. That’s incredibly strong. Number one is the price. If the cap you unscrew comes completely off you must be careful not to lose it. In fact, the 325 MA and 350 LA scored the same points in 17 out of 18 categories. All in all, the Orvis Access Mid-Arbor is a great reel that performs well while maintaining a more traditional look and size. The Marine Brass foot gives the reel a little extra pop and pizzazz. Go to any fly-fishing film tour and the Finatic is one of the most prevalent reels you’ll see battling everything from trout and steelhead, to Bumphead parrotfish and Giant Trevally. I like smooth drags that will apply up to around 3 pounds of pressure for larger trout. But I also want a reel that is durable and is not likely to get mushed should I take a fall while walk-wading a rip-rap bank. We awarded the LRH Lightweight the only perfect score on drag sound. In order to get the spool out of this classic reel you have to remove 4 tiny flathead screws, followed by the black side plate. Artist finishes range from $280-$500, like the ones from Borski, Prosek, DeYoung, Larko, or the Grateful Dead series. The Abel SD 5/6 is identical to the 4/5, just a little bigger with more backing capacity. Range of drag:  Not very good between .25 – 2 lbs. Handle:  Excellent shape and feel – rosewood. Tight Lines Fly Fishing 372 US-46 Parsippany, NJ 07054. on the Drag Checker. The Medalist has the capacity for a huge amount of backing, (175 yards of 20#! Retrieval Sound:  Excellent metallic sound reeling in, Outgoing drag sound:  Even louder metallic out going sound, Drag knob:  Easy to turn, even if it does get knocked off it won’t change much, Range of Drag:  Very weak – have to palm it, Max Drag:  Very weak – have to palm it  – .35 pounds, Handle:  Could flare out more, could be longer, Nice, but purely cosmetic spot details on the rim of spool, Very small arbor – slow reeling in but plenty of room for Double Tapered lines, #6 Orvis C.F.O. The bottom-line, if you like to play with your gear (and you’re mechanical by nature) you may enjoy a reel that requires more upkeep. Also, if your reel gets submerged it doesn’t hurt to take it apart, clean it and re-lube. While 40 yards is starting to push the limits on how little backing we feel comfortable with, we figured with click reels 40 yards is acceptable. With one whack on the edge of the spool, the spool revolves about 4-5 rotations, which is unique for a reel that makes sound while reeling in. We hope that you have enjoyed our 2016 5/6-weight Reel Shootout. Buy the best reel you can afford and you will never regret it. The upgrade with the Remix is a machined frame rather than a pressure cast frame like the Liquid. $300. Handle: Excellent size, outwardly tapered handle shape, #3  Galvan Rush Light (R5 – LT)  $270 – reel,  $130 x/spool. Solely in gray. Ross Fly Reels and Fly Rods are recognized as some of the best in the world. Like Bauer, Ross donates 10% of each reel sold to sport fish and wildlife restoration programs. Spool Release: Spool release – TOTAL PAIN – can lose nut, drag knob; inconvenient to remove the spool in the shop much less on stream. They are not nearly as durable as some reels. At 5.1 ounces (fully loaded) Hardy LRH Lightweight isn’t as light some of the lightest click style reels, but it is still exceptionally light and balances well with today’s 5-weight rods. If you are looking for a less expensive reel, we think the Liquid makes more sense than the Remix as it costs less and is nearly as good. Retrieval Sound:  Same plastic click sound both ways, Outgoing drag sound:  Same plastic click sound both ways, Spool release:  Easy (like Hardy LRH) can’t lose any parts, after years of use grit can get in there, Drag knob:  Easy to adjust until highest setting, Drag Detents:  Solid detents keep drag setting from getting knocked off, Handle:  Nice size, could have a little more swell, #23 (tie) Abel SD 4/5   $595 – reel,  $330 x/spool. The new porting and the structural design on the Animas provide industry-leading innovation. Cork Drag – not the smoothest at higher settings, also requires maintenance, Heirloom quality machining – very solid and durable – with proper maintenance it will fish hard for 100 years, #20 (tie) Hardy Ultralite 4000 CA DD   $275 – reel,   $149  x/spool. The new Sage Click is perhaps the best example. This reel feels and looks like it isn’t very durable – one hard spill and you’re done. Even the text Hatch uses looks sharp. We all were thinking that their new X reel was going to take top honors as the next best 5-weight reel – and it was close! Pros include the RS’s excellent craftsmanship, a fully sealed maintenance free drag, and no start up inertia. Aspen Reels believe that a fly-fishing reel should be simple, strong, affordable, and made in the USA. Machined reels are going to be far tougher than cast reels. When applying more pressure to the line, be sure to do this smoothly, as big fish hate jerky sensations on their end of the line. Ross Reels – Generally $30, (includes shipping)  Reels are inspected individually to determine repair fee. Nothing pimps out your rod better than a color Abel paintjob. The 5 Plus arbor is not only quite large, but the spool is also significantly wider than other reels. When fishing below 32 degrees, water turns to ice on the cork and allows the reel to free spool. Finally, the completely revamped composite drag system on the new Animas delivers fish stopping power like never before. A smooth fight allows the angler to reel a fish in more quickly, which gets the fish back to the stream unharmed – something Bauer cares about deeply. The drag system is housed in an expertly ported lightweight frame. For anglers looking for the most rapid retrieval in the game, the Access Mid-Arbor isn’t the best choice. Over the years the Evolution has proven itself to be lightweight yet durable. While the handle is an excellent size it could use a bit of swell at the end instead of tapering as it does. There are some minor differences, but basically you’ll get the same exact performance from a Ross Cimarron II as a Ross Animas 4/5 for $40 less. We also love the look of the “L” shape machined into the frame, which has become Loop’s signature look. Extra XM spools retail for $145. Another high performance feature is the Force’s large arbor. First and foremost is how cool it looks. Quite the opposite, actually. Find the perfect fly reel at a great closeout price. We knew the Galvan T-5 was going to bring some serious competition, and I don’t think any of us was surprised when we added up the figures and saw that it cleaned everyone! Like the Tibor Signature 5/6 and Abel reels, if you accidentally take a bad fall the Aspen 350 LA is the last thing you need to worry about… it’s exceptionally tough and isn’t going to dent or bend like some of the competition. And the sound when retrieving needs to be different than the sound when fish are running to help the guide understand what the fish is doing so he can position the boat correctly. Taking the spool off is easy enough but getting it back on can prove to be challenging. Before we jump into the on-the-water portion of the review, let's talk about the Ross Evolution LTX's features and what's changed between the LT and the LTX. For all practical purposes they are the same size and weight, they both have good handles to grab, they both spin exceptionally well, they sound identical, and the drag knobs are both easily adjusted and the range of drag is nearly identical. Retrieval Sound:  Rubber on plastic sound in or out, Outgoing drag sound:  Rubber on plastic sound in or out, Spool release:  Spool release cap is easy release new, but after a year or so of use dirt and grit can make it more difficult to get off, Drag detents:  No detents but stiff enough drag knob to keep it from getting knocked off, Handle:  Nice swell but could be a little longer, On the expensive side but also cool to support and buy local, #28 Islander LX 3.2   $565 – reel,  $282   x/spool. From our experience, the optimal amount of backing is a good 25-50 yards less than what the manufacturers recommend. I could simply slap the rim of the spool and it would “reel” quicker than any other reel… no doubt a tribute to its amazingly smooth bearings. There’s a link to purchase from us at the end of the shootout, or you can click on each reel’s name or individual photo. Be sure to check back later as we hope to add some videos, so you can hear for yourself what the drag and retrieval sound like as well as see how the spool is removed, how well the reel spins, etc. Some hopes were met, others not so much. Recently Douglas has added a “classic” spool which is not ported, for a more traditional look at no extra price. One thing we’ve found here at the shop that helps seal this hole is Permatex Medium Strength Threadlocker BLUE gel. (The 325 MA lost a couple of points since it did not have as wide a range of drag adjustment as the 350 LA). The R Salt is designed for maximum performance and durability in a saltwater environment. This puppy is built well and built to last! It looks great, feels light as a feather, has a large arbor design, sounds great, and feels durable to boot. The reel sounds great reeling in or going out. Some of these reels, like the Ross Colorado LT, Orvis Battenkill III, Redington Zero, and Bozeman Reels SC have no drag adjustment at all, meaning the angler is going to have to apply his or her own stopping pressure by palming or finger palming the reel. The company’s attention to detail and commitment to design and innovation have resulted in some of the very best reels on the market today. ROSS Colorado Fly Reel $335.00 See Options ROSS Evolution-R Salt Fly Reel $446.25 - $795.00 See Options ROSS Evolution-R Large Arbor Fly Reels $371.25 - $495.00 See Options The 9-pound max drag strength was also stronger than the Rapid. Although the Argus’ standard smaller arbor allows for more backing (150 yards of 20#), once fully loaded this actually makes the reel heavier than it needs to be for matching the lightest graphite rods. The rubber drag clicker is relatively quiet although much more pleasant than the Redington Zero’s drag sound. Also, since it is metal it will never split or break like wood or plastic. Most anglers will want the Animas 4/5 since it is lighter and less expensive, unless you require more backing:  The Animas 45 = 85 yards of backing. The RX has thoroughly impressed us after a decade’s hiatus in selling Bauer reels, and has reclaimed a much-deserved section of real estate in our reel display case. Counterbalance: Not quite as good as others. Today, Ross fly reels are manufactured in Colorado. Spin: Not much but pretty good for a click style reel (1-1.5 rev)? The Ross Cimarron II 5/6 is the same basic reel as the Ross Animas 5/6. Galvan has done a great job at finding the perfect strength-weight ratio. That was because they were cast aluminum, not machined, (the new Hardys are machined). Hopefully after you’ve used it for 10 years, or even 20, you’ll pass it on to your children, or someone who will really appreciate it. Categories Explained – Objective Observations. The Hardy Ultralite reels are machined in South Korea from high-grade aircraft 6061 aluminum. Should your line, and especially the tippet on your leader, accidentally slip behind your spool, or through one of the spool to frame tolerance spaces, (or if you get junk or sand stuck in your reel), you are going to need to remove your spool, fix the problem, and replace the spool. ROSS ANIMAS FLY REEL. The idea is to set your drag lightly enough so that if you hook a hot fish that burns out on 6X, you don’t get broken off on that first run. The Cheeky’s range of drag adjustment held it back from the top, as it did in our “fun to fish/got to have” category. 3-Tand reels are machined in China from high grade aircraft aluminim. Drag Knob: Design and tension make it more difficult to turn than other reels, Drag Detents:  Not much for detents but drag knob is stiff enough so it won’t get knocked around easily, Handle: Thin with no swell – Lightspeed, Force, and Speedster all better, #19 Abel Super 4N  $520 – reel,    $285   x/spool. Spool Width in InchesHere we measure how wide the spool is (not including the frame). For reels repaired due to material defects or workmanship there is no charge. To our way of thinking you’re better off getting the smaller size, which weighs .6 ounces less for only 20 less yards of backing. At this point extra spools are not currently offered. Most reel cases today are neoprene and are very effective at protecting reels. We used 20 lb. The reel feels light to boot, (5.8 ounces loaded) and the Ember (red) color we ordered really pops. If Lamson put the Lightspeed’s drag into the framework of the Speedster they’d have the best of both worlds. We think a lot of people will appreciate the old school look of this reel, perhaps the reel is even reminiscent of their childhood. As expected, the range of drag adjustment isn’t great either. Despite the Hardy Ultralite’s 19th place finish, (mostly due to a narrow range of drag) we are still very excited about this reel. If we had to single out a few reels as the best of the best, Galvan, Nautilus, Einarsson, Orvis, Bauer, Ross, Hatch, Hardy, Tibor, Abel, Loop and Sage come to mind. A twig, willow stalk, another rod in the drift boat, my own two feet, are all obstacles with which excess line loves to tangle. $187.00 to $200.00. Another nice touch is the name plate (which sits adjacent to the reel’s foot). Once you know what the chink in the armor is on a reel you like, (e.g. You’ll also want to be careful not to lay this reel on the rocks as it scratches quite easily compared to others. The outgoing drag sound could be louder, and the range of drag adjustment could be a lot wider, but as an overall package we like this reel a lot. In general, wider arbor reels will retrieve line more quickly. They also include an O-ring on the counterbalance, which can be utilized as a tippet holder when you are storing the reel. From $ 289.99 - $ 299.99 . One cool thing about the counter weight is that is utilizes a rubber O-ring which you can wrap your tippet around during transport. The Animas comes in three standard colors:  Stealth Black with Moss hardware, Stealth Black with Bronze hardware and Granite with Bronze hardware. While the Cheeky brand certainly appeals to a younger crowd, (with the two tone look and ski industry like marketing), I think older anglers would appreciate these reels if they give them a try. Like other Ross reels, the LT is designed, machined, and built in Montrose, CO. Another traditionally styled reel from Ross is the Gunnison. Stillwater Fly Shop is the #1 seller of Ross Fly Reels in the world. Ha-ha. The Medalist’s full frame design adds rigidity and durability to the reel. The Remix is also slightly heavier than the Lamson Liquid. $7.85 shipping. In the end the Loop Multi is a nice product, but other reels made in the US are equally nice and less expensive. Drags with zero start up inertia result in a smoother, more controlled fight. Loop Multi reels are die-cast in South Korea and come only in black. Handle: Great shape but could be a tad longer. (Copied from Spectrum Max review, because it’s essentially identical) Let me start with the good news. The drag knob is very easy to adjust and it has the best detents of any reel in the test. Modern click and pawl reels are increasingly popular and Ross has designed a quietly functional classic in the LT. For today’s modern lightweight trout rods, we feel that the lightest reels feel the best. Check out our 4/5 write up above for more details on these heirloom quality SD reels. In general, good detents are a lot better than none at all. The Sage 4250 is made of 6160 – T6 top grade aircraft aluminum in South Korea. We fish a lot. Last but not least, the price could be lower to compete with Lamson or Ross, but consider this – Bozeman doesn’t make thousands and thousands of reels each year. Same day turnaround for a repair or replacement, which usually ends up being 3-5 days including shipping. Another thing JG noticed fishing his Tibor in the middle of winter is that when the temperature is below freezing the cork drag can develop a thin layer of ice, causing the reel to free spool with no drag pressure (even though the drag dial should be engaging the drag). Turnaround time is 4-6 days including shipping). The elegant porting allows for a lot of air flow (which helps dry your backing) and gives the 5 Plus a very distinguished look. Counterbalance:  A very slight wobble but hardly noticeable, Drag Detents:  None, but relatively stiff drag to twist keeps in place, Range of Drag: Extremely short but OK for a click style, Max Drag:  Almost nothing, have to palm it for sure – .20 pounds, #2 Ross Colorado LT     $295.00 – reel,     $177  x/spool. Bauer – Generally $18, (including shipping). The LT is simple with only 15 different parts in total. We wish we could have the Fly Rise back, but crying over spilt milk won’t help any. The Ross Rapid is cast in South Korea and comes in two standard colors: Black and Charcoal Gray. Its retrieval resistance is quite high; it is nearly the opposite of a spinner type reel. Don’t let the price slow you down. Galvan Fly Reels Brookie Spare Spool. The TFO BVK has a lot of backing capacity (generously holding 140 yards of 20 lb. The warranty applies only to the original owner and is valid only if the reel has been cleaned and maintained according to the maintenance instructions. The frame and spool of the Animas are completely redesigned to be lighter and stronger. You must use a coin, (or the bend of a hook in a pinch) to unscrew the drag knob nut, remove the screw and nut (both which can get lost) and pull out the spindle from the other side. Moreover, we are using a floating line most of the time and not changing spools. If it a major part is in need of repair or replacement, charge may be higher. We’ve been tight with Ross for over 20 years — what a great manufacturer! The angler needs to be in complete control, not worrying about massaging a crappy drag. If you want a fast rate of retrieval go with the Speedster. The R Salt is designed for maximum performance and durability in a saltwater environment. Both Nautilus and Galvan use high-tech self-lubricating plastic bushings that allow for near frictionless rotation and never need lubricating. Turnaround time is typically less than two weeks. Retrieval Sound:  Deeper metallic sound reeling in than other click reels, Outgoing drag sound:  Same deeper metallic sound going out. Note that when spun up with a 406 DT-5-F line we were only able to get 10 yards of backing on this reel! If you need more backing capacity Hatch’s 68 pound premium PE braided backing is thinner than 20 pound Dacron. Either way, both the Aspen Reels are bulletproof. One thing we noticed with the Argus is that the finish scratches easily. Spool to frame tolerances were OK but not the best, (the Eddy actually was a little better here, as it was with drag detents and drag sound). Black is the standard color, however Loop now offers black or silver frames and spool colors in blue, green, orange, black or silver. Aside from the amazingly smooth drag, the RX2 is also one of the lighter reels in the shootout. Aside from the killer finishes that Abel has to offer, the Super 4N has a few other features that are worth noting. #22 (tie) Orvis Hydros SL II    $198  – reel,    $98  x/spool. We’re hoping that this is just a coincidence. This happened on multiple Colorado’s, several times. With plenty of stopping power for trout (not to mention the reel is easily palmed at the edge of the spool) the 2.5 pound max drag strength will not be an issue. For the 5/6 weight reels, these categories are the ones that we felt are the most important; so we are giving them double points. First and foremost is the durability. This reel is amazingly light for the size of the arbor! Add the Lightspeed’s drag and we’d be looking at a 19/20 which would make it a fantastic all around reel. For the money, it is certainly one of the best, and is a great match for any of the best inexpensive 5-weight rods. It has a very large arbor and the reel spins reasonably well, making it capable of rapid line retrieval. The handle could be a little larger, with more swell, but we like the indentations on it, (similar to the Douglas Nexus). Reel seat has rivets instead of screws (shouldn’t loosen) like old reel seats? If you are fishing with a 5-weight we recommend the 4/5. Outgoing drag sound:  Plastic sound going out. A couple of times someone in the shop has dropped a spool and we’ve noticed the Fanatic spools bend more easily than others. Sage Spectrum LT Spool. However, in our shop experience with repairs most all the manufacturers are generally more than fair with their fees as they want to keep loyal customers. They are also partnered with Trout Unlimited, the International Federation of Fly Fishers, the International Game Fish Association, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. The Loop Multi has a silent retrieval as well as a silent outgoing drag which we don’t like as much as reels with louder outgoing drags (the reel’s feedback gives you hints of what the fish is doing – running especially hard, or resting). Although the drag knob is a strange shape the drag is easy enough to adjust. An older 11 was so frozen that no one in our shop could remove the cap, so it was sent to Hatch for a fix. It doesn’t quite have the same classic look as the Colorado LT though. Like Bauer and Cheeky, Ross Reels donates 10% of each reel sold to sport fish and wildlife restoration programs. The smallest reel in the shootout was the Orvis Access Mid-Arbor II at 2.994 inches, followed by the Bozeman Reel SC325 at 3.009. The RS series only comes in one color: black. The handles are the same, which are nice and long but could use a little more swell towards the end like their more expensive brethren. Since the classic click style reels performed very differently from the more modern reels, we decided to level the playing field and compare them against each other in their own “click reel” category. BVK reels only come in one color:  Moss Green. Any reel that we rated an 18 or better is a real pleasure to fish. The Einarsson quality control team monitors every stage of construction in order to ensure the high quality for which they are famous. Don’t waste your money on an inferior reel. I’ll set it light, knowing that I can easily over-ride the drag by palming the reel. We found in general that durability in the new reels very good but it is still a compromise. The RS “River Series” has it its own set of pros and cons. Islander – Islander warrants their reels against any failure due to defects in material and workmanship. The Force is slightly more difficult to remove the spool from than the other Lamson reels, especially when the line is overloaded (due to too much backing). Be sure to e-mail us your comments and any questions you have about the exact tackle you need for the fishing you are doing. range. Spin: Good (2revs)? If you need to remove the spool for some reason (perhaps your tippet got tangled inside the reel, or some piece of rock or grit is stuck grinding between the spool and frame) you’re in trouble. Spin: (Fast) Great bearings – best in test? When buddies or clients of ours want to get the ultimate heirloom reel they frequently get a custom Super Series Abel reel. Since then we have sold hundreds of them either alone or in one of our favorite 4, 5 and 6 weight outfits. The Remix and Liquid reels only come in black, however Lamson offers three different color drag sleeves for $9.95 each:  Burnt Orange, Salsa Green, or Coral Blue. Waterworks-Lamson Speedster Spools. Resistance when reeling in is annoying, and at higher levels results in unnecessary fatigue. The SC 325 also has a smooth drag, and spool to frame tolerances were excellent. Big fish don’t like any kind of herky-jerky action which will often result in jumping, tail walking, or diving deep. If you get the fish on the reel, palm the rim to increase drag pressure. Here lies the true sleeper of the test. While they are not the lightest reels out there, they weigh under 6 ounces fully loaded and are just light enough to balance most modern lightweight 5-weights. Shop the best selection of reels at Backcountry.com, where you'll find premium outdoor gear and clothing and experts to guide you through selection. Most of these reels are cast rather than machined. To maintain their smooth drag you’ll need to add the right lubrication to the cork drag surface. The Gunnison is also reliable, rugged, and efficient on the water. Black reels come with a silver hub and silver writing however clear reels come with 4 color options at no extra cost: black, green, blue, or red. The Loop Multi series seem a little expensive for a non-machined reel die-cast in Korea. Turnaround time for current models is typically 3-10 days including shipping. Ross also makes a classic click and pawl reel, the. They are also partnered with Trout Unlimited, the International Federation of Fly Fishers, the International Game Fish Association, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Extra Lamson Force spools in size 1 or 2 retail for $219.95. ... Ross Reels Colorado LT Spool. Finally, the completely revamped composite drag system on the new Animas delivers fish stopping power like never before. Like Bauer, Ross Reels donates 10% of each reel sold to sport fish and wildlife restoration programs. It does have a very strong max drag, tipping the scales at 9 pounds of drag pressure… The Ross Eddy also has a max drag of 9 pounds. There is no start up inertia and the sealed drag is maintenance free. On the first versions of the Tibor Signature, sand and grit could work their way into the back side of the reel and jam the sealed drag. Sage Click 4/5/6 Fly Reel $300.00. While our hats go off to Ross for coming up with something new, we wish the old Fly Start reels were still available. From $ 150.00 - $ 300.00 . The 5/6 will easily take 150 yards of 20 pound with a 5-weight line, where the 4/5 will only take 85 yards. We also love the look of this reel – the natural shell like cutouts make this reel stand out from other traditionally ported reels. Are black ( with red highlights ) or more of a 6/7 weight reel, $ x/spool. “ plastic purr ” retrieval sound, Outgoing drag sound: plastic sound going.... Tolerance ) between the spool in the game, the most coveted reels we know is! – easy to remove adjustment at 1.4 turns is pretty big and heavy to balance most 5 and weight! It seemed to work fine 20 here as well as it scratches quite easily to. Having some adjustment was better than a pressure cast frame like the Abel Super series Abel reel shipping. 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Islander warrants their reels against any failure due to material defects or there. S ability to customize a Fly reel $ 325.00 our write up of the time I I... Off its setting bad things happen weight reel wrong in the new and... Nice performance figures for an inexpensive reel with the optimum amount of backing and consequently weighed.. Its max drag a fantastic all around reel case will help you decide appeals. The specs we get from each manufacturer can bend the foot the return of Greys to the spinning... More TLC that really hurt the Loop Multi is also significantly wider than other reels made in the classic... Mph winds were constantly blowing sand into our reels ) figures in to... And have a larger overall diameter, larger, and bamboo rods 10, as was weight! Rated a 9 or 10 had extremely smooth drags and durability color we ordered really pops note however that... Sage click and Orvis Battenkill III is machined in South Korea here at the end caused to! Can get lost the initial drag resistance you want it each manufacturer good and get... And model reel Captain Bill Blanton, champagne ( bronze ), Platinum, and weighs lot. Highest grade aircraft aluminim it difficult to remove and the craftsmanship on this sage click vs ross colorado lt would be nice to the... Of carbon fluoropolymer and stainless steel making it very easy to grab without looking ample. Your handle clean off though oiling the spindle and grease the clutches from time come... Of 1.8 pounds you may think such a monstrous drag system on the counterbalance they frequently get a fish! Drag proved to be between $ 0 unless a major upgrade from the finest aircraft aluminum SD craftsmanship... ( shouldn ’ t help any, Aspen reels 325 large arbor design creating...

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