Posts Tagged With: chicken boy shrimp

Lone Star Kayak Series 2014 Event #2

2014 LSKS Event 2

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Yesterday was the 2nd event of the 2014 Lone Star Kayak series in Galveston, TX. One of my friends (Jared) and I decided to fish together since we had both planned on going to the same general area. I’ve fished this spot many times in the past and have always had good luck when the conditions are right. After checking tide charts, weather, and wind direction/speed all week long I had come to the conclusion that our little marsh we were heading to should hold some decent fish. Tides have been running about a foot higher than predicted for more than a week now which meant I would be choosing an area with really shallow shell and mud. This cut my list in half on places I had been considering. While some areas produce well on really low tides, this spot is without a doubt a high tide marsh. The small lakes we would be fishing consist of soft knee deep mud and a ton of shell. When tides are running as predicted the shell will sit 3-5 inches below the surface on a high tide and will be completely exposed on a low tide. On this particular day we were fishing during the peek of the high tide which was running about 8 inches higher than predicted. This put the shell a foot or more below the surface of the water allowing us to float over it along with giving the redfish access to cruise the top of it looking for food. Because of the depth and amount of shell our lure options were limited. I rigged my rods the night before with a popping cork, topwater, and soft plastic. I figured the popping cork would be used for the majority of the day with an occasional toss of the topwater. The soft plastic was available incase a pod or tailing red was spotted and something to sight cast with was needed. Other than that it would not be used for fear of hanging up on the shell.

My alarm went off at 3 am and I was one the road by 330. Jared and I met up at McDonalds and after grabbing a quick bite to eat we headed for the launch. We arrived around 5:30, unloaded the kayaks, and sat around for the next 20 minutes waiting for 6 am to arrive per tourney rules. At 6 am on the dot we pushed off and headed straight for the first lake I wanted to fish. The majority of the fish I’ve pulled from this spot have been 25+ inche fish so I was hoping they would be around today. photo 1-3After a 15 minute paddle we were in the first lake and started casting. Jared threw his popping cork around the drain leading into the lake and picked up a 19″ red within the first 5 minutes. I spotted a red crawling around a small island and reached for my rod with the Chicken Boy Shrimp (Red Shad). While trying to get within casting distance my kayak scraped some shell and sent that fish running. I threw my Midcoast Popping Cork (Evolution) around the area where I had seen the fish but didn’t seem to have any luck. I decided to move away from the drain and fish the shell covered lake I had come for. The water wasn’t quiet as high as I’d hoped and as a result my popping cork would hang up on mounds of shell that sat higher in the water column. After hanging up 5 times in 10 casts with no fish to show for my trouble I decided go with the topwater. I knew this would keep me from hanging up and would be a great way to cover some water. I started off throwing a MirrOlure She Pup in the woodpecker color (red head, white back, chrome belly). On my 3rd cast I had a nice little blow up that didn’t connect. Five casts later I had another that did connect and the fight was on. However, the fight was short and resulted in me reeling in my line without the lure. When getting ready the night before, the thought never crossed my mind that I should tie on a leader connecting my lure to my braid. This was mistake number one of the day and costs me what might have been a good fish. The break off occurred 5 seconds after hooking up so I never really got a good feel for the fish. My other mistake was not getting my rod tip high enough to help keep the line out of the shell. To make matters worse I think the fish swims by my kayak to laugh at me. You’ll see the big wake at the end of the short video below.

I was disappointed in my mistakes but quickly tied on another she pup (black back, chrome body, orange belly), this time using about a foot of fluorocarbon leader to help deal with the shell. I began fan casting the small lake once again working the lure very quickly since thats what they wanted and after a few missed blowups I had my second hookup of the day. I made sure to keep my rod tip high and even stood up in the kayak when I had the chance. I wanted to make sure this one had no chance at cutting me off. After a short fight I landed my first fish of the day that weighed in at 5.56 lbs measuring 24 1/4″.In the video below you’ll see the fish bite on the pause as I move the rod from right to left.

I had a fish on my Grind Terminal Tackle stringer early which is always a good feeling on tourney day. I continued to work the area the same as before but the fight with the previous fish must have spooked the others. After a while we decided to move on to the next lake.
This lake was similar to the first one which meant it was very small, full of shell, and had enough water covering it to allow us to barely move over the top without scraping. As we neared the lake traveling down a small channel I began seeing mud boils in front of my kayak. This was a definite sign we were spooking reds that had just been sitting in front of us. I drifted over to a small island and started fan casting the edge of the lake while Jared took a separate channelBroken Hooks 15 yards away that led into the same lake. On my first cast I had a good blowup that missed, 2nd cast produced the same thing, so did the 3rd and 4th casts which had me thinking smaller reds must be hitting my lure. On the 5th cast that theory was proven wrong. A nice upper slot red clobbered my lure and took off with it peeling off 15 yards of line before turning sideways. While it was running I was able to get out of my kayak and stand on the island I had been sitting next to in order to give me a higher platform to keep my line as far above the shell as possible. For the next 45 seconds the fish ran away from me pulling drag or moved side to side never allowing me to gain any line back. Jared watched from about 20 yards away as I was telling him how solid this fish was when all of a sudden my line goes limp. I reel in my lure and soon as it comes out of the water I see that two of the hooks on my front treble are missing.

After a few minutes of non stop cursing my lure I realized I was partially to blame. I switch out the majority of my hooks with VMC hooks for the added strength but had failed to do so on this lure. That was mistake number 3 on tournament day. I tied on my third topwater of the day sticking with the She Pup, this time going with hot pink with a chrome body. I seemed to be getting more blowups then Jared who was throwing a Rapala Skitterwalk so I didn’t want to change what was working. As I was tying on this lure Jared hooked up with a nice fish. He landed it as quickly as he could in hopes that he wouldn’t spook the other fish in the lake. His fish went close to 26″ which meant neither of us would show up to the weighin empty-handed. I finally retied my lure and five casts after the broken hook incident I started getting blowups again. I had three that didn’t connect so I decided to slow down my retrieve just a little and that was the ticket. I had just said to Jared, “I’m going to try a medium retrieve” and the fish hit as soon as the last word came out of my mouth. It ran straight towards me and I could barely reel in fast enough to keep up with it. When it got within five feet of my kayak it turned to run away but the fight was over by then. I landed the fish within a few seconds watching my lure fly out of its mouth just as I slid the net under it. That fish went 22 1/4 inch weighing in at 4.40 lbs. Neither fish was great but I had two for the weighin which takes a lot of pressure off anyone on tournament day. We worked the lake for another 30 minutes but the fish had left the area. We were finding good amounts of fish but the size of the lakes made it difficult to stay on them since a couple of hook ups would spook the rest. We decided to head to the first lake we had fished to see if they had returned after a short break. We covered the lake well but had no blowups or luck so we moved on to the third lake.

Creepin

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

This lake, which was the largest of the three and had the same features as the first two so we were hoping for similar results. We each chose a shoreline and started crab walking our kayaks parallel with the shoreline staying about 10 yards away from it. We had multiple blow ups while covering the area with no hookups.  Finally Jared caught his 2nd fish of the day which went 20 1/2 inches and gave him two fish for the weighin. We continued working the shoreline with more blow ups that just wouldn’t connect. I eventually hooked up with another red that again, cut me off on the shell after a 5 second fight. I was still using my fluorocarbon leader but somehow the fish was able to slide the braid part of my line across the shell and cut it above the leader. After a few minutes I spotted my lure which the fish shook free and paddled over to get it. I had already tied on my forth top water of the day so in the milk crate it went. The wind had kicked up a little by now so I went with the She Dog instead of the pup for a little more noise and splash. I missed another fish as I sat my rod down to secure my paddle which was about to fall off my kayak into the water. I had just made a cast and twitched the lure about 6 times when I sat down my rod to grab my paddle. Two seconds later I hear a huge splash and look up to see my lure missing and my rod being pulled over the side. I dropped my paddle and grabbed my rod and start reeling in only to find out he had already spit the lure. I connected on a another fish 15 minutes later that I never saw. Something had blown up on my lure and disappear under the water. I set the hook and began pulling the fish towards me. I could feel the tension of the fish on the end of the line but it never made any hard runs. As it neared my kayak it turned away and slowly peeled off 5-10 yards of line and began moving sideways again at a slow speed. It finally took off peeling another 10 yards of line from my reel before the hook came flying back at me. I was completely dumbfounded and all I could do was look at Jared and laugh because it was just one of those days. He suggested that it was probably a big flounder and after thinking about it he was probably right. I would have loved to have gotten a look at it because it was going to be a nice flounder if thats truly what it had been. We decided to head back to the truck and make it to the weighin early. It was hot, we had two fish, and it would be nice to arrive early and visit with everyone. We also wanted to make sure we got our fish there alive for two reasons. You get a 1/2 lb bonus for a live weighin, plus a raffle ticket for each fish released alive for a drawing later in the day for a Werner Paddle.

We headed for the weighin and arrived around 1:45 which put us there 15 minutes before the scales opened up. We talked with a few others that had just arrived and collected our captains bag full of some free gear from sponsors such as Yak Gear and Bass Assassin. We were 4th in line to weighin our fish with the eventual champion Joshua Majorka weighing his in 1st. Jared weighed his fish in before me and had 9.55 lbs including his 1/2 lb bonus. I weighed my fish next and to my surprise had 10.46 lbs with my 1/2 bonus. I didn’t expect to be in double digits with a 22 and 24 inch fish but both were decently plump. We spent the next two and half hours eating a Louis Bait Camp Burger and visiting with old and new friends. Before announcing the winners we always have several dozen drawings for all kinds of goodies provided by the growing list of sponsors. I had my number called at one point and received a nice little prize package that included a Dexter Knife, Plano Tackle Tray, MirrOlure She Dog, and Saltwater Assassin soft plastics and popping corks. My good luck at the weighin didn’t stop there. Aside from awarding the anglers with the heaviest stringers, the LSKS also gives away a prize package for the closets fish to 21″ without going over (Blackjack) and for the fish with the most spots. My 24″ fish had 9 spots so I won that prize package which included a one year membership to Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club, a koozie, T-shirt, and a Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer. I have been meaning to register with the Saltwater Boys Kayak Club for a while but never got around to it. They are a fishing club located in the Beaumont area and have lots of gatherings and members only tournaments about once a month. The koozie and T-shirt come with your $25 membership fee. If you are interested in joining up you can find more information on their Facebook Page.

I was 2 for 2 on prizes and didn’t think I could get any luckier. It turns out my luck hadn’t quiet run out just yet. The drawing for the Werner Paddle took place after the blackjack and spots prizes were awarded and it was for a really nice paddle. I don’t know how Jeff did it, but he brought out a Werner Paddles Bent Shaft Kalliste. This is one of Werner’s top low angle paddles that they produce. The bent shaft Kalliste weighs in at 27 oz, has full carbon blades, and retails for $475. As a Werner Paddles Pro Staffer, I have never even had the opportunity to use this paddle.

Kalliste

Jeff walked on stage and asked a young boy from the crowd to come up and draw a ticket from the box. As the young man read off the numbers I was shocked to hear him read off my number as the winner. Earlier in the day when Jeff had handed me the ticket I had already told him I wouldn’t even keep it if I won. I told him I would just give it to my friend Travis who runs the Corpus Christi Chapter of Heroes on the Water. I was pretty excited as I walked towards the stage because I was about to have the opportunity to donate an awesome paddle to a great organization. When I reached the stage I told Travis to come up and take the paddle from me because I knew he would be able to put it to good use.

If you don’t know, Heroes on the Water is a non profit organization that takes current soldiers and veterans from all branches of the military kayak fishing as a way to relax and help relieve stress. Its an amazing organization that I’ve had the opportunity to help with on occasion and hope to become more involved with in the future.  The video below is a short explanation about what they do.

I had already won three different prizes and knew I would be receiving another. It seemed like most anglers had a tough day of fishing because not that many fish were weighed in. As Dustin came to the stage to announce the winners I waited patiently to hear my name called. Jared placed 14th and I took 9th out of 79 anglers. My 9th place prize package included $110 along with a few other prizes. It was a really fun way to start off my summer which will consists of 72 days in a row of not working and lots of fishing. The next event is not until August which gives me plenty of time to pre fish. For some reason, the August event has been my toughest one over the last two years. I’m hoping to change that this year.

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

 

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Photo Credit: Jared Esley

 

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

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photo 2-3

 

 

 

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Spring/Summer 2013 Highlight Video


I know there’s still a month left in summer but I decided to go ahead and make my Spring/Summer highlight video for 2013. This year I won my first tournament, caught some amazing fish, and more importantly, had some fun times on the water, with new and old friends. Fall is around the corner so it should only get better from here. Enjoy the video and thanks for watching.




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4th of July Marsh Trip


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The wife and I decided we wanted to just hang out at the house and fry a little fish for the 4th this year instead of getting out and going somewhere. We didn’t have any fish in the freezer so Shawn and I decided to make a quick trip to Pierce this morning to pick up a few reds. We met at my house a little after 4:00 to try and beat the crowd on what I figured would be a busy day on the water. We launched just after 5:00 AM and made our way into the marsh in the dark. We arrived at our spot and didn’t have enough light so we posted up on a drain and cast into it for about 15 minutes. Shawn caught a 14 inch trout but that ended up being it. Once we had enough light we pushed a little further back and found a drain with some nice moving water and tons of baitfish scattering. We anchored up and worked the area but had trouble getting a bite with all the other bait present. I decided to move around a bit and Shawn stayed behind. The tides were running about 8 inches higher than predicted and the fish were pretty scattered. I made it to an area that had produced well for me on my last trip and could hear lots of bait being hit but couldn’t ever see anything. I quickly figured out that they were deep in the grass because of the higher tides. I stood up in my Cuda to get a better view and could see the reds working through the grass but couldn’t get my lure to come anywhere near touching the water without hanging up. I was about to move on to a different spot when one swam out of the grass within 5 feet of my yak. I dropped my chicken boy shrimp in his face and he jumped all over it. The fight was short since I only had about 5 feet of line out but it gave me a nice 23 inch red on the stringer. I worked the area a little more but all the fish stayed in the grass. I decides to go back and see if Shawn had any luck and found out he had finally coaxed a 21″ red into taking his lure which gave us two fish. We moved around a little more and I heard the familiar popping noise made by reds when they are podded up but couldn’t see anything. I stood up and saw that they were in the next lake over and just barely out of my casting range. I hopped out of the kayak onto the land separating the two lakes and got just close enough to deliver a cast a foot out in front of them. One twitch later I had my 2nd and last fish of the day that went 22 inches. By this time it was 9:30 and the incoming tide was dying off and the fish seemed like they were done feeding. We decided to head back to the truck and get off the water before it got too hot. Not a great day of fishing with the higher tides but we had a good time and caught plenty of fish to feed our two families.

On the way home I made a stop to pick a pack of the new Psycho Chicken Shad in color Texas Roach. These are some great looking shad baits and if they work half as well as the shrimp then I believe I may have found my new goto soft plastic baitfish imitation.


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Pods and Crawlers In Pierce


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Yesterday morning I loaded up the kayak and decided to make a trip to Pierce as soon as basketball camp ended at 3:00. I made it to Hitchcock around 4:00 and launched into some rougher than anticipated winds and headed for the marsh. With the wind blowing as hard as it was the water looked like chocolate milk so I decided to make a quick stop and change out my baits for darker colors. I tied a 1/4 oz Beastie Bugg (Knight’s Watch) on one rod and a 4″ Chicken Boy Shrimp (Speckled Trout) on the other and continued on my way. As soon as I entered the marsh I started scanning the area for birds and could see a lot of single seagulls here and there hovering over the water. I decided to make my way towards them to see if they were doing what I thought they were.  I came to the first bird to discover that he was following a small pod of lower slot reds in about 2 feet of water which made them difficult to spot. I threw the chicken boy a little in front of the bird and quickly landed a 21″ red. The pod scattered so I made my way to the next bird to find the same thing. I made a cast a few feet in front of the bird and again ended up with another 21″ redfish. I saw a few other single birds that were obviously over more pods about 50 yards off but wanted to go a little deeper in the marsh to look for some larger reds in skinnier water. It wasn’t long before I spotted my fist crawler of the day. I spent a good 5 minutes just watching this fish instead of trying to cast at it. I took a few pictures with my iPhone but only one picture came out decent looking.


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I finally decided to reach for my rod and must have made a little too much noise because it blew out and didn’t stop until it was a good 30 yards away. I kept moving around and spotted a few more crawlers. Most blew out when my lure hit the water and some I just watched until they went under and never surfaced again. I did manage to land one crawler on my Beastie Bugg in about 4 inches of water. There are few things that can compare to seeing an entire 26″ redfish slam your lure in water that skinny. After a solid fight with several strong runs I landed that fish, took a few pics, and sent it on it’s way.


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At this point I decided to start making my way back to the truck which took me through the lake that had the pods in it earlier. There birds were still hovering and the pods were still around so I decided to make a slight detour for one last fish. I took both rods and cast them into the middle of the pod and had a double hook up. I landed the first fish without much trouble and a minute later had the second one as well. They were both 21 inches just like the two earlier in the day to no surprise.


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It was nice to get back on the water after more than a 2 week absence. I ordered a new wide angle lens for my video camera the other day so it should be in soon. Hopefully over the next week or two I will be able to put together a video or two with some interesting footage.


muddy red



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Pierce Marsh One More Time (With My Sister)

Tammi Red


I made what will probably be my last trip to Pierce Marsh for a while and took my little sister along with me for her first fishing trip in a kayak.  We woke up at 4 am, threw the Cudas in the back of the truck, and headed down to Hitchcock.  We launched shortly after 5  am into some less than desirable winds and headed to an area that has been producing well over the past few weeks.  On our paddle out I spent some time discussing the different signs we would be looking for to find the fish and how she would need to cast at them once they were spotted.  We weren’t too far in when I spotted the first pod of the day roaming through the middle of a small lake.  I tried pointing out to her the slight ripple they were causing on the surface of the water but she was having trouble seeing it.  The pod was nearly by us by the time she spotted them so instead of letting them pass I took a shot at them and picked up a 23″ red on a Chicken Boy 4″ Shrimp (Morning Glory) on a 1/16th ounce jighead.  While I was reeling that fish in my sister hooked into her own red only to have it get off after a short fight.  We kept moving and saw about a dozen birds working a shoreline about a hundred yards off.  They were moving quick and we were having to paddle into the wind to catch up with them.  We wern’t  making much ground so I told her to step out of the kayak  and onto the shoreline they were moving down so that we could walk instead of paddle.  By the time we caught up with them we had run out of island and they were out of her casting range.  I threw into the middle of them and hooked a 21″ red on the same chicken boy.  After landing that fish we looked out in front of us to see a half a dozen groups of birds working over pods in one of the larger lakes.  We quickly made our way back to the kayaks and spent the rest of the day chasing the birds around.  My sister finally hooked into a nice 27 1/2″ red from under the birds using a Chicken Boy Thunder Tail Mullet (Chicken on a Chain) on a 1/16th ounce jighead.  We chased the birds around for another hour but she was having trouble getting her lure in front of the pods.  We decided to rest for a bit at a small drain and throw the popping corks with gulp for a while before heading back in.  I caught a 15″ flounder and that was it for the day.  The bite was good from about 6 to 8ish and then slowed down a bit.  We had a good time on the water and my sister says that she’s going to work on casting with a little more accuracy before we make our next trip.  We made it home in time to clean the fish and get ready for my wifes birthday party.  9 reds that I had caught over the past week and a half fed about 25 people along with some french fries, hush puppies, and mac and cheese.  LSKS event #2 is June 1st so its time to switch gears and start pre fishing for heavier fish.


3 reds and a flounder


Fish Fry


5-18-13 Tide Chart


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Return To Pierce Marsh 5-14-13

3 Reds 5-14-13

 

I took the day off of work to make a return trip to Pierce Marsh.  My wife’s birthday is this Saturday and we are still a little short on meat for the fish fry.  I checked the tides the night before and they couldn’t have been any better.  Low tide was going to bottom out around the same time the sun was coming up and then quickly rise a foot by noon.

 

Pierce Tides 5-14-13

 

The tide was a few inches higher than it was during last weeks trip which was fine by me because that meant I wouldn’t have to walk through mud again.  Once I entered the marsh I only had to paddle about 1/4 mile in before I saw small inch long baitfish scattering in every direction with small pods of reds and singles busting through them.  There were thousands of little baitfish in this small lake and getting a fish to take my lure turned out to be pretty difficult.  I finally threw a Chicken Boy Shrimp (Chicken on a Chain) in the middle of one of the pods and had my first fish at 23″.  There were about half a dozen other small pods  that just kept on moving by with no interest in my lure.  I decided to switch over to one of the new Beastie Buggs (New Penny) to try and better match the size of the baitfish and immediately caught an 18 inch red.  After catching that fish the rest of them seemed to keep on moving towards the bay.  I decided not to chase them and headed back to one of the spots that had produced for me the week before.  I arrived at one of the small drains to find the same activity on the shallow flats around it as I did in the front lake.  Thousands of tiny baitfish scattering with lots of singles running through the middle of them.  I had the same trouble here as I did at the front.  There were so many baitfish that my lure had a hard time competing for a bite.  I decided to focus on the deeper drain with a Midcoast Inticer Popping Cork rigged with a 1/16th ounce jig head and a Gulp Pogy (Cigar Minnow).  It took about 15 minutes but I finally caught a 25 1/2″ red and decided to move on to drain #2.  I arrived at the next drain and decided to stick with the popping cork.  After about three casts I noticed some birds hovering over the water about a two hundred yards off and decided to chase them down.  I caught a small 21″ red from under the birds on a Pearl White Gulp Shrimp and they scattered.  I had my limit and decided to start heading in.  I pulled over to one of the small islands and hopped out to put on some sun screen before I started the long paddle in.  As I was getting the sun screen out of the center hatch a heard popping noises in front of me and looked up to see another pod of reds about 15 yards out swimming by.  I quickly grabbed the closest rod to me and made a cast out in front of them.  I hooked up as soon as the gulp shrimp hit the water and upgraded the 21 to another 25 1/2″ fish.  I finished putting on my sun screen and headed home.  It was another fun day in the marsh.





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03-09-13 Freeport Trip

My friend Ricky and I decided to brave the winds today and get a little fishing in. It’s been more than 4 months since I’ve been able to get out on the water so despite the 30+ mph wind we decided to give it a shot.

We left Pearland around 5 am and headed for Freeport. The goal was to find a some protected areas and hide from the wind. We arrived at our spot a little early and had about 2 hours to kill before the incoming tide would start so we went to checkout a marsh that was nearby that I hadn’t fished before. Even on the low tide we were able to go pretty far into the marsh. We made note of where the deeper cuts and larger clumps of oyster were and started making our way back to our original spot. In about a month or two when the reds return to the marsh in full force we’ll make our way back and give this one a try as it looked pretty promising.

We made it back to our spot as the water started to flow in through our drain and the bite turned on. Over the next 2 hours we caught 12 reds between 14 and 18 inches, 1 that went 22 inches, and a 15 inch flounder. Not quiet the day we were hoping for but we were just glad to be on the water. We caught all fish in about 3 to 4 feet of water on Chicken Boy 4″ shrimp in a variety of colors and gulp shrimp in pearl and natural. We kept the two keepers for dinner.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to the fishing show to stock up.

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