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Grouper Season In Florida

author
Maria Garcia
• Wednesday, 14 October, 2020
• 27 min read

The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.

grouper season pluses its florida keys fishing minuses fish snowy reel
(Source: keysweekly.com)

Contents

The Gulf covers most of Florida ’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula. This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters.

For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from. For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31.

Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf. It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers.

You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant. Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing.

Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations. From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition.

gag grouper fishing gulf season waters federal state mexico open recreational map regulations saltwater ocala june most across soon opens
(Source: www.ocalapost.com)

The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line. East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Black Grouper season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area).

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.

Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.

Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.

Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

grouper gag season fishing gulf florida coast fwc recreational open counties harvest april chronicleonline
(Source: content.govdelivery.com)

Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.

Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

Anglers love groupers for two main reasons: They’re tough, strong fighters, and they’re delicious to eat. © Provided by Sport Fishing Now is the prime time to catch big black groupers in South Florida.

© Jim Hendricks Now is the prime time to catch big black groupers in South Florida. That closure, which runs through April 30 in Atlantic waters, started in 2010 to allow the populations of black, gag and red groupers to increase in number and in size, as well as to protect the fish during their spawning seasons.

gag grouper season gulf open florida region county remain state
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

© Provided by Sport Fishing Generally smaller than blacks and gags, red grouper need only be 20 inches to qualify as legal in Florida ’s Atlantic waters. Most anglers prefer to live-bait around coral reefs and wrecks, either anchoring up current, drifting or trolling their baits.

“With that being said, especially from now until December, if you caught live ballyhoo and slow-trolled them in 15 to 50 feet of water, wherever you find a reef edge, they’re very, very effective.” © Scott Sayers Generally smaller than blacks and gags, red grouper need only be 20 inches to qualify as legal in Florida ’s Atlantic waters.

“You’re trolling those little lures around all the wrecks out to 200 feet, and at some point you’ll catch baby bonitos,” he says. “As soon as you catch a baby bonito, you hook it through the upper lip and you drop it down on the upstream side of the wreck.

© Provided by Sport Fishing Pinkish make one of the most consistently productive baits for groupers. Once you hook a keeper grouper, the fish typically swims right back into the wreck or reef where it was sheltering.

Having the proper tackle makes the difference between losing the fish and pulling it away from its home, Smith says. “If you’re truly targeting big groupers, you’re better off with real heavy monofilament and the craziest, tightest drag you can imagine fishing,” he says.

gag season grouper florida last happy spearfishing comments
(Source: www.reddit.com)

© Steve Waters A single-hook ballyhoo rigged behind a Sea Witch beneath a planer tops the list of trolling baits for Capt. © Provided by Sport Fishing A single-hook ballyhoo rigged behind a Sea Witch beneath a planer tops the list of trolling baits for Capt.

Buddy Carey of the famed Pier 5 charter fleet in Miami perfected trolling for grouper more than 50 years ago. Smith trolls a Sea Witch with a ballyhoo rigged on a 7/0 triple-strength 3417 Mustard J hook at the end of a 100-foot length of 100-pound monofilament leader connected to a planer.

He uses a Penn International 50 spooled with 65-pound braided line to fish along coral reefs in 50 feet of water or shallower. “The groupers, on occasion, come up and hit it on top of the water, but basically you want the bait about 10 feet off the bottom,” he says.

In addition to trolling reefs, Smith works the edges of the ship channels at Port Everglades, Lake Worth, and Fort Pierce inlets as well as Government Cut. Sanding the top of the lure and painting it yellow makes it even more effective, he says, because black groupers eat yellowtail snapper.

This big gag was caught on a recent 39-hour trip aboard a party boat out of Hubbard’s Marina. The gag grouper recreational season in Gulf state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open for harvest Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

grouper gulf florida season fl patch pinellas beaches
(Source: patch.com)

Sight casting opportunities for trout, redfish and black drum are tricky. Conditions through the next few days suggest this technique will work the best early in the morning before the winds come up.

Black drum are taking natural and cut baits near the canal and deeper channels. The most important part of grouper fishing is getting those first few cranks on the reel when the strike comes to keep it out of its hole.

The pompano run may well be in the rearview mirror, but there is still plenty of fun to be had at the beach. Big jacks up to 30 pounds can be caught by surf casters heaving large top water plugs and spoons.

Fish in the 2-3-pound range are lying in ambush anywhere seagrass can be found, sitting on the end of points around mangrove shorelines and even along seawalls where shook, jacks and flounder can also be caught. At first light, toss hard top water plugs like Mirrors, Papal Skitter walks or X-Raps.

The reef just off the North Jetty at Sebastian Inlet State Park where the shook always stage has been a good place to catch and release an overshot. Fish inside the inlet along the shorelines for a better chance at a slot sizes nook.

grouper season opens
(Source: keysweekly.com)

© CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JON Lula Mike Long and daughter Sierra caught and released several big black drum from the Mosquito Lagoon while fishing with Capt. Seasonal reminder: Remember, shook season is closed to harvest along Florida's Atlantic Coast until Feb. 1 2021; spotted sea trout is closed to harvest until Dec. 31; shallow water grouper season will close Jan. 1 until April 30, 2021; and new flounder rules will go into effect March 1 creating a fall harvest closure from Oct. 15 through Nov 30.

He is using live shrimp or cut mullet to catch the drum, fishing near channel edges and drop-offs. Terry Wilda of Big Easy charters out of Capt Hiram's Resort and Marina in Sebastian said the fishing on the reefs this week was wonderful.

His anglers caught king fish, trigger fish and mangrove snapper in 70-90 feet of water. Melbourne Beach has been a good place to get bites from pompano, whiting and croaked during the last half of the incoming tide.

Spoons fished here will catch Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks and blue runners, too. Bluefish, lady fish, jacks, blue runners and Spanish mackerel are being caught on spoons and jigs.

Pompano are along the beaches on both sides of the inlet taking Fish bites or sand fleas. Inside the inlet, flounder can be caught on sliding sinker rigs with live mud minnows or shrimp.

grouper seasons coastalanglermag
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

Then, as the temperature climbs above 72 degrees in the water, their feeding response turns back on again. Trout and redfish will be on the flats during the middle parts of the day as the fish warm up.

Cast into holes or channels and cuts to find fish which are seeking more stable water temperatures on cool days. Crappie action is pretty good in most other lakes and in parts of the St. Johns River and canals.

The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate. Forum contains unread posts Bluegill fishing is picking up in area ponds, lakes and parts of the St. Johns River.

From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition. Keep as much as you think you can use, or bring it to one of our many harbor-front restaurants that will cook your catch, including Brother's Seafood & Steamer.

Jacks and lady fish are roaming the lagoon in schools for fast action on light fishing tackle. The gag grouper recreational season in Gulf state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open for harvest Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

grouper gulf florida season patch
(Source: patch.com)

Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy. Can't wait for June.... a few of my 2019 GrouperSeason, These were caught about 15 Miles west of Tarpon Springs/Anecdote area using 25' and 30' Stretches.

View the recently listed properties, including Gulf-front condos and vacation homes in Destiny, Florida. The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline.

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Big jacks up to 30 pounds can be caught by surf casters heaving large top water plugs and spoons. All Rights Reserved, Entering your valid email address signifies you wish to receive our newsletter and have read the.

Fish inside the inlet along the shorelines for a better chance at a slot sizes nook. License & permit information, season dates, size & creel limits and more.

grouper gag florida season fishing gulf certain open species catching counties mexico saltwater anglers enjoy each popular most
(Source: www.grandviewoutdoors.com)

That’s how many days the FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) has approved for the Red Snapper Season for 2020. Local fisherman and Newman-Dailey real estate agent, Colin Kirkwood, shares his knowledge and recommendations for sustainable fishing in Destiny, Florida : “If you’re heading to Destiny, Florida to fish this year, here is what you’ll want to consider.

License & permit information, season dates, size & creel limits and more. Gag grouper up to 30 pounds prefer the deep water reefs and ledges.

The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities. Other catches will include huge amber jacks so be sure to have those back muscles in good shape.

It's time to break out the bottom fishing gear and try to tag a gag grouper, or red. A balancing act between conservation and fishing enthusiasts working hard the past several years has resulted in a healthy fishery, allowing for this many days, the longest season in recent history.

This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters. There are several species that you’ll find both close to and away from the shores, including hammerhead, make and blacktop.

keys spearfishing florida grouper
(Source: www.youtube.com)

At first light, toss hard top water plugs like Mirrors, Papal Skitter walks or X-Raps. Start off with top water lures for those early ambush strikes then switch to soft-sided jigs and jerk baits.

Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations. The reef just off the North Jetty at Sebastian Inlet State Park where the shook always stage has been a good place to catch and release an overshot.

Now is the time to book your Grouper fishing charter, the season is just a few short weeks away and you’ll want to be sure to get in on the action! Inshore: Trout fishing has been pretty steady on the flats around Vero Beach, south of Wabash Causeway and around the spoil islands near Sebastian.

That hard bottom out of tarpon is LOADED with gags tho I've fished that area quite a bit! The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate.

Forum contains unread posts Bluegill fishing is picking up in area ponds, lakes and parts of the St. Johns River. From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition.

grouper goliath florida endangered fish groupers scuba critically killing protect fishing mission diving underwater sea monster stearns walt
(Source: mission-blue.org)

Keep as much as you think you can use, or bring it to one of our many harbor-front restaurants that will cook your catch, including Brother's Seafood & Steamer. Jacks and lady fish are roaming the lagoon in schools for fast action on light fishing tackle.

The gag grouper recreational season in Gulf state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open for harvest Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.

Can't wait for June.... a few of my 2019 GrouperSeason, These were caught about 15 Miles west of Tarpon Springs/Anecdote area using 25' and 30' Stretches. View the recently listed properties, including Gulf-front condos and vacation homes in Destiny, Florida.

The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline. The 2020 Gulf Recreational Red Snapper season started June 11th and ends July 25th.

A nice big grouper to start this page off the right way! Grouper are often targeted because their flesh has an amazing texture and consistency that people love on sandwiches, blackened on a plate, or in a salad.

grouper gulf gag season waters recreational state
(Source: wnwpressrelease.wordpress.com)

If you haven’t had a grouper sandwich, you’re missing one of life’s true pleasures. Grouper are heavy and strong fish that immediately try to wrap your line around structure or sharp stuff, so they’re fun to catch because you’ll need to use all your strength to get a big one up to the boat or pier.

Most anglers don’t realize it, but there are actually 17 different species of Grouper swimming in the waters of Florida. And stay at the bottom (3 to 230 feet deep) eating crustaceans and smaller fish.

Coney Grouper have color variations including hues of red, brown, and yellow. Body with many small blue spots unless in bright yellow phase coloration.

Identification isn’t difficult when the Goliath Grouper is mature at 400 to 800 lbs. Goliath Grouper Identifying Features Can grow to 8 feet in length and over 800 lbs.

Grays by Groupers are best identified with series of spots below dorsal fin. Operate with 3 flat spines (by anus) 4 dark or white spots at base of dorsal fin.

grouper florida fishing season today report
(Source: www.floridatoday.com)

Strict regulations are in place to attempt to bring back a healthy Florida population of these fish. This grouper eats fish, crabs, and squid and can grow to around 5 feet in length and over 200 lbs.

Misty Grouper Identifying Features Easily recognizable by 8-11 dark bands, similar to Sleepyhead fish. These Red Grouper spawn more than twenty times between February and June each year.

Red grouper are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything smaller including crabs, shrimp, fish, octopus, and squid. Red Grouper are common and great fun to eat.

Rock Hind Grouper Identifying Features Coloration varies, but overall tan color with large oval/circular spots of reddish brown, red, and dark gray and black that get larger toward the ventral side (belly). Scamp grouper have almost decorative fins, which can make them easy to identify.

Scamp Grouper Identifying Features Scamp Grouper have a brown or reddish body, sometimes it is light gray Lateral (sides) are covered with dark spots, sometimes in small groups. Upper and lower caudal fin rays are long in a spot, giving appearance of an oriental style fish.

grouper gulf season recreational florida mexico closing closed at12 harvest local close
(Source: www.floridasportsman.com)

These Grouper reach 4 feet in length and yet the maximum recorded weight for one is only less than 70 lbs. Sub-adults are dark brown and have white spots in vertical rows on head and body.

These are beautiful fish to see in real life, the illustration isn’t bad either. Yellow fin Grouper Identifying Features The outer one-third of the pectoral fins are bright yellow.

IUCN Realist Status: The Goliath Grouper is listed as Vulnerable and populations declining. Other Grouper species in Florida State waters are plentiful and not in danger of being overfished.

Appearance: Grouper have a thicker body than some other fish with respect to length. Some Grouper are found in the Caribbean, Cuba, Portugal, Trinidad, Brazil, and the West Indies.

Young grouper spend their early years near submerged rocks and other structure close to the beach, so they don’t become prey for Shook, Jacks, Redfish, other Grouper, Tarpon, and Sharks. Diet: Pinkish, mullet, other bait fish, crabs, squid, octopus, lobster.

grouper goliath florida fishing season diver menu vs sportdiver skip sport population
(Source: www.sportdiver.com)

This section was easy to write because all three grouper world records were caught in Florida, so they’re the same. The Biggest Gag Grouper was caught in 1993 in the waters off Destiny, Florida and the big fish was 80 pounds, 6 ounces.

With the average adult Goliath Grouper weighing in at around 400 lbs., you know the biggest one recorded is going to be huge right? The Biggest Goliath Grouper was caught on hook and line in 1961 at Fernanda Beach, Florida.

I remember talking to some people who’d seen a massive Goliath Grouper at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that they named Hitler. The Biggest Red Grouper was 42 pounds, 4 ounce fish that was caught on hook and line off St. Augustine, in the Atlantic side of Florida in 1997.

Grouper is one of the most often targeted species of fish by anglers all over the USA for a couple of reasons. If you’ve never had a blackened grouper sandwich at a restaurant along the coast in Florida, you’re missing an incredible experience.

Grouper is thick and juicy and has an odd texture that most fish don’t possess. Besides being great for a meal, Grouper takes your bait and immediately pulls hard when it realizes it is attached to your line.

grouper gag fish florida offshore beach weld tuesday catch sportsman sunday
(Source: www.floridasportsman.com)

It’s a real fight to get a grouper up off the bottom of the sea, especially if it’s down 100 feet or more. They’re heavy, strong, and tough fighting fish that will give you a workout.

Small grouper can be found generally inshore, and in water 15 feet deep or more usually. I’ve caught small black, red, and gag grouper in shallow areas near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in south Pinellas County.

To find adult grouper you’ll need to take a charter off the coast and ride out for a while to reach deeper water. Around 60 feet deep is a good starting point, and any structure, wrecks, or rocks will probably hold at least a grouper or two, but bigger areas will hold dozens, possibly hundreds.

Don’t get me wrong, you CAN find grouper in shallower water when it’s cooler, and I’ve seen them pull 12 lb. Gag Grouper out of 10 feet of water off the Gulf Coast.

If you’re fishing with artificial, you can get some larger Your Minnows with 2 treble hooks and try those retrieved at a fast (but not blinding) rate. Hit the piers, wrecks, rocks, and fallen trees to try to find some Grouper in the shallows if you are in a Kayak fishing or other small boat.

grouper florida season fishing coast
(Source: www.fishanywhere.com)

Every year there are some good size Grouper pulled in at most of the big piers in Florida. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is prime time for Grouper in Florida.

The easiest way to set up a Grouper Rig is to use a simple egg sinker, swivel, and leader on the end of your braided line. Mono with an 8/0 Circle Hook holding live bait like a Pinkish, Pilchard, or other similarly sized fish.

You don’t set a circle hook, you’ll likely just pull it free of the mouth before it has a chance to work itself into the jaw of the fish. You can Troll for Grouper in the Gulf, and that works well for people who feel like they have to be on the move and want to fish shallow water.

Hook and line, and spearfishing are legal options for harvesting most Grouper Species. Grouper species are regulated differently, and it’s quite daunting to try to comb through the official website and figure out what you can and can’t catch, when and where.

We’ve combined all Grouper Laws into this graphic to make it easier, but to be honest, it’s a bit easier, but you still need to read a lot to understand how to take Grouper legally in Florida and in International Waters. If you also want to know about which fishing license and permits you need in Florida, we just created a new page for that HERE which easily explains it.

grouper goliath fish florida groupers harvest they catch jewfish keys flickr fishermen very anglers pay much want gather afraid aren
(Source: magazine.fishsens.com)

Grouper are farm raised in some areas of the world, primarily Asia. Here’s an interesting and informative article about some challenges Grouper farmers faced in Thailand.

The best way to cook Grouper is to blacken it with some Cajun spices or something that adds some spiciness or other flavor to it. I always bleed the grouper immediately after catching by cutting the gills with scissors or a knife after I’ve put him out of his misery.

Trying to bleed a fish after icing, is an exercise in futility as not all the blood comes out easily. I also coat each side in some finely ground black pepper because I love the taste.

Put the Grouper Fillets in the pan and cover, leaving room for the steam to gather, and escape. Lastly, plop a slice of mozzarella on top of each fillet.

Cut your Italian bread into sandwich-sized portions and smear butter and minced garlic pieces on them. Put in oven on top shelf on Broil until lightly brown, remove quickly.

gag grouper fish florida patch charters february
(Source: patch.com)

Even thick Grouper should cook through in 3-4 minutes per side. Throw your fillets on your sandwich, cover with guacamole, tomatoes, chili water, onions, and smash it all together with another piece of garlic bread on top.

That’s how many days the FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) has approved for the Red Snapper Season for 2020. A balancing act between conservation and fishing enthusiasts working hard the past several years has resulted in a healthy fishery, allowing for this many days, the longest season in recent history.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Red Snapper season opens June 11 until July 25 for both state and federal waters. The reason anglers enjoy fishing for Red Snapper so much is the experience getting them into the boat, and they taste pretty darn good, too.

Along the East Coast, there’s a healthy population in Florida and Georgia; it’s rare to find snapper near the Carolina's. Many people enjoy Red Snapper fillets, arguably the most popular white fish of all.

The unique topography of the gulf means you don’t need to go far to find the fish, especially along the coast of Florida. The Panhandle (Pensacola, Destiny, Orange Beach, and Panama City to name a few) is a great place to start your journey.

grouper limit
(Source: www.pnj.com)

You may have to travel a bit farther into the Gulf to get to good Red Snapper fishing, but it’s well worth the wait. This is because Red Snapper don’t typically run the line, they use more of a shaking technique to spit the hook.

Whether you fish on your own or with a hired charter, each angler is allowed to harvest two Red Snapper per trip. While there are more days in this year’s Gulf Red Snapper season, a charter captain’s calendar will fill up fast.

(By the way, the FCC allows for Red Snapper season year round on the east side of the state, in the Atlantic Ocean. If your Florida travel dates don’t align with this year’s season, consider staying near Jacksonville, Cocoa Beach, or Fort Lauderdale along the Atlantic Coast for your Red Snapper adventure).

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2 www.tripadvisor.com - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34297-d9581320-Reviews-The_Ugly_Grouper-Holmes_Beach_Anna_Maria_Island_Florida.html
3 www.islander.org - https://www.islander.org/2020/08/anna-maria-jilts-ugly-grouper-pier-restaurant-deal-off/
4 www.tripadvisor.com - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34297-d9581320-Reviews-or10-The_Ugly_Grouper-Holmes_Beach_Anna_Maria_Island_Florida.html
5 www.facebook.com - https://www.facebook.com/UglyGrouper/
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