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Bob Sands/Shogun 8 day Oct. 2015 Report

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#1 fishordie

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 03:43 PM

G'day all,

Once again, fair warning to those who have ADD, ADHD, some other form of attention defecit or anyone who does not like to read extended versions of this writer's thought processes. If the first sentence was too long for you... STOP READING NOW!!!!..... or read this novella over several sessions so I do not have to hear from a few of you about how my ramblings are too long.... After all these are MY ramblings not your's. And Yes, I know, pictures would be appreciated though are not my forte, but if you really want pictures come on our trips, take pictures yourself and add them to my posts as I do not take time to take pictures. Of course you can also skip ahead to the what worked technique sections but then you would miss my renderings of some of the little things that makes long ranging so uniquely fun and enjoyable... at least to me. Anyone from the trip who would like to post some pictures please do so as it would be very much appreciated.

As always, the Bob Sands charters begin their planning stages months in advance. Insidious details for onerous activities (All performed with love in the perpetrators hearts) begin to take shape and the minute details are ironed out. The Bob Sands Tackle family is made up of most anyone who has walked thru the doors of the shop in the last many years and has found themselves addicted to the good natured chicanery, the hysterical laughing, outburst of inanity and general goofiness that goes on in our supposed professional environment. Oh, And by the way, we have one of the largest and most complete inventories of fresh and salt water related inventories in California to browse thru should you actually come in to buy something. Knowledge is freely given by folks who have been fishing most all of their lives. In essence Bob Sands Tackle is an old fashioned tackle store with a new wave attitude. Meaning the old method of crusty old or young men chatting in the store and pretty much ignoring the customers or not giving the latest insight into technique or style has been replaced with...... "Customer Service".... Gasp......What a concept. We freely give what ever knowledge has been bestowed upon us, learned through experience or ????? as we understand for a fisherman to be happy they must feel like the got value for their time and money as well a they need to actually catch fish. We know our customers can purchase on the Internet but there is a reason we have such a fantastic and loyal clientele along with word of mouth that tells us over and over again, they will not shop on the net ever again. The days of "Earning", over many years, bits of information from our elders or more experienced anglers is replaced as most anyone who comes in the shop with a great attitude is going to walk out the door more informed than when they walked in... At least if that is important to the customer. We are laid back in our approach with no pressure in our sales techniques nor any time constraints on those browsing the isles or just listening in to other conversations in order to gather knowledge or perhaps answer a question the customer did not even know they had.

With the above paragraph I realized very quickly the Shogun and her crew have adopted a very similar approach to Long Range Fishing. It did not take long to figure out the Skipper (Aaron), Second Ticket (Russ) and David (Newer to the Shogun but experienced in the fleet) were dedicated to bringing to their customer base a feeling of old school knowledge and technique melded with the new school attitude of high end Customer Service..... gasp.... in a very "Laid Back" environment. Greg and Adam brought out a fun and youthful but dedicated approach to the entire experience while Jake in the Galley, with the help of Steve, spent endless hours to make our dining experience the best it could be. Please do not take this to mean the Skipper and crew do not go to the extremes (We put in a lot of miles and burned a lot of fuel to put together a great catch) to make sure the customers are placed in a position to catch and land fish rather I mean the customer gets to dictate the level of experience they wish to gather from the trip. Some of the Bob Sands passengers are hard core, willing to fish 24/7 at intense levels while others were happy taking a shower a few times a day, put a line out when they chose to, and just take the whole trip in at a pace of their own choosing. The rest of the passengers fell somewhere in between. However you wanted to fish was supported, encouraged and never dis-couraged by the crew. I really feel the newer, more modern approach, to customer service and satisfaction was really being attended to by the entire Shogun Crew and front office staff. I, for one, very much appreciate this approach.

So, here we go: Summing up the usual boarding procedures.... Smoothly and professionally performed by the Red Shirts of Fisherman's Processing...as always. These guys are well trained and well organized as most all of you can attest while the guys on the Shogun controlled the handoffs onto the boat beautifully. The boat had already loaded up with bait so there was little time lost as we headed to points...... South.... whew...... I really wanted to go south and not north but that is not my call. Aaron, as he would throughout the trip, kept us abreast of what was happening in the fleet, at the different locations, and what our intended destinations/targeted species, were to be. Since Wahoo have been turning up in the darndest of places there was no problem, for those who chose, to troll a Marauder or similar ilk lure to whatever destination Aaron decided on. This paid of as the lures found meat at some oddball trolling locations where we did in fact hook Wahoo... Along with several oddball species.....such as a big blue Marlin, which the crew tried valliently to save but ended up being a catch and filet fish, a short billed spearfish, Stripped marlin, skipjack, and a few small tuna.

It turns out, we ended up heading to my favorite long range destination.... Alijos Rocks... with Wahoo as the intended victims. As always, when the Stones can be seen far off in the distance, a certain part of me reverts to my childhood. There was something magical and special the first time I saw it as a young kid and it still registers with the same passion inducing feeling today where I have 6 decades of wrinkles under my aging belt. We arrived at the Stones around 1 PM and began trolling.

As would happen quite often, we stopped on a meter mark and it was game on. As is my way, I only use artificial lures, Spinning reels and 3 foot lengths of mono attached to my 100 pound Spectra direct tied to my lures. Bob, at the shop, makes my short insertion wind ons to perfection which allows me the joy of not having to cast through any sort of knot or connection. Aaron put us on numerous schools that afternoon and by the time the dust had settled that evening I had passed the half way point in obtaining my Wahoo 3 day or more limits in less than half a day of fishing. Though the day was considered a pick bite, as the boat had a total of around 23 Skin for the afternoon, it was clear the Wahoo were on the prowl but needed some encouragement, a fair amount of skill, some luck and perhaps a bit of gentle nudging especially when fishing bait on wire lures and lighter line for those who chose to use bait. More on this in the what worked section to be found in chapter 4000 of this novel.

Just to make things a bit clearer, the Wahoo were there and willing to bite but were going to sacrifice a few of their own in order to perform the most excruciating mental forms of torture on most all of the passengers of the Shogun. And to think we all pay good money for this pain. I suppose a Dominatrix would be cheaper but Oh well.... I choose to go via, as Jerry Calls it, HOOicide. It is very important to note, for most folks, Wahoo really do not care how good or experienced of a fisher person you are or think you are. Those Bastardo's are going to find ways to frustrate you, generally about the time you think you have them figured out. Hell, who am I kidding, they are going to find ways out of slam dunk situations just because they can. Having past Wahoo experience certainly ups the odds that your bite to land ratio is going to increase but there is simply no guarantee of what percentage that will be. We had one new comer to long range, who is certainly an experienced and knowledgeable fisherman, lose 14 fish on the first day alone as he was adjusting his "Style" to be more in line with landing a Wahoo from a long range vessel. Many folks struggled to get their Hoo to gaff. In truth, Captain Aaron put us on some Wide Open bites every day so even though we ended up with more than 100 Skin on the boat, our percentages were not very good. But, that is Wahoo fishing. I give Aaron huge props as it must be really tough knowing he put us on some Epic Wahoo spots but the numbers of landed fish were only increasing slowly. Fishing was steady every day but in my mind this was Wahoo fishing at almost it's best. By the end of the trip every angler had gotten at least one and almost everyone had more than that. More importantly, most everyone had plenty of bites and chances but these were mostly big fish and take a bit more effort to get them in. More on technique later in the show.

That evening, after a great meal, a few hearty folks went out and continued to ply their fishing craft while dropping morsels down to some very big Yellowtail. I do not believe the fishing was hot and heavy that night but for those who endured there were certainly some tail to be had to around 40+ pounds or so. For those who want to play with ultra light line or practice their Popper techniques the Night Jacks can provide some fun on the surface.

The next day found us waking up at the Rocks, trolling and stopping on some more meter marks as only a few times did the Trolling lures stop the boat. I believe this day found Aaron taking us to the Bank to see what that area would produce. The skipper warned us that sharks had been a problem so we were going to have to take that into consideration. By the time we had fished the Bank and finished the evening at the Rocks I had pretty much limited out on Wahoo and had started to help others with obtaining their fish allotments. That evening those fisher folks who wanted to get down to business at the bottom of the ocean, while we were anchored at the Stones, hit a gold mine... Big Yellowtail, many in the 30 - 40+ pound category, were laid to rest in the holds of the Shogun. Anyone who stayed up and put in rail time were going to get their share but for this angler a short cigar and cocktail were on tap with my bunk beckoning me soon after. After all, we were going to stay at the rocks until noon the next day and there is no way I am going to miss a minute of throwing artificial lures at those Skinny Suckers.

As a note: Once again, whenever the jigs went off and My JRI Hooker style jig was in the water, the lucky angler on the right end of that lure was rewarded. On one rotation Al took over my trolling duties when I had to see a man about a dog and wound up with a 60 pounder on this incredible trolling lure. This is going to be a "Must Have" lure (Everyone should have at least two in their arsenal) should Jerry ever decide to put it into production. I know I have my fingers crossed that this occurs as I am scared as heck that one day this lure is going to leave me.

The next day found us fishing until noon or so and then heading to San Benitos to try for Tuna and Yellowtail. I landed lots more Wahoo before we left filling in the sacks of those who did not have enough. San Benitos was tough though we got more Wahoo and a few of the other species. We then spent the rest of the day and the next looking for Dodo's and or Wahoo near the myriad of Kelp Patties to be found while we headed up the line. As with most of the boats I fish, artificial lures are frowned upon and not allowed due to safety issues... See paragraph below....The guys found lots of kelps but many did not yield. However, we found enough kelps holding some fish to put some very respectable DoDo numbers on the boat. None the less, the action was steady throughout the day. I, of course, while everyone was in the back of the boat going bananas, stayed in the bow, out of the way, with my trusty fly rod. Unfortunately, the Dorado were holding right at the kelp and not coming to the boat, which stayed a bit downwind of the kelp, so I was out of luck not being able to get a fly near the patty itself. This was the first time I did not score, though certainly not for lack of trying, when using my fly rod but I will be back at it again in the near future.

A note about Dorado fishing or perhaps I should call it a series of questions: What is it about a boat load of wonderful and well mannered folks, who have managed to mostly stay out of nasty tangles when fishing other species, that suddenly, when a single kelp patty is the target, seem to go stark raving mad or stark raving mindless??? Fish are getting cut off, loud shouts seem to happen more frequently, folks cast over other folks, folks forget to look behind them when they cast out or folks forget to look in front of them when walking past a rail full of casting anglers. Why does it seem Folks forget how to tie knots as they rush to get a new hook on to replace the one that was suddenly cut off by another persons line or foul tangle. Why does it suddenly take three time longer for folks to hook a bait or folks just look like they are wondering why the heck armageddon chose this time and day to come about or where to just take cover to get away from the shrapnel??? It seems many folks should be yelling "In Coming" rather than attempting to utter the words of warning, such as "Going Out" when they are actually attempting to cast. Of course, I stay out of the way entirely when the boat is fishing Dorado preferring to stay on the downwind side in the bow with a fly rod or many time up on the second deck with a cigar and cocktail while avoiding errant back casts (Yes, all too often a overly zealous angler or two find the metal end of their lines not only wrapped around other anglers body parts, rods and lines but parts of the boat normally not visited by hooks intended to be cast (Such as the upper deck or breaking expensive boat lights). I believe I know the answers but I just thought posing the questions might make some folks wake up and take notice or maybe just get a laugh or two (More likely a frown) from those thinking back about their own experiences.

We finished the trip at San Clemente with a few yellowtail and some other assorted bottom critters hitting the RSW's. The Shogun and her entire staff really put together a wonderful trip while Sal, from Bob Sands, assembled a great group of knuckleheads, including me, who just love to laugh, fish, create a bit of mischief, and make sure everyone has a great time.

Just a note about the Shogun as many folks have not fished her. I was actually on the Maiden voyage of this boat many decades ago. The boat, though perhaps not as long as some of the big boys is wide and super comfortable. The Salon looks like it belongs on a boat 30 feet longer. The Galley is huge with everything from the drink refrigerator to the ice machine being easily and quickly assessable. We had 27 folks on board, which is a lot, but we could get everyone in for dinner with one comfortable seating. The bunk rooms have either 2 or 3 bunks per room but generally only 2 folks to a room. The bait tanks are large with side bait wells but they generally use the bait holders, set inside the tanks, for most applications. There is also 2 bait wells up in the bow. Casting room is fantastic on this boat both in the front and sides of the boat (That is unless the above mentioned passengers go brain dead on a Dorado bite).... I believe the Shogun is going to get more play in the future as I really like the direction the boat is going. Those who already know her, fish her and have kept her a secret are going to have some competition for spots in the future. Pricing is excellent so get your deposits in now for future trips. I know I am signed up already for 2016.



Captain Jimmy bombs once again dominated the field. However, for this angler, colors were vital in importance. Once again, on this trip, I set up several colors of the bombs and thru them within seconds of each other. Once again, I proved to myself and those watching, color mattered and it changed a few times throughout the trip.

My technique for bombs or jigs is always the same. Once I establish where I am going to cast, which is generally within about 40 yards of the boat, anytime that artificial lure seems to act funny on the sink, such as stopping its decent, bumped, nudged, hit or anything odd I start cranking fast with my tip pointed at the jig. If my line comes tight on the retrieve, my elbows are close to my body and I crank as hard as I can while I take a step back, again, with the tip of the rod always pointed at the jig/fish. I fish 100 pound, short mono or flouro top shots so my drags are set at about 24 pounds of drag minimum and there is basically no stretch. I do fish spinners, as they are so easy to cast heavy spectra with short heavy top shots, but the technique is the same for conventional reel work. The step back method, most of the time, seems to get the head of the Hoo facing me where I can wind that thing directly to the boat in no time at all. those who use this technique and move back to the rail must make sure they are winding hard while they take the step forward. NO SLACK EVER. NEVER PUMP THE FISH. JUST WIND. If that fish somehow gets sideways and takes off for any reason, I keep my elbows tight and the tip pointed at the fish ready to start cranking as soon as I feel that fish slow down. Proper posture allows me to easily hang on, while ready to crank again, regardless of the drag setting. NEVER get hunched over, always be relaxed, and always be aware of what is going on up and down rail as this will allow you to go over and under easily and effectively. Having the deck hand ready to gaff is important as with these "Green" fish they will take off again if they get any hint they are about to get a giant hook in their side or they lay out on top of the water for more than a second or two. Deck hand availability is subject to their work load at the time so be mentally ready to have the fish take off again for a strong but short run. Never get discouraged should these things take off as negativity tends to end up in a cut off. By not lifting my tip at any time I can keep that fish at the boat for a few seconds, hopefully long enough for the deck hands to get a shot at them. Try not to cry wolf or call the deck hand over too early and expect the deck hands to stick around waiting for you to get that fish to the boat. Be sure you call them over at the proper time. With a bit of experience you will learn when color means color vs. color means there is gong to be another run. Bigger Hoo will take a bit more effort and may take an extra run but who cares. Bigger IS better so keep the line tight and commit to the above noted procedure.

As far as how long to allow these things to sink that is usually subject to change due to the strength of the current or boat drift along with where these fish are feeding. With my Captain Jimmy bombs, on this trip while at the rocks, 12 - 15 seconds was about right. Lighter Raiders may take a bit longer. For this angler, I take a guess and then work the water column depths, with longer or shorter term sink times, until I find where those fish are feeding. As always, if there is an angler who is really hot, I watch and learn. Look at the size and weight of the lure they are using. Count how long they are letting the artificial drop. Look at the color or type of lure. Then adjust accordingly.

Just as importantly as the sink is making sure the angler stays in touch with their jig. All too often the angler feeds a ton of line while counting down the time to start winding. Too much line might prevent the angler from feeling a bite on the drop which happens more often than folks realize. You want just enough of a bow in the line to allow the jig to sink naturally but not so much as to lose touch with the jig. Again, with experience comes knowledge but try to keep that bow to a minimum depending on current strength or wind. As always, stay in front of your sinking jig and be aware of the line bowing in the water when your neighbor starts to wind in their jig. Give them room so that when they start winding their jig does not hit your slightly bowed line.

BAIT FISHING:I do not fish bait for Wahoo much any more but if I did and the bite was the usual pick, I would use 30 - 40 pound string with a 27 - 35 pound wire leader (45 pound wire is fine if the bite is a bit more full on rather than a tough pick bite). My Wahoo specific bait rigs would have only enough top shot of flouro to allow for my best cast or under hand lob plus another 10 or 20 feet . I would use an in line or loop to loop connection, using a small insertion type pre-made top shot so as to have minimum impact of the connection thru the guides while the bait is swimming. Of course you can tie your plastic line to the Spectra but if you are looking for stealth use a stealthy rig. Smaller J hooks in sizes 1/0 or 2/0 in most any standard bait type hook. The crew of the Shogun was hooking up lots of folks on bait using similar rigs. I would set my drags for the equivalent of about 20 pound test line and be prepared with track shoes to haul azz following that fish. Lighter drag on bait is better than too tight a drag. New comers generally will take a second or two for their brains to kick in and realize all they have heard about Wahoo is true but by then the fish may already be around the other side of the boat and the angler and everyone or everything in its way will be screwed. Wind every chance you can even while going up or down rail. The job of the angler is to stay in front of the fish but with Wahoo, many times one just has to catch up to the fish in order to stay between the boat and the fish. Fight the urge to land fish quickly on bait rather concentrate on NOT PUMPING or raising the tip of the rod and of course wind any time there is any question the fish has stopped or is about to stop running. Continue winding fast and hard until the hook or cut line comes to the boat, with or without a fish attached, even if you believe you lost the fish. So often these fish charge the boat once their head is turned. Way too often the angler stops winding, thinking the fish is gone, only to find the fish is still there but usually only for a few seconds once slack is in the line and it comes tight.... Ping... Lighter line bait fishing requires a bit more patience to get the fish to gaff or keep them in a position where the deck hand can actually get to you so just follow the procedure and the fish will come in though not nearly as quickly as when using a thicker line with an artificial lure. Lost fish or missed bites are part of Wahoo fishing so let it go and get another rig back in the water as soon as possible. Of course, In a wide open bite, feel free to use as heavy a wire and heavy a line as they will eat but rarely do I see that sort of bite.

Properly hooking a bait for Wahoo or any other fish is all important. Since Wahoo are notorious for first cutting a bait in half and then possibly coming back to eat the pieces knowing how to butt hook or shoulder hook a sardine or Mackerel is mandatory. Getting the bait to be still swimming strong once it gets into the zone is the difference between getting hooked up or scratching your head while more knowledge able anglers or crew are getting hooked up regularly. I cannot stress highly enough the need to get a crew member, with a few extra minutes of spare time, on the way to the grounds, to show even an experienced angler exactly how to hook and handle a bait and then how to cast or lob in such a way as to make sure that bait is kicking hard but is not flung off the hook. This especially applies to how you obtain your bait from the tank so as to not pop its eyeballs out, not take scales off the bait or not remove the slime from mackerel. 98% of the anglers stab that poor bait in the meaty section, pretty much rendering it useless rather than learning how to lightly hook the bait. So many anglers cannot figure out why their once lively bait just lays there and does not swim away... No doubt this takes some real effort on the part of the angler to learn on the way out and then practice, practice and then practice some more but I assure you the effort will pay off in spades once you actually put the practice into real use.

One important item which is often overlooked is sometimes the rings we use on the wahoo wired leaders are not de-burred properly or are sharp and will cut the plastic or wire lines. Check out your newly purchased rings before use on both the inside and outside of the ring.

I prefer a proper hay-wire twist to crimping my rings and hooks to the wire but whatever method you use, make sure the rig can handle the pressure. Test out a few of your connections on a pull scale to see if your connection of choice can consistently hold up. Making and testing your wire leaders at home and having plenty of extras is so much better than making them on the boat. This year the wahoo bite may be right outside the harbor so do not always expect to have the time on the boat to make your gear.

AS A NOTE FOR ALL FISH BUT ESPECIALLY WAHOO: Stay relaxed, calm and keep your body upright and in good posture. 98% of all anglers do themselves a great dis-service by hunching over, bending their arms, focusing on their reel and not being aware of their surroundings. Running up and down rail may be part of the drill but there is a difference between running out of control, with your head down or so concentrated on the fish that everything else is non existent, Vs. running in control with your head looking forward, your body relaxed, as well as being aware of where that fish is going and who is ahead of you. Winding while running and still being aware of one's surroundings in order to go up and over or under takes a bit of experience but if the angler is aware of the need to develop this skill in order to take your game to the next level it becomes easier to correct the issue. KNOW YOURSELF... if for any reason you do not feel you physically can handle the challenge of running after these speedsters, let the crew know and there is a very good chance a crew member will show you how to hand off the rod to them and they will do the running for you. Once the fish slows down you will get the rod back and you will fight them to the boat. NEVER FEEL INTIMIDATED OR UPSET if a crew member grabs your rod and takes off running. Believe me they are doing you and the rest of the passengers a favor. This is their job and they are really good at it.

FOR THOSE NOT HOOKED UP: It is equally important you are aware not only of where YOUR bait is but what is happening around the boat. 90 feet away seems like a long ways but when someone is running up or down that rail in pursuit of a wahoo the distance closes incredibly rapidly. Try to gauge where your bait and line is in relation to the guy charging at you who is on a fish. Know if you need to raise your rod and step back to let them go under you or lower your bod and rod while hugging the rail to let them go over you. PLEASE DO YOUR BEST TO BE AWARE AT ALL TIMES OF WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND THE BOAT. IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHY YOU ARE TOO OFTEN IN A TANGLE OR GETTING CUT OFF PLEASE BE AWARE IT MIGHT JUST BE SOMETHING YOU ARE DOING OR NOT DOING RATHER THAN WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING.

IMPORTANT:For bait or jigs, watch how your boat of choice drifts in relation to the chummed bait. Some boats lead with their sterns, so quite often, after the initial hookup and the boat has stopped, the bow or front sides of the boat can be a great place to be. For Jig throwers, we are the red headed step child meaning the bait guys have the right to be on the "Wind in their face" side of the boat so please be prepared to go to a spot where the bait guys are not properly fishing (Some inexperienced anglers put their baits in on the wrong side of the boat but that is just part of the game as these same anglers learn to keep the wind in their faces). The down wind side is really where we belong once those bait lines are out so as to keep tangles to a minimum. Each boat will give instructions on where the jig slingers are allowed to cast. Some boats require the angler to be forward of the bait tanks and some boats want us on the down wind side. Some boats do not care but none the less the jig guys need to pay even more attention as we are tossing deadly weapons. Please pay attention to these rules of the boat but more importantly please pay attention to the rules of safety as they always take precedent.

TROLLING: JRI Hooker Style trolling jig is simply "DA BOMB DIGGITY"..... What ever the hell that mean. This is a prototype lure but gets bit just about every time there is a jig strike. Many times we stopped on Meter Marks as these Hoo were a bit hesitant to bit the trolling jigs but when they did and the Hooker was in the water, it got bit. Medium and large size Marauders absolutely work but it seems to me there is still some impact regarding color but the swim pattern, thrum pattern and vibration of the lure is the number one most important factor. Given the same swim patterns of two dissimilar colored trolling lures the right color will prevail. I happen to fish my trolling lures with the 7 strand wire provided with after market, pre-rigged trolling harnesses. I have been very happy with my Braid provided product in 275 pound wire. I have not played around with using heavy mono or flouro leaders on trolling lures so I cannot comment on their effectivity. For now, I am staying with wire but that is subject to change in the future. I do rinse all of my lures and wire harnesses after use in fresh water. I generally use them until they become frayed or rusted. I usually get a full season out of a harness unless it gets bit by a near or far sighted HOO. I always carry at least one extra trolling harness just in case. Also bring some heavy duty split rings and some ringed heavy duty swivels to match the existing ones on your lures just in case your favorite trolling lure breaks a ring or loses a hook.

AS A NOTE:Tim Turis has posted a wonderful Wahoo technique advice column on another thread so please review his writings as he has a lot of great information for both beginners and experienced anglers alike.

In conclusion.... And you thought this would never end..... The Bob Sands Tackle/Shogun 8 day was a fantastic and fun event as it always is. Those of us who do this long range thing regularly know there will be some slow days but when the fishing is great it is really great and we had some really great days and nights. Nothing in the world comes close.


#2 Kilsong

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 11:35 AM

Thanks Jamie for another fine report.

I always learn many new things from your report as you explained in detail what you use and how you use.

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