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Fishing Reels

Best Spinning Reels (2021) : Review with Buyer’s Guide

Fishing has been our family’s occupation ever since my grandpa migrated to North Carolina. I remember when I was a young boy, I assisted my dad in retrieving the catch but never tried casting myself. But when I wanted to try things for myself, my hands were always shaky, especially when tackling a big fish; mostly, I’d lose the catch. When I turned 18, after many trials, I figured that the right way to improve my skill was by using a spinning reels.

At first, my major problem was finding the right reel size for me, size does matter here! Once I found one, I started casting and retrieving easily with either a baitcasting or spinning reel in any water condition.

No matter if you’re a beginner or a pro fisherman, it’s a hard task to find the best spinning reels for you. If you’re yet to make a choice, don’t worry; my team and I have spent time testing and reviewing the trendiest and most reliable models up for sale so you can easily pick what you’re looking for.

Top Rated Spinning Reels : Comparison Chart

Pick Name Thumbnail Product Name Price
Editor’s Choice PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel Check Price
Best Under $100 Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel Check Price
Best Under $50 KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel Check Price
Great for Trout Fishing KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel Check Price
Lightweight Choice Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Check Price
6th Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel Check Price
7th Pflueger President Spinning Reel Pflueger President Spinning Reel Check Price
8th KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reel KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reel Check Price
9th Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel Check Price
10th Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Check Price

Our 10 Best Spinning Reels Review

01 PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel (Editor’s Choice)

PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Reel

Since PENN Fishing’s inception back in 1932, millions of anglers over the years have benefitted from products like the Spinfisher reel that uses the PENN’s engineering specs.

This V reel is made of metal and completely sealed to prevent saltwater, sand, waves, etc. from damaging the internal parts. With this, you can use it for fresh and ocean water fishing. The gearing system runs smoothly, which allows for superb casts while eliminating wind knots that would dull your performance.

The Spinsfisher allows you to close the bail manually without cranking the handle, which is a smart innovation by the manufacturers to increase its lifespan. It features five stainless steel bearings that are highly robust for tackling offshore deep-sea creatures. Fortunately, no assembly is needed, only that you’ll fix the handle after unboxing.

However, most users complained that it’s heavy, but that’s not an issue except you’re planning on casting all day.

At around $160 to $300, it’s a little expensive if you’re budget-conscious. However, the Spinfisher is our top choice due to its unbeatable performance and durability.

Pros

  • Smooth operation
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Metal body build
  • Aluminum bail
  • CNC gear technology

Cons

  • Heavy

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a model that has a corrosion-resistant metal construction, aluminum bail and CNC machined design, then this is the best spinning reels you can have. This amazing reel features high-quality parts such that you can use it frequently in the harshest waters. However, try to rinse it in clean water after each day to clear off the debris.

02 Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel (Best Under $100)

Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

The Penn Batttle II is just as great as our first choice but is more affordable. It has a full metal body that combines with a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire for better durability and ease of control for each cast.

This reel comes with an HT-100 carbon fiber drag system and uses both sides of the drag washers so that you can easily overcome the drag from tough fighting species.

The spool can also accommodate braids, and the line capacity markings will help you to know what is left after the cast.

The Penn Battle 2 measures at 5 x 4 x 3 inches and weighs 1 pound, so it’s smaller and lighter than our previous choice though it was still heavy for most users.

This reel is one of the most popular choices in the fishing community, proving how many people are loving it. Amazingly, it came around $80 despite the top-notch features.

Pros

  • Ideal for saltwater fishing
  • Solid build
  • Performs smoothly
  • Anti-reverse switch
  • Portable

Cons

  • Relatively heavy

Our Verdict

The Penn Battle II spinning reel is an excellent choice for anglers on a budget, and those who’re looking for a reel for all fishing conditions. It’s an ideal model for surf fishing. It has everything to help you get a pleasant fishing experience. But, you’ll be able to make the most out of your reel only if you know how to set up a spinning reel. Overall, this is the best spinning reels under 100 bucks and there is hardly any model out there that can beat it within this price range.

03 KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel (Best Under $50)

KastKing Sharky III

This is another excellent reel with outstanding cranking power and stability. Though the Sharky III 1000 series has a smaller spool diameter when compared to the Penn products, it casts just fine, especially when hunting smaller fish. Its compact size is a considerable advantage as it allows it to pair with an extensive range of rods. So, this can go with light, middle range, and heavy rods.

What’s more, this Sharky 3 features an aluminum handle with a high-density Eva grip that allows you to hold it comfortably even under wet conditions. You’ll also appreciate the braid ready aluminum spool and the anti-twist line roller that works to eliminate the slipping and tangling of the line.

It has a carbon fiber drag system that can hold up to 40 pounds. So, it has enough power for you to catch the most energetic fish.

It currently retails a little under 50 bucks. That makes it the best spinning reels under 50 dollars. It’s, therefore, much cheaper than our top choice.

Pros

  • Super drag power
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof design
  • Stainless steel bearing

Cons

  • Smaller line capacity

Our Verdict

This spinning reel is pretty affordable in addition to its superb drag power which makes it ideal for luring big freshwater fish species. The ultralight model packs all the features needed by a pro angler but comes at a reasonable price point. No wonder why it’s one of the best-rated models out there. You can’t really go wrong with it.

04 KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel

KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel

The Baitfeeder III has a strikingly similar design to the Sharky III though the most significant difference is in the handle design. This Baitfeeder III allows you to change the handle position making it easy for left and right-handed anglers to use. Still, the grip has a T-design such that it fits perfectly in both hands.

It has a maximum drag rating of 26.5 pounds and a gear ratio of 5.5:1 to deliver the power you need for dragging with dominant fish. With this, it’s not as powerful as the Sharky III. It’s, therefore, the most preferred choice for trout fishing.

The brass gear, stainless steel bearings, and carbon fiber drag system are all corrosion-resistant components, making it the right investment for saltwater or inshore fishing gear.

The Baitfeeder III is another popular model retailing at around $60 depending on the size – definitely a good bargain if you can spend much on your fishing tackle.

Pros

  • High-build quality
  • Carbon fiber drag washers
  • Corrosion-free graphite body
  • Ambidextrous use
  • T-handle

Cons

  • Relative low drag power

Our Verdict

This model is equipped with all the features you’re looking for in a pocket-friendly spinning reel. Its main attraction is the interchangeable handle and high-quality construction. Equipped with this gear, you can go for speckled trouts and other redfish.

05 Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

The Okuma Ceymar is manufactured to serve us that need a lightweight reel for occasional use. It comes with an aluminum body, anti-reverse, and 7BB + 1BB ball bearing system for a smooth and quiet performance.

This model measures at 5 x 4 x 4 inches and weighs at 8 ounces, so, it’s the perfect reel for handling anything around 3 to 6 pounds. Since it has an oiled felt drag system, there’s no need to worry about rust, meaning you can use it in saltwater.

However, it’s drawback was the reel foot became unstable when paired with curtain rods, though keeping to smaller species will keep it in check.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Resists corrosion
  • Excellent value for the money
  • Great durability

Cons

  • Not suitable for large species

Our Verdict

The Okuma Ceymar is made to deliver superior accuracy and performance while making a distance cast. It’s the perfect option for those that are looking for a portable, and durable spinning reels. It is also one of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market. Remember that Okuma also makes long casting reels too, so if you are interested in that category, you may go for the Surf 8K model from this reputable brand.

Other popular Okuma models you might also be interested in: Avenger, Inspira, Coronado, Helios SX, Alaris, Trio Baitrunner, Cedros, RTX, and Stratus V.

06 Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

Daiwa is one of the most reliable brands to go for when looking for a top-notch spinning reel. Like other models we’ve reviewed, this Bg is available in various sizes to suit your needs.

The Bg’s body is covered with a machined aluminum metal that protects the internal components while giving it extra strength and durability. Besides, the exterior is anodized to prevent scratch and untimely decay.

This Bg model features a screw-in handle design that aligns the main gear to the handle arm, providing the angler with confidence when cranking. Besides, the spool is just designed to accept braids at any time, which is a feature you will only find in most of the expensive models.

With the seven bearing system, waterproof Carbon ATD drag system, extensive Digigear system, manual return bail, and infinite anti-reverse, you can always expect a robust and super-smooth performance.

However, we noticed that it could be a little heavy because of the extra size.

Pros

  • Smooth and easy operation
  • Seven ball bearings
  • Carbon ATD drag system
  • Oversized gear for better performance

Cons

  • Large and heavy

Our Verdict

This is a good quality spinning reel that can form a reliable companion when hunting for a big trophy. With the large gearing system and anti-rust body, this is the right investment for your fishing needs.

Other Daiwa models that you might be interested in: Saltist, BG 4000, BG 5000, BG 2500, Revros, Ballistic, Exceler, BG 8000, BG 6500, Certate, Saltiga Dogfight, Saltiga 4000, Saltiga 5000, Saltiga 4000h, Ballistic 3000, Certate LT, Saltiga Expedition, Saltiga 8000, Fuego 4000, Laguna Rod, Saltist 4000, Saltiga 5000h, Luvias 1003, Fuego LT 3000, Exceler LT 300, Strikeforce, Saltist Back Bay, Black Gold, Sweepfire 4000, Saltist 5000, Revros 2500, Ballistic LT, Legalis LT, D Shock, Lexa Spin, Tatula LT, Fuego LT 2500, Fuego 2500, Certate 3000, Regal, Fuego LT 4000, Laguna 4000, Exceler LT.

07 Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Looking at this spinning reel from Pflueger, you’ll notice that there are many reasons for dubbing it ‘the President’. It’s highly attractive, with a combination of silver and gold coatings, you will always feel like the master of the sea.  But you’ll need to pair it to the right spinning rod depending on your style of fishing.

The President is lightweight, yet sturdy to make a quick cast while withstanding a tough fight. It has a ten bearing system which combines with the soft grip to deliver a smooth line recovery.

Unlike most models on the market, you can easily change the handle from right to left.

Its handle is made from aircraft-grade aluminum while the body and rotor are of graphite, making it highly durable and responsive. It comes with a multi-drag system that pairs with the oil felt stainless steel washers to let you handle different weights.

It has a unique anti-reverse system that makes a click sound to let you know if it’s completely closed. However, it’s not suitable for saltwater environments.

Pros

  • Super lightweight and portable
  • Smooth drag
  • Ten bearing system
  • Soft grip
  • Interchangeable handle

Cons

  • Not ideal for saltwater

Our Verdict

The President is one of the smoothest spinning reels available and has performed pretty well even under heavy use. So, we would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a dependable saltwater spinning reel for a reasonable price point.

08 KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reel

KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reel

The Valiant Eagle is another model from KastKing with a symbol of quality, creativity, and affordability. It features a graphite body and aluminum spool which delivers the right strength to tackle a big fish. There is the 11 bearing system that pairs with the sealed carbon drag system to provide the power you’ll need for taking a 20-pound species.

This Valiant Eagle model has a 6.2:1 gear ratio, which provides fantastic speed and power needed for the hunt. You’ll notice that it’s slightly faster than our previous choices.

This product features the Expanded Pinion System, which helps in stabilizing the gearing operation for improved strength and durability. It also includes an aluminum handle with a soft

Eva grip offers a comfortable feel for complete control of the casts in all weather conditions.

It costs around $50, so you won’t break the wallet to buy it. Also, it scored 4.7 stars out of an average of 388 ratings at the time of the writing.

Weighing at 9.8 ounces, it’s lighter than our previous choices from KastKing, which is a significant advantage for anglers wanting a lightweight reel.

Pros

  • Freshwater and saltwater rated
  • Faster gear ratio
  • The smooth and quiet action
  • Patented spool design
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Non-interchangeable handle

Our Verdict

An excellent quality reel with a smooth operation and rapid retrieval rate. The performance is impressive despite its cheap price. In our findings, it is one of the best ultralight spinning reels priced around 50 bucks.

09 Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger Supreme XT has been around for many years for good reasons. Pflueger explored a lot of designs before coming up with this reel and it’s definitely a better one. It packs a number of new features adding to the previous models but weighs half an ounce less.

The carbon drag knob is a one-piece design that uses 30 per cent less material than that of the previous models, so it’s lighter. Its carbon drag system is sealed and the reel body is made of magnesium, so, again, it is lighter than the President models.

We also found that Pflueger used carbon fiber for several parts of the reel. The handle is also made of carbon fiber. It sports a slow oscillation gearing system that allows it to check with the line twist.

It also packs a 10 stainless steel bearing system for corrosion resistance. You can use it for all types of fishing rods and techniques.

Pros

  • Carbon fiber and magnesium build materials for strength and lightness
  • Carbon fiber sealed drag properly lubed for smoothness
  • Amazingly lightweight
  • Twistfree spinning spool

Cons

  • The external coating gets affected by saltwater

Our Verdict

The selling point of this product is its weight factor. Once you hold it in hand you’d know how significantly less heavy it feels compared to other reels in a similar category. The build quality is robust, they used carbon fibers and magnesium for enhancing strength and weight capacity. Overall, under 150 bucks, you can’t really get a better sturdy model than this. We highly recommend this product from our end.

Other notable models from Pflueger : Trion, Monarch, and Summit XT.

10 Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB

The Stradic Ci4 Spinning Reel comes with all the features that every dedicated angler needs.

This model has a Magnumlite rotor which rotates with each crank of the handle, making it easier to operate. It weighs around 5.6 ounces making it one of the lightest on this guide, such that you’ll hardly feel a thing while using it.

The Stradic Ci4 has a maximum drag capacity of 20 pounds, so you’ll pursue the big fish with confidence. On the downside, this model lacks the anti-reverse switch, which makes it a little difficult for most anglers to use.

It has an excellent casting and retrieval rate, but you’ll need to pair it to the right rod depending on your style of fishing.

Pros

  • Magnumlite rotor
  • Striking good looks
  • Solid feel
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Quick cast and retrieval rate

Cons

  • No anti-reverse switch

Our Verdict

This is a nice spinning reel to have if you are looking for something lightweight yet sturdy that matches your Ugly Stik Elite rod. It seems expensive! Right? But you’ll enjoy superb performance, convenience, and durability, so, it’s worth the money.

Best Spinning Reels – Buyer’s Guide

Best Spinning Reels Buyer’s Guide

Consider Where You’ll Fish

You can engage any spinning reel in freshwater fishing, but for saltwater, you need one with a rust-resistant makeup and water-resistant seals for optimal performance and longevity.

You’ll get a better insight into spinning reels if you have basic knowledge about the parts of a spinning reel.

External Parts

  • Spool – It holds the line, determines the cast distance, and ensures smoothness of the cast. The spool doesn’t move with the line, but it can unwind when the tension on the line is greater than the drag force. It’s made of either aluminum or graphite, but the former is heavier but more durable than the latter.
  • Reel Body – It’s a cylindrical device that holds everything together. Since every other component attaches to the body, it should be sturdy to bear the load, while also matching your hands and fishing style.
  • Reel Foot – You need the foot to fix the rod to its position. It’s a crucial part of the setup. Mostly, the foot is made from the same material with the reel’s body, but it should be secured to the seat. The foot should be in the same position even if the rod is collapsible.
  • Handle – Always look for reels with a comfortable handle, it helps stowing the line with ease. EVA grip gives a soft feel and is more durable than plastic. The handle should spin freely with little effort. Besides, it’s critical to consider the left/right handed issues, especially if you’ll spend long hours in the water. However, most of the trendy reels allow you to change the handle position to your comfort.
  • Bail – This is a metallic arm that wraps around the spool and occupies an either open or closed position for casting or retrieving the line. When it’s free, the line flows out. Then you can close the bail, rotate the handle to retrieve the line.
  • Power Roller – It serves as a path for the line. If you’re using a braided line, then opt for reels with metallic rollers since they last longer.
  • Drag System – You need the sufficient drag to defeat the tough fighting fish. You need to consider the amount of drag you can comfortably handle. For example, most anglers cannot go only to take the pressure of 15 to 18 pounds without tiring.
  • Anti-Reverse Switch – This is a locking feature for your handle and prevents it from turning backwards, keeping your hookset fixed.

Internal Parts

  • Gear Ratio – The gear ratio determines the speed in which you can retrieve the line. A proportion of 6:1 indicates the bail spins six times per each turn of the handle.
  • Number of Bearings – Since bearings provide support to the line, the more they are, the smoother the performance. Ideally, a good spinning reel needs about four to five bearings for effective operation.
  • Type of Bearings – Most manufacturers still use stainless steel bearings though ceramics are becoming popular since they are more corrosion resistant.

Reel Capacity & Size

You need to know your target species, water, and size of the line before choosing your ideal reel. Always bear in mind that the line’s capacity increases with the spool’s size. However, you’ll need a bigger reel to accommodate the more massive and stronger line for tackling larger species.

Weight

Since you don’t have steel arms, you’re likely to tire when spending long hours fishing with a heavy reel. As a rule of thumb, always go for the size you can comfortably handle.

Construction

The two things to consider about an egg beater fishing reel’s material: the weight and strength. It means that it should be light but sturdy enough to withstand a big fish like a Northern pike. Spinning reels are made of plastic, graphite, copolymer, and metal.

  • Plastics – These are light and inexpensive, so they’re the choicest for most beginner anglers who’re preying on freshwater fish species like bluegill or river trout.
  • Graphite –  tougher than plastics but is lighter and more portable than metals.
  • Copolymers – They work well in both saltwater and freshwater applications though not as durable as metals.
  • Metals – Every serious angler would prefer a metal reel because of their extra durability and strength. Custom reels are mainly made out of metals for the same purpose.

Species

Reels are designed to work for specific species you might want to catch. For example, if you’re going to tackle a panfish or crappie, you’ll need a 4 to 6-pound line. Also, massive species like bass or walleye would need around 8 to 10-pound reels.

Matching Your Reel to the Rod

There’s no way you can enjoy optimum performance of an open face reel without using the right rod. You should choose a rod that matches your line weight and lure range as well as your style of fishing. You may use a different rod and reel set up when you are traveling, but matching the two is important.

You should also match the colors of the reel. You get a wide range of colors for this kit, the most common colors are blue, red, silver, steel, purple and brown.

Line Recovery Rate

This value measures the amount of line that goes into the spool with a complete turn of the handle.

Warranty

Don’t fail to check the guarantee that the company offers. Note that you’ll only enjoy the benefits if you’re using the reel per the manufacturer’s instruction.

What Makes a Great Spinning Reel, & What Are the Benefits?

Your preferred spinning reel should be smooth, accurate, powerful, quiet, and capable of making long-distance casts. It should have a sturdy build with either an aluminum or graphite body like a spincast (closed face), underspin or a baitcaster model. Its gear should be from stainless steel with high-quality bearings for smooth operation. Most importantly, the road and reel should make a perfect combo.

A lightweight reel will prevent your hands from tiring quickly while making repeated casts. You should also look for the one with a sealed drag design, carbon fiber washer, user-friendly handle, rigid bail, and other great qualities.

You’ll need a good spinning reel in live bait casts for preys like striped bass, walleye, catfish and panfish. They are easy to use and rarely experience a backlash, having a better ability to handle lightweight lures and light lines.

So, with these benefits, as a beginner angler, you would always appreciate the spinning reels for learning how to cast and fish before upgrading to the complex models. It should be a nice addition to your fishing gear for sure.

How to Clean a Spinning Reel?

The essential steps in maintaining the spinning reel involve the rinsing of the outer body in freshwater and lubrication of the moving parts.

Rinse the reel in clean water after each fishing trip to remove sand and salt deposits.

Tools you need

  • Screwdriver – to disassemble and reassemble the parts
  • Toothbrush – to scrub the gears
  • Toothpick – for applying grease to the gear teeth
  • Cleaning solution – washing off contaminated grease

Reel Disassembling

After removing the handle, use the screwdriver to take apart the cover, spool, and clutch ring. You might need a video or manual at hand to help if you’re stuck. Avoid placing the parts together and mark each of them to make the recoupling process easier.

Cleaning Each Part

Now that the cover is removed, check the gears if the grease is black and dirty. You may want to remove the bearings and gears to clean everything, so pay attention to their alignment. Apply a degreaser or soap water to the gears, then leave it to dry. You should be extra cautious when washing if your reel contains pressure sensors.

Recoupling the Reel

After drying the reel, put the parts together. Rotate the handle to check if it’s spinning smoothly. If the operation is smooth, that means the cleaning process was successful.

Wrapping It Up

It’s challenging to find the best spinning reels from numerous options available on the market. Your fishing style and the water body will determine which reel is right for you.

If you’re on a budget, you should consider the Okuma Ceymar spinning reel. This model comes at a giveaway price, yet compares favorably with other high-end reels like the Shimano and KastKing.

If you can afford it, our first choice – Penn Spinsfisher combines the cutting edge features you will always look for in any high-quality spinning reel. While looking for speed and strength, the KastKing Valiant Eagle is the right choice for you. Choose a spinning reel for your needs considering the price and performance of the above-mentioned models. We hope you can make an educated buying decision after going through this review page.

FAQs

1. What Size Spinning Reel Should I Start With?

Ans. Reel’s sizes are 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and so on. It’s ideal for beginners to start with the smallest size then move to the bigger models as they become more experienced.

2. How Does a Spinning Reel Work?

Ans. A spinning reel works by discharging the fishing line wrapped around the spool through the safeguard and roller framework.

3. When Is a Spinning Reel Better Than a Baitcasting Reel?

Ans. The spinning reel is more comfortable to use than a baitcasting reel, though the latter allows for accurate and long-distance casts.

4. Why Do Spinning Reels Have an Anti-Reverse Switch?

Ans. The anti-reverse switch prevents the backward rotation of the handle, allowing you to have complete control of the casts.

05. What Type of Line Is Best for a Spinning Reel?

Ans. You’ll likely use braid, monofilament, copolymer, or fluorocarbon depending on your kind of fishing. Braid is the strongest but its easily seen and also prone to backlash. Copolymer and monofilament have similar characteristics in terms of strength, but they’re not as sensitive as fluorocarbons.

06. Why Are Spinning Reels Left-Handed?

Ans. The manufacturers wanted to appeal to the more significant percentage of anglers by designing a reel that’ll enable them to crank comfortably.

About the author

Walter Ashley

I was brought up in Grove, Oklahoma alongside the Neosho river. It was not until my post-accident recovery period when I got hooked into fly fishing. The instructor had this unique teaching method and I started skipping my therapy sessions for kayak fishing out in the wild. It helped me be in places of nature that are extraordinarily beautiful and I would probably have never been there if fishing was not a part of my life. Experiences of those days taught me the shortcomings of fishing gear. So, I started investigating on a range of common equipment that people used and I started tweaking them for optimum results. It was not until my post-graduation on mechanical engineering when I seriously started thinking about fishing rod and reel designing. Extensive studies on materials that regular rods were made of eventually made way for new design ideas. Hopefully, my time on the waters and inner attachment to the nature will provide me sublimity for greater innovation.

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