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Mayor Rudolph Giuliani got the news media -- hook, line and sinker.

The angling mayor managed to convince reporters that he'd made an improbably quick catch when he headed to the East River to fish for striped bass Wednesday morning.

Giuliani, a devoted baseball fan, had to pay off a bet with the mayor of Cleveland, who won a dinner of East River striped bass, beer and other goodies when the New York Yankees lost to the Cleveland Indians in the American League playoffs.

Giuliani, a lifelong city resident not known for his Field and Stream-style exploits, landed a bass in just minutes as cameras recorded his luck.

But the trophy was a playful ruse.

The bass was purchased at the Fulton Fish Market and set on Giuliani's hook before unsuspecting reporters arrived at his fishing spot near Gracie Mansion.

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