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Fishermen Make Record Catch Of 31 Bluefin Tuna Off Orange County Coast

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — This ain't no fish tale -- a group of fisherman made a record catch of bluefin tuna off the coast of Orange County.

Fishermen with the Dana Wharf Rod and Reel Club recently hauled in a record 31 bluefin tuna, some of them weighing more than 200 pounds.

With the usually cold waters off Southern California's coast getting warmer, more bluefin have been making their way beyond the waters of Mexico. Local fishermen say they haven't seen such an abundance of bluefin in Southern California's waters in more than 100 years.

A boat that recently returned from San Clemente Island with a huge haul of sashimi-grade bluefin – a record 31 fish, some weighing more than 200 pounds.

"To catch this kind of fish, you used to have to go way far down below the border to have a chance to catch this kind of fish," fisherman Stuart Finley said. "Yet, here it is, six hours away."

The biggest yet this summer was caught by Tom Hill – a 302-pound bluefin tuna.

"It was hard," he said with a chuckle.

But while the fish may be plentiful, the gear needed to catch these extremely strong bluefin has been hard to find. John Doughty at JD's Big Game Tackle on Balboa Island says the frozen flying fish bait used to lure in bluefin are sold out.

"These Pacific bluefin – these are just monsters and they're brutes, they're just strong. Biggest things we've had in a long time," Doughty said.

While the sea may be abundant, there are still limits to how much fishermen can actually take home. Fishermen can only take two bluefin tuna home per trip, and that can drop to just one if the catch is especially big.

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