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Published on 06 Aug 2014 | over 2 years ago

Most fisherman would consider themselves lucky to catch one elusive opah fish in their lives, but one recreational fishing boat landed three in one day this on recreational fishing boat landed three in one day last week while searching for Yellowtail tuna off the coast of southern California.

San Diego-based Excel Long Range Sportfishing, which takes groups out on multi-day fishing trips, posted at picture on Facebook of their surprise haul on Friday and the photo has now been shared more than 2,000 times.

Anglers Armando Castillo, Joe Ludlow and Travis Savala grin as they pose with their three orange disc-shaped fish, each weighing between 124 and 180 pounds.

Opah, also known as Moonfish, are a rare catch for recreational fisherman since they don't travel in schools and therefore aren't commercially fished either.

Instead, most are caught accidentally by fisherman looking for other fish, such as tuna.

That's what the group was looking for last week when they came across the three opah in one day.

Opah also aren't known to stray often into southern California waters, preferring warmer waters in tropical and sub-tropical seas.

However, opah catches have been on the rise in the last few years according to a 2012 article by U-T San Diego.

'It’s the fish of a lifetime,' Snodgrass said. 'It’s like winning the lottery. Nobody is expecting one of these. They are just doing something different to try to get a bite and they hook an opah.'

National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration researcher Owyn Snodgrass said more opah are getting caught by federal marine research trawls in the area.

At the time of the article, Snodgrass had tags on four opah in the region, to observe their swimming and diving patterns. One of those ventured all the way back to more common waters in Hawaii.

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