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Escondido Man Wins Nation’s Largest Tuna Tourney

Aired 9/12/12 on KPBS News.

A North County man reels in a first place tuna challenge win.

For 12 years, Escondido angler Mike Muehl hoped he'd be the big winner of the annual "Make-A-Wish Tuna Challenge."

A man competes in the Tuna Challenge.
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Above: A man competes in the Tuna Challenge.

Based in San Diego, the competition is the largest tuna tournament in the nation. And this year, Muehl's dream came true.

Muehl captured first place in the large boat division after weighing in four bluefin tuna totaling 132.6 pounds. He and his crew also took second place. Nearly 60 anglers, fishing aboard some 300 boats, participated in the competition.

The tournament isn't just about the fishing, though. Annually, the challenge raises nearly $200,000 to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Muehl says that's why this organization has a special place in his heart. His own daughter, at the age of 2, was diagnosed with leukemia. Two years later, she received a wish.

His daughter, Emily, is now 9 and is considered cured of the disease. Muehl, however, has not been cured of fishing. He says the "tuna-challenge" is one of his favorite events.

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