Tony Arcabascio is best known for his Tony Maja products that are mostly related to striped bass fishing. However, his favorite eating fish is the northern puffer — better known as blowfish.

Tony has become a serious blowfish angler in Barnegat Bay, and doesn’t spare any cost in order to catch them. However, today he had to overcome the odds in order to score after I joined John De Bona of The Fisherman magazine to join Tony on his Sea Vee. When we arrived at the mid-bay 7-foot depths, John dropped the anchor, and Tony deployed the chum pots. That was when John realized that he’d left the fresh clams he’d cut into small pieces in his fridge!

It’s not easy to find surf clams for bait in Barnegat Bay, but after a number of calls Tony located a marina that had a couple of bags of frozen clams. Not ideal, but a trip saver. We lost a lot of time, but there was a good bite after we anchored again. Within a few hours 40 large blowfish were boated with over twice that in small ones released. We also had a half-dozen kingfish up to 12 inches and released a few tiny sea bass. That catch was far below what Tony is used to, but as I struggled to clean them for the first time in decades, I was glad there weren’t any more to deal with.

Striped bass have been on schools of mullet along Monmouth County beaches this week. Vinny D’Anton found the right spot this morning and released seven on his Chug Bug — including a 29-incher.Though a swell persists, surf conditions were good today. Unfortunately, we have stretch of northeast winds to screw it up.

. The morning forecast is for 15 to 20 knots with gusts to 30.

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