In the hallowed halls of Metairie's Ridgewood Prep, deep in the dusty corners of painted hallways, amidst the clanging of slammed locker doors, the faint echo of one name still resonates.
Listen closely, and you'll hear it. Peer through the glass of the well-stocked trophy case, and you'll see it.
It's a name that rolls from the tongues of foam-fingered boosters, sitting in bleachers and reminiscing of the school's glory days.
It's the name Glenn Leingang.
Back in the early '90s, he was a force on the field, court and diamond that was and is unmatched in the comprehensive annals of Ridgewood athletics.
Pick up a Times-Picayune sports page from that era, and you're as likely to see his picture as that of Peter Finney's.
He was named to the All-State baseball team once, the All-State basketball team twice, the All-Metro basketball team three times, the All-Metro baseball team once, the All-District football team three times and was twice the All-District MVP in basketball.
His opponents throughout the Greater New Orleans area all knew him and feared him.
Too bad none of them knew to bring along a can of StarKist.
Tuna, it appears, has the same effect on Glenn Leingang as kryptonite on Superman.
That was as clear as the flat, blue water during a trip the former Ridgewood standout made last summer. He had asked his good friend, Chad Harvey, to guide him to Harvey's favorite tuna grounds south of Cocodrie. It was Leingang's 30th birthday, and he wanted to do something "out of the box" that he would remember for years to come.
Instead, he did something that his friends would never forget.
Tuna virgin that he was, it was unanimously decided that the birthday boy would be first up on the rod.
Harvey figured that first bite would come on a slow-trolled live hardtail. He had been absolutely blistering the yellowfins during the weeks prior, and the fish wouldn't even sniff anything but a lively hardtail pulled through their lair.
So Harvey and his motley crew of offshore neophytes spent the finest minutes of the morning, when the surface of the sea seemed to be giving birth to the sun, with trout rods in their hands and sabiki rigs on the ends of their lines.
The rigs were easy to cast — and it was a good thing. Making bait proved almost as challenging as catching a muskie on Toledo Bend.
"I don't know why, but in this section of the Gulf, the hardtails are really hard to catch," Harvey said. "Closer to the river, you can catch all you want in a few minutes, but over here, it takes a while to make all your bait."
Still, when the crew's casting was done, eight hardtails enjoyed a Jacuzzi bath and a high-speed ride across the surface of the docile Gulf. For them, it was a day at the spa.
Three hours after leaving his camp near CoCo Marina, Harvey finally throttled down, pulled two rods from the rocket launchers and eased them into the rod holders.
He gave a couple of his hardtail guests some new body piercings, and sent them back into their salty, deep-blue home. Harvey eased one motor into gear, and began a slow crawl adjacent to the Genesis rig in Green Canyon 209.
It wasn't long before Josh Lincoln, one of Leingang's closest friends, shrieked like a schoolgirl. A school of tuna had erupted a mere 50 yards in front of the boat.
With all eyes pinned on the school, the display was mesmerizing. Hundred-pound fish breached the surface and rocketed into the air like they were quarter-pound mullet.
Harvey had seen the acrobatics too many times to count during his eight years fishing the area, and he knew what would happen next: Any minute a giant yellowfin would end one of the hardtail's day at the spa, and would send an angler plummeting into the pit of a physical hell.
A skilled angler who was raised in Chauvin, Harvey outflanked the school, and turned to ease his baits into the action. Fish the size of scud missiles shot through the surface all around the baits, many seeming to crash directly into the lines on their re-entry.
But none filled their gullets with the free offerings.
Soon the school sounded, and the crew was chasing the next eruption.
Again, the result was equally disappointing.
"Some days they do this," Harvey said. "They just won't touch a live bait."
Harvey tried to lure a strike from another school, and when that failed, he pulled out a knife and a cutting board.
"Cap, start chopping up some pogies," he ordered, and Daniel "Cap" Verret sheepishly picked up the knife.
What Harvey didn't realize was that such a request was like asking a man with severe acid reflux to eat a bowl of habaneros.
Verret and Lincoln were the last two contestants in the previous evening's poker game, and refusing to split the pot, Verret eventually won the battle of attrition. But it was a Pyrrhic victory that cost him a night's sleep as well as his sea legs.
He was ever on the verge of donating his breakfast to Davy Jones.
But despite repeated gags and dry-heaves, Verret took one for the team, and cut up a dozen or so half-frozen pogies.
When Harvey saw another school of tuna come up, he motored toward it, stopped the boat and began tossing out a chunk every few seconds.
Within minutes, the crew was delighted to see football-sized yellowfins tearing through the chunks and filling their bellies with the free meals.
Harvey impaled an extra-large chunk with a black Borrows 6/0 bait hook, and sent it down. The fluorocarbon leader was invisible in the clear water, so the chunk looked no different than the several others the tuna found so enticing.
Leingang stood ready with a fighting belt hanging loosely beneath his ample waistline. His friends couldn't wait to see what would befall him — especially considering what had happened two years earlier.
On that trip, while fishing the Cocodrie marsh during a church rodeo, Leingang was delighted to feel a bite on the end of his line. He began reeling, his line stiffened and his rod bowed. With great theatrical fanfare, he pushed his way across the deck of the boat to gain a better angle, and talked merciless trash to his fishless buddies.
Finally, his prey grew weary, and Leingang worked it to boatside, where Harvey waited with a net.
That catch likely would have won the rodeo — if the church had included a category for blue crab.
But, of course, none of the knowledge Leingang gained from his fight with the lunker crustacean would come into play here, and Harvey knew it.
He grinned while holding the rod, in full anticipation of what was about to happen.
That grin grew to a full-blown smile when line began to strip from the reel as quickly as if it had gotten tangled in the prop. Harvey let the fish run for about five seconds, and then slammed the drag home. The rod bowed and bucked in protest, and Harvey handed the outfit to an eager Leingang.
Harvey helped guide the butt of the rod into the gimbal, made sure Leingang had a secure grip on the rod, and then eased back to enjoy the show.
Angered by the hook in its jaw, the fish sought solace the only place it could — in the depths. Leingang could do nothing but watch as line just seemed to melt from the reel.
It was obvious that the fish that took the large pogie chunk wasn't one of the footballs the crew had seen chowing on the unimpaled bits of bait only moments earlier.
"That's a big tuna," Harvey said. "That's a hundred-pound tuna."
Leingang could only grunt in agreement. Finally, the fish stopped sounding, and Harvey barked instructions.
"Reel, reel, reel!" he yelled.
Despite his considerable athletic prowess, Leingang couldn't have cranked more clumsily if he had spent the ride out sucking dry a quart of MeMaw's white lightning.
The fish, apparently realizing it was being pulled upward, sounded again in protest. Leingang's knees actually buckled as his biceps burned to keep the rod from adding to the rig's structure.
"I can't do this!" he said, his voice shrill and confused.
No one on board was about to provide any help, however. Or at least not any physical help.
"Use your legs more."
"Pick the fish up with the rod."
Leingang's friends offered more advice than Dr. Phil.
But, alas, five minutes into the fight, it became obvious Leingang would have nothing to do with this tuna. He pulled the rod from the gimbal and held it with quivering arms looking to hand it off.
Harvey, fearing the sight of his tuna stick being yanked from Leingang's fragile grasp, took over the fight. Less than a week earlier, Harvey had won a war with a 192-pounder at this same rig, so he knew a thing or two about fighting big tuna.
With near-perfect technique, he muscled the fish toward the surface. As is the custom of tuna, the fish gave up depth only begrudgingly, swimming in constant, wide-swinging circles.
Finally, the crew spotted its outline about 60 feet down. Harvey, weary from the battle, sensed that the end was near, and worked the fish even harder than before.
That's when his rod snapped like a year-old twig after a summer drought.
The fish, however, was too exhausted to take advantage of the gear failure. Harvey used nothing but the reel to drag the spent tuna the remaining 60 feet to the boat.
It would later pull a scale to 130 pounds, and would be joined in the fish box by three other yellowfins.
That's a ho-hum catch for Harvey, who has been fishing this area, without much company, for eight years.
"Most people fish for tuna out of Venice or Grand Isle, but you don't see a lot of people fishing for tuna at these rigs," he said. "This is some of the best tuna fishing in the state."
The lack of pressure has a direct correlation with the quality of the fishing, he said. On weekends or holidays, the pressure picks up, and Harvey notices a difference.
"Sometimes you'll pull up to a rig, and there'll be eight boats there dragging for tuna," he said. "When I see that, I just leave. You don't want to see more than a couple of boats there. It doesn't really bother the tuna, but the bait scatters."
When Harvey arrives at a rig he wants to fish, he'll motor upcurrent, and work that side of the rig. His first choice this time of year is live hardtails, which tuna seldom refuse.
He rigs them on black hooks tied to 12 to 15 feet of 60-pound fluorocarbon leader, which is tied to 60-pound monofilament main line. His reels are Penn International 50s and Shimano Tiagras mounted on 5 1/2-foot tuna sticks.
He drops the baits back, and uses only enough throttle to keep the fish from catching up with the boat.
"You don't really want to troll them," he said. "You just want to keep them moving and keep them from swimming under the boat."
Harvey will blind troll until he sees a school of tuna on the surface. Then he'll run a wide path around them, and position himself 100 yards upcurrent of the feast.
It's seldom long before one or both rods go off.
Occasionally, however, the tuna will be feeding on smaller baitfish, and they'll completely ignore the live hardtails. Also, during the middle hours of hot summer days, the fish will stay in deep, cooler waters, refusing to surface until the sun gets lower on the horizon.
Under these conditions, it becomes imperative to chum the fish up using chunks of cut bait.
This becomes a delicate balancing act of throwing out enough chunks to get the fish interested, but not so much that they remain content feeding in the deep water.
"You want them to work their way up as they're feeding," Harvey said.
Also, it's important that the bait with the hook in it is allowed to fall unimpeded.
"The fish won't touch it if it's not free-falling," he said.
They also won't touch it if they see the hook.
"I've kind of learned the hard way that you've got to use black hooks," he said. "If you don't have a black hook, you've got to totally bury the hook in the chunk."
There are few things more exciting than seeing a hundred-plus-pound tuna tearing through chunks of bait in the water, and knowing that he'll strike the hunk with the hook in it at any moment.
It's a common sight at these Green Canyon floaters, which many anglers overlook in favor of more easterly tuna waters.
They'll always hold a special place in the heart of Glenn Leingang.
But don't look for a new tuna-shaped trophy with his name on it in the glass case at Ridgewood.