In 2012, a 17-year-old student named Riley Laymon had a dream to launch a high school bass fishing program in North Carolina. Inspired by the national movement elevating bass fishing to the same level as other school-sponsored team sports, Riley wrote a letter to his favorite teacher at Weddington High School outlining his vision.
7 days after his letter was written, Riley was killed in an automobile accident. In the wake of their son’s death, Riley’s parents, Tom and Lisa Laymon, received a copy of the letter that Riley had written outlining his desire to see a fishing club started at his school. With the support of friends, family, and the Charlotte community, the Laymons launched Riley’s Catch, a high school bass fishing club, and laid the foundation to see Riley’s dream come to life.
Since Riley’s Catch began, hundreds of students have been impacted through the power of Riley’s vision, using fishing and the outdoors as the context for inviting them into a greater life.
READ RILEY’S LETTER:
“Hey Mr. Schwartz! I have an idea and lots of ways to go about it and I think it would be good for Weddington! I have a TON of friends who love to fish and said they would for sure join a team or club if we had one (hopefully fishing team). I have a close family friend who is best friends with a bassmaster whom both live in my home town back in Illinois. They coach a team for a local high school and they are looking into what it takes to make it a sport in public schools for me tomorrow! They have been in the bassmaster tournament (a huge deal!) and they hand make lures and river hooks. They have just recently started making them for the public and have a website for it. They love the idea of students going out and fishing as a sport and being serious about it. They host these huge outdoor conventions and are trying to help out here. We live in the semi-countryside and there are plenty of high school fishers. I think it would be cool to get our school and maybe some other schools to get teams for friendly competition. These guys that wanna help are both strong Christian men and are all for students getting out and fishing and think it’s a good way to keep all of us out of trouble and have a good time. I know you love sports and are heavily involved in Weddington High School. What do you think about the idea? I’d like to know your opinion about it. PS. Code Orange Revival is so great! If you need seats and can’t get in let me know! My family is really involved with elevation and can get u reserved seats with us! I’ve never felt so different and good as I have been recently after elevation. I don’t know where I would be without elevation right now. It’s helping my life a lot and who knows maybe I could even get some of the fishing team to come too, but let me know what u think!
Thanks, really appreciate it! Riley Laymon.”
RILEY’S CATCH PILLARS
FUN – ENJOYING THE DAY AND THOSE YOU ARE SHARING IT WITH. SEE THE POTENTIAL IN THE SITUATION.
FRIENDSHIP – UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHERS’ NEEDS AND LENDING A HELPFUL HAND. A DEDICATION TO COMMUNITY.
FAITH – BEING ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOURSELF. IF WE ARE ABOUT OURSELVES, WE WILL BE LIMITED TO OURSELVES.
FISHING – LEARNING THE ART AND SCIENCE OF FISHING AND THE INTERDEPENDENCY IT HAS WITH A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT.