July 26, 2022
For the first time, Team USA won gold medals in both individual and team events at the 7th FIPS-Mouche Masters World Fly Fishing Championship held in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. The team brought home gold in the Masters class (over age 50) and angler Bret Bishop won individual gold, also in Masters.
“In the heat of the comp, you can't focus on winning, you can only think about the next fish,” Bishop said via email after the win. “We have been close before, so we understand how difficult it is to end up on the podium. This one is special because I got to share it with a great group of guys.”
The team consisted of Jerry Arnold (Team Manager), Pete Erickson, Mike Sexton, Jeff Currier, Loren Williams, and Bret Bishop. Their Italian guide was Stefano Sabbatelli. Team USA has won silver and bronze in previous competitions.
The win was considered an upset over the home-town Italian team, which is considered one of the best and which had home-water advantage.
“It is certainly a big deal that Team USA did this well,” Bishop added. “The Italian team made a charge in the last session that was impressive and the Czech and Belgian teams faded a bit.”
This year’s competition took place on Italy’s Sarca, Chiese and Noce rivers from July 18-23. There were 17 teams and 20 countries present. It consists of five three-hour-long sessions in which each team member is placed in a group with one member from each other country, which then rotate through the different sectors (rivers).
“The truth is it only comes down to a few fish in the end,” said Bishop. "We simply fished better throughout the entire comp.”
For more information and full results, visit Team USA’s Facebook page.