EAGLE COUNTY - The America Cup Fly Fishing Tournament has wrapped up its fifth year, and its second with Vail as headquarters. The catch-and-release tournament hosted 65 anglers representing six countries, all competing for the right to take home "The Cup," won this year by an international team with an Irish sponsor.
The tournament sent participants to the Colorado and Blue rivers, as well as Avon's Nottingham Lake and Sylvan Lake State Park. The water was challenging at times, but the fishermen adapted and all venues produced trout - 1,768 trout were scored and released.
Team Emerger from Ireland took home gold medals and earned The Cup. Team USA won the silver medals, and Team USA Youth Fly Fishing got bronze medals. Only two points separated the first- and second-place teams.
Tom Drinan of Cork, Ireland, earned top individual honors. Mark Hanes of Team Freestone/Maui Jim earned the silver and Aston Boone of Team USA Youth Fly Fishing, the bronze medal.
The event was highlighted at the awards banquet when organizers John Knight and Ben Metcalf, in their continued efforts to provide program and monetary support to veterans' programs, presented a check for $5,000 to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.
The Evergreen Lodge in Vail was the host hotel and Nova Guides supplied transportation to all fishing venues.
Sponsors and partners included the town of Vail, the the town of Avon for use of Lake Nottingham, Colorado Parks and Wildlife for use of Sylvan Lake, and Coyote River Ranch on the Colorado River and Blue Valley Ranch on the Blue River for providing the anglers access to those streams.