AMHERST, Ohio (WFXR) — Team USA will compete for gold at the World Boat Angling Championship in Riga, Latvia October 5-7. The tournament is put on by the International Sport Fishing Federation. Teams representing countries around the world will compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals.

The target species for this event are predators. On this particular body of water in Latvia that means European perch, northern pike, and Zander. European perch are similar to the yellow perch found in North America; zander are the European cousin of walleye.

The members of Team USA have plenty of experience with perch, pike, and walleye, and all are accomplished walleye tournament pros and all are from Ohio, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. They are Ryan Buddie, Max Wilson, John Hoyer, and Nick Schertz. All are proud to represent their country in international fishing competition.

“It’s kind of a surreal opportunity,” Buddie of Amherst, Ohio said. “I mean I get to wear the red, white, and blue and compete for the United States of America.”

While fish like the zander are similar to walleye, there are also differences in behavior. Team members say experience in last year’s world championship will help them adjust this year. Fishing an unknown lake on a different continent presents challenges.

A zander caught in last year’s world championship (Photo: Ryan Buddie)

“It’s tough, you know, but we approach this like any other tournament,” Buddie said. “You get online, you try to find out as much as you can about the body of water. The thing about it is it’s top predator species. They’re going to be predators just like any other predator, even if it’s a predator fish we’re not accustomed to.”