The founder and CEO of FISHSTONE
How I got into angling
My father introduced me to fishing at the early age of five. I began to catch my first fish with a stick and a simple pole on my grandfather’s jetty on Lake Schwieloch in Brandenburg. The hobby quickly developed into a passion. At the earliest possible age, I took the fishing licence A exam. From then on, we went to the water all the time. Together with my school and fishing friends, we were always drawn out to our shared adventures and tried out countless things. I remember well how exciting the first overnights on the water were for us. The sounds in the darkness, the cracking and crackling of the forest all too often sent shivers down our spines, but it was precisely this feeling of being alive that we loved. At this time we took turns to sleep for half an hour but hardly slept a wink in anticipation of a fish grabbing our worm and making the bells ring.
How carp fishing shaped my awareness of nature
I discovered specialised carp fishing at the age of 19. It was overwhelming for me to target such enormous fish. I was fascinated to learn all the little tricks and techniques to catch this species. Perhaps due to my move to hectic Berlin, I enjoyed every trip to the countryside, especially from 2014 onwards, and spent over 50 nights on the water that year. During this time, I increasingly developed an eye for the beautiful nature and began to deal with the pollution of the lakes. After every fishing trip, I carefully picked up the rubbish in the entire area. A rethinking began in my mind and, as it turned out, also in a large number of other anglers. Especially passionate anglers who are frequently on the water are becoming more and more concerned with the careful treatment of their environment. The deeper I got into the subject, the more my understanding of the ecosystems under water grew at the same time. In the analysis of feeding habits, environmental influences and special behaviours, it became clearer and clearer to me that underneath the so inconspicuous surface lie sensitive biotopes in which everything functions in a balance with each other. This made me even more aware of how crucial my intervention as an angler is for the waters. Everything is connected. From water quality to plants, micro-organisms, mussels and the fish we catch, everything is interconnected. In order to fish for healthy fish, this balance must remain in tact and the ecosystem must be in harmony. So this should become a goal that I pay attention to as an angler.
From passion to vocation
With the founding of FISHSTONE, my relationship to angling changed once again. Make your hobby your profession, or rather your vocation, as the saying goes. But such a change rarely goes smoothly. I dived into the world of social networks, which was new to me, and suddenly began to document and present all my fishing, so that the usual exits with my best friends changed visibly. After two years of change, I realised that I needed new goals, because simply going to the water and switching off could no longer be my incentive.
I want to learn and become a better and better angler. That was the realisation that gave me new energy and drive. I found a new passion in fine-tuning the details and discovering new fishing worlds, most of which I was at the very beginning of. So I first embarked on my educational journey through the worlds of carp fishing, until I finally found my way back to the roots of my childhood – the fascination for fishing in general, probably one of the most versatile and varied hobbies in the world with endless possibilities.
So I got into catfishing, looked around at the sea and began to see the quality of my profession in the fact that it offers an endless journey of discovery that provides me with countless more adventures.
FISHSTONE – a clear course with clear principles
A second and equally important point that I became aware of during my discovery as a person and entrepreneur of the angel scene is the special position of FISHSTONE as a company that is fundamentally built on sustainability. Through my firm hold on my ideals and the stability of my values, my role in the angel scene gradually became clearer to me. I have a voice and that voice is getting louder. I realised what FISHSTONE should stand for and found my role as an ambassador for hidden worlds that only talk to us when we look and listen very closely – Our Waters. They speak to us through the many little signals that we need to know how to interpret and I put all my energy and strength into protecting and preserving them so that we can continue to pursue our inspiring passion, the adventure of angling, for a long time to come with a clear conscience.
I want to support this growing movement by advancing the technical possibilities of sustainable angling. I would like to contribute my part to the ecological awareness of the angling scene in order to offer all people, including future generations, the opportunity to experience nature clean and in its well-protected beauty.
My professional background on the development of fishing equipment
My attitude towards angling and nature was already shaped in my childhood days
Already in my childhood, two cornerstones were laid for me to work on FISHSTONE today. From the very beginning, I was raised by my parents to be environmentally conscious. A responsible approach to raw materials and nature were always part of my parents’ values. I spent my early childhood in a city flat and moved to the countryside at the age of 9, where I spent a lot of time outdoors and was constantly in contact with nature. Whether with the neighbour’s rabbits or watching the newts in the ditches, I was always fascinated by being out in nature and studying it. My mother’s work in aquatic ecology and management gave me special access to insights into this world as a young boy. While the test tubes rotated on the centrifuge, my mother showed me how she analysed water samples or examined small animals from our lakes and rivers. My relationship to water and especially my awareness of the ecosystems behind it was thus shaped at an early age.
From mechanical engineer to startup entrepreneur – broke but creative and dedicated
The second aspect stems from the engineering orientation of my family. With my grandfather as a mechanical engineer and my father as a person who was always tinkering and building, I was introduced to finding creative solutions for constructive activities at an early age. We were always building and when one project was finished, we looked for the next one. My decision to study mechanical engineering at the Technical University in Dresden probably stemmed not least from this background. In my development as a general, constructive mechanical engineer, however, an important part was missing, namely the connection between technology and nature. During a student research project, I realised that it is possible to develop machines that have a useful purpose for nature. I deepened my studies in the field of virtual product creation and product development for agricultural machinery. Here I learned the skills as well as the thought patterns of a prospective development engineer.
After completing my diploma at the Fraunhofer Institute, I was once again faced with the question of where to continue my journey. During my time at the Fraunhofer, I had worked on topics related to virtual reality and as much as I was fascinated by the technologies and the scientific work at this institute, I was again missing the connection to people and nature. At the same time, my passion for fishing and spending time on the water was growing when the first idea for FISHSTONE came to us. After much deliberation and a few months later, I made the decision that FISHSTONE should be my life’s work. I decided to apply for Hartz 4 instead of applying to a mechanical engineering company. It took a whole three years of preparation, many sacrifices, courage and strength to pursue my dream, because while my friends were building houses, I worked nights through in the small office room of my flat, probably barely above the poverty line, until one day it finally took off.
Would I do it that way again? Absolutely! It is a path full of adventure and with many ups and downs, but it gives me the feeling that I am doing the right thing. FISHSTONE offers me the opportunity to combine my dream of self-employment with my professional and financial independence. It offers me the chance to combine an economically promising concept with my deep ideals and my desire for ecologically sustainable living. This is a task for which every day is valuable.