Dieter Stanford was born in Germany. After the loss of his natural father, Dieter's mother met and married an American GI and shortly after moved to Columbus, Georgia. Dieter, his dad ( a career soldier ), mother and brother lived on Ft Benning in family housing.
Dieter grew up in Columbus and learned to love the outdoors. His favorite activities being hunting deer and Indian artifacts, and of course bass fishing. Dieter also spent his time learning to use his hands crafting objects with paints and carvings. "We worked as outdoor sign painters and tradesmen" says Dieter recalling his first occupation.
His love of fishing brought him to a place where he wanted the challenge of building a lure that would entice a fish to bite. Hand carving several bodies out of different materials he chose Cedar as the best option for his lures due to its moderate buoyancy and rugged nature though it was more difficult to work. Dieter never believes in taking the short cut or easy way out.
Dieter started building his lures which quickly became popular in the golden age of American lure manufacturing.
Dieter had found his nitche and had Professional fisherman coming to him with ideas of body styles and paint schemes. Wanting their lures to perform in specific ways, they found the artisan that could bring their ideas to life. Having worked with the likes of Ron Clume, Jeff Faircloth, ect. Dieter found that he might be able to make a business out of this lure making thing. Knowing he had to learn the aspects of mass production, Dieter chose to work with Lee Sisson and soon was able to produce 1000 lures a week. Dieter made lures on contract for other lure manufacturers, Hog Caller, Bagley and others.
But his big break came when a Japanese writer was reporting on a pro who had just won a big tournament. This writer was in the boat and got a picture of the lure the pro was using. Not wanting to give away trade secrets the pro would not tell him the lure manufacturer. After searching, this industrious write finally found out the lure was made by Dieter Stanford. After he published his story Stanford lures exploded on the scene in the Japanese market. 95% of Stanford Lures made in the late 90's found there home in Japanese fishermen's tackle boxes.
Dieter was offered what he thought was the opportunity to grow his business into one of the top Lure Manufacturing companies in the world so in 2000 he moved to Cuthbert, Georgia, set up his operation and began producing his lures at a break neck pace. But a discrepancy with his new partner made it impossible for Dieter to guarantee oversight of the manufacturing process and hence quality of his brand. The contract was signed and rock solid. After much prayer and loss of sleep Dieter decided his name and product were more important than money. His only option was to shut down the operation for 2 years and pull the plug on his dream at the peak of his business. Dieter retired from the fishing industry.
Two years passed and Dieter continued filling orders from professional and serious amateurs that still had his personal contact information. He went into a period of time that provided him the ability to spend more time doing those things he loved, spending time with his family, hunting for ancient artifacts and of course fishing. Dieter also took the time to really study the Bass and its habits and tendency particularly as they relate to lure action. He went back to the drawing board and started designing new body styles and even playing with the possibility of using different materials.
He did find new body styles that created the exact action he wanted which gave him the passion to become a leading designer of bass crankbaits. He stuck with his belief that cedar is the only way to go. Dieter prettied up his lures adding foil and perfecting the paint process moving from a mass producer of lures to a custom artisan of made to order lures. He was offered an opportunity to build his lures off shore but in no way was Dieter going to sell his soul if the lure had his name on it.
Dieter, faced with the reality that his dream had past, he felt he had missed his chance to make lure making his life’s work. So Dieter settled for finding a job but in the depressed U.S. economy. The lack of jobs in a small south Georgia community forced him to have to travel hours everyday back to Columbus Ga.
It was during this time that Dieter happened to see a friend of his from a near by community at his daughters track meet. Knowing this fellow to be an entrepreneur, Dieter kiddingly exclaimed “how your business? Mine is non existent. How would you like to get in the lure business?” Dieter was invited to come over and fish a pond near his friends home. This fellow’s 22 year old son, Ben, met Dieter and watched as Dieter's first cast produced a fine bass. Astounded, Ben was hooked just like the bass. So became the beginning of the rebirth of Stanford Lures.
Ben’s father felt this was a good opportunity for Ben (an aspiring musician). He asked Ben if he would like to work with Dieter. Dieter immediately saw Ben's ability to work with his hands and an aptitude to do quality work even with the most tedious steps of lure making. Every day Ben and Dieter met at their shop and built the finest lures available anywhere. Dieter beleives that in a few years Ben will be able to do most of the steps. But cutting, painting, and tuning are things Dieter feels he will have to continue to do.
Dieter’s German heritage could be a reason he demands only the best materials, insane quality standards and an unyielding process. It is his learned American pride and individualism that is responsible for his no compromising "I'll do it myself or it won't be done" attitude. Spend a day in Dieter's shop and you will know what this means. Dieter is laid back and full of mischief but his product he will put up against anyone’s with no questions asked and he knows they might be good but his is great. Perfection is something that Dieter strives for in his fishing lures and it is something that he pretty near accomplishes with each one of the Stanford Lures produced.