Anytime I say I’ve started, or that I go magnet fishing, after receiving the typical you have three-heads look, the conversation goes a little something like this:
“what is magnet fishing?”
“Can you catch fish with magnets?”
Well first off, magnet fishing does not have anything to do with typical rod and reel fishing, so no I’m not trying to catch fish with magnets (although I did see a YouTube video where someone technically caught a fish while magnet fishing). The basic concept of magnet fishing is simply taking a strong magnet (typically with a pulling force between 150-500lbs), tying the magnet securely to a rope (strong enough not to break under 150-500lbs of force), and throwing the magnet into a lake/river or “bobbing” it around docks.
“Ok, so no fish. so What’s the point?”
Well depending on the area (history, crime, foot traffic, etc), you are looking for lost or discarded treasure, but honestly it’s mostly garbage with an occasional great find. Magnet fishing is a very small niche hobby but it does wrap around the world. I’m a member of 3 separate Facebook groups (2 are around 900 members and the USA group is just over 200 members)…yes it’s a very small niche hobby. So back to the finds. I have only gotten out twice so far and found a few rust fishing hooks/lures (none salvageable), some bobbers, pieces from a folding chair, various bits of metal and a 2 foot section of train track steel.
“So your collecting garbage?”
Well, yes and no. Part of magnet fishing is, “if you pull it up, you gotta dispose of it”. It’s sort of the code that magneteers follow. So any garbage ends up being removed from the waterways, and who can’t appreciate that. Although I’ve mostly pulled out junk, others have retrieved everything from safes, guns, ammunition, phones, and even WWII bombs…yes bombs. In heavily fished areas around docks and ramps things like knives, pliers, and fishing poles are common finds.
“So how did you get started?”
Honestly, YouTube. Somehow I stumbled upon a video late one night (like many of my hobbies) and thought, hmm that looks like it could be interesting. So I watched a few more videos, then joined a few facebook groups, and bought some magnets and rope. This of course all transpired in about a weeks time.
Currently I have 5 “fishing” magnets ranging from 120 to 500 pounds of pull force. They are serious magnets that can do some serious damage if not careful. I’ve build custom “spools” using my CNC for storage and travel but we’ll save that one for another day.