Welcome to this ultimate guide to magnet fishing! This guide will give you the information you need to know all about this enjoyable hobby, how to get started, where the best places are to magnet fish, and other useful information.
What Is Magnet Fishing?
Similar to metal detecting where objects are found on land using a metal detector, magnet fishing is about finding metal objects in bodies of water using strong magnets. Have you always imagined what could be at the bottom of a lake near where you live? There have been interesting finds by people who have been curious enough to tie a magnet at the end of a rope to answer this – many of them were very surprised with what they have found.
Magnet fishing is indeed an interesting and inexpensive outdoor hobby that anyone can do, and it gives the outdoor enthusiast a chance to interact with their environment in a very unique way. Imagine experiencing the thrill of the hunt of what you will find next, the excitement of pulling some metal treasure out of the water, and being able to easily and quickly see what’s ‘below the surface’ when you come across an interesting water spot that you think may be keeping something special.
Magnet Fishing Setup – Getting Started
For your magnet fishing setup, you will need a few things. Similar to fish angling where you have the hook, line, and sinker, with magnet fishing you will need a strong magnet as your hook and sinker, and a rope as your line that ties to the magnet. Where you magnet fish is important to increase the chances of finding metal, and there is also a large element of patience and curiosity needed. Unlike fish angling, magnet fishing provides quicker results in catching anything; you quickly get to know if there’s any metal lurking beneath the surface and be able to reel it in when you feel the magnet cling heavily on to something.
Magnet Fishing Magnets
You need a very strong magnet for magnet fishing. It is best to get the strongest magnet you can carry and tie securely to a rope. Keep in mind that the magnet’s pull force will be at its maximum when the metal object is fully flat against it. During magnet fishing however, a flat contact would be difficult to achieve as objects that have been sitting at the bottom of a lake for a long time tend to accumulate debris (soil, vegetation, rust, algae etc.), and the metal object itself may not be flat – this is why getting a much stronger magnet is advisable to compensate for these irregularities. Remember also that the bigger finds will need a stronger magnet to be pulled out of their longtime resting place, dragged through, and out of the water.
Best Magnets For Magnet Fishing
The best magnet to use for magnet fishing is a neodymium magnet as their relatively compact size can have a huge pull force. Neodymium magnets are rare-earth magnets and are considered to be one of the strongest magnets available. As a note of caution, please be very careful when handling these magnets as they are very strong and can cause injury, and can damage electronics. Never attempt to put two of these magnets together as they can shatter from the force.
Below is a neodymium N52 magnet that weighs under 2lbs but has a pull force of 500lbs. This one is made to have a countersunk screw fastened to it which makes it easy to attach an eyebolt to securely tie the line. Be sure to use loctite so the eyebolt doesn’t unscrew.
Here’s a really cool video showing how strong this magnet really is (must watch):
Best Rope For Magnet Fishing
In addition to a strong magnet, you will need a good rope as your line. We recommend to get a rope that is at least 50ft in length which would be long enough for shallow water and for fishing in most places. If you know for sure that where you want to fish is very deep, or you want to be able to cast your line far from the water’s edge, then you can use a 100ft rope. When fishing from bridges, then definitely use a 100ft rope.
We highly recommend using a good nylon paracord because of its strength, durability, elasticity, high abrasion resistance, and its ability to hold a knot very well; all these are important given the conditions that you may be fishing in where the water could be murky and the magnet becomes snagged on to something which would take some strong yanking of the rope to un-snag it. Its elasticity gives it slack, and since the paracord rope is light and thin, the pulling feedback you get when feeling the rope is a lot more sensitive; you will know when the magnet has caught something.
Be aware that not all paracords are equal as there are different grades of strength depending on how it’s made. Below is a nylon paracord, and it’s 50 feet in length. This one is 4mm, type 3, and has 7 braided core yarns that enables it to have a minimum strength of 550lbs making it a perfect compliment to the 500lbs magnet.
Magnet Fishing Supplies And Other Equipment
Like any outdoor activity, make sure you take along with you suitable gear to make the most of the experience. At minimum, bring a bucket to carry your finds, a brush to get rid of debris, and wear tough gloves to avoid injury when pulling the rope, and handling sharp and rusted metal. Bring along a small plastic container for storing small items like fishing hooks and lures, nails, and other metal bits. You can add a grappling hook to your gear which will become handy when retrieving heavy items.
Look after yourself by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sun block. Wearing insect repellent is very important as mosquitoes breed and inhabit water areas and their surrounds. You can choose to wear waterproof waders and gumboots depending on the area, such as swamps and wetlands.
Strong Knots To Use For Magnet Fishing
The best knot to use for magnet fishing is one where it tightens on itself, providing a secure hold on the magnet. Also, the knot needs to be one that is able to bear heavy weight. If you are a fish angler and have a favorite knot, then try using it for your magnet. For first-timers, we recommend the trusty Palomar knot which is very simple to tie and is considered by many to be one of the strongest knots.
Best Places To Magnet Fish
Almost all places have bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds, creeks, dams, canals, and sewers. You will definitely find metal in urban areas, and in places where people frequently visit, walk along, and is accessible by foot. Even in the countryside and remote parts, try fishing in less visited areas which may yield interesting metal finds that have been laying undisturbed for a long time. If you happen to spot an old well or drain, then definitely drop your magnet there.
Towns with history are great locations to magnet fish. You can just imagine what sorts of metal treasures have been long discarded from times of industrial development, gold rush, nearby disused munition factories and mines, and areas that were once battlefronts of war. Take the time to visit old towns and drop your magnet to see if you can find a piece of its history. Who knows, your finds may even contribute to the local museum.
Magnet Fishing Finds – What People Have Found
People have found all sorts of items when magnet fishing. If you’re one of the lucky ones (and there are many lucky magnet fishers) then you may have found anything from bullets, unexploded bombs, swords, hand guns to machine guns. Weapons aside, you may find road signs, shovels, tools, nails, fishing hooks, ball bearings, anchors, propellers, and other unique objects.
To improve your chances, go fishing in places most likely to yield metal treasure; places of interest, places with a rich history, and places where battles once took place. Fishing in World War 2 sites will yield items used during this period.
Below is part of the Basingstoke Canal UK where a six year-old girl and her parents reeled in 6,000 bullets. This area of the canal is located near Pirbright Army Training Centre.
Below is part of the canal in Christleton UK where a group of kids found a live grenade from World War 2 while magnet fishing. The grenade was safely detonated by authorities.
Is Magnet Fishing Legal?
When it comes to the legality of magnet fishing, the rules will vary depending on the country and state laws, and it is best to consult with the local government body if you are unsure. Different people will have different views as to whether magnet fishing is legal or illegal. However, you can choose to view magnet fishing as an environmentally friendly activity where it helps to clean the waterways of scrap.
Magnet fishing itself is not explicitly unlawful in most places, however littering and unrestricted dumping is. When discovering new places, be mindful of private property and ensure that all rubbish is disposed of thoughtfully, and never throw your finds back into the water. If you haul in guns and explosive devices, be sure to contact the local authorities as possessing these without permits is illegal, and are a dangerous threat to people’s safety if the weapons are still live, for example an un-exploded bomb; these items will need to be reported to the police so that they can be detonated safely.
Magnet Fishing Safety
The most important factor is yours and other people’s safety. Be considerate and always use common sense, and don’t magnet fish where signs indicate that no fishing is allowed.
If you’re fishing from a pier or bridge, ensure the magnet does not come close to any metal beams or poles as it will attach itself to them.
Remember to always be aware of your surroundings and be careful where you throw your magnet and line, as you wouldn’t want the magnet to attach itself to a moving watercraft or propeller.
So be a safe and environmentally conscious magnet fisher, and you can be proud that you’ve helped in some way to make a positive impact on the environment, while still enjoying this hobby and the outdoors.
Magnet fishing is suited for people who are curious, enjoy the outdoors, and who are patient. You can be a type of explorer, adventurer, and a big game hunter as your main interest, but the simplicity of just dropping a magnet and reeling it in after you sense the ‘magnetic clunk’ creates the excitement and anticipation of what will be brought to the surface. This excitement will never get old as you explore new places to fish, or quickly stop to drop your magnet when you stumble upon an interesting place. You can spend as little or as much time as you want on this hobby. Remember, you’re only one cast away from finding your next metal treasure.
Magnet fishing is indeed a fun hobby that can be enjoyed by everyone. It’s easy to get started and simple to set up, inexpensive, and provides a great amount of outdoor enjoyment. You can never get tired of exploring different places to magnet fish, and you can find interesting artifacts from history depending on the places that you choose. Lastly, make sure to always put safety first, and try taking along someone to share the experience with.