What Is Magnet Fishing? Hint: It Won’t Help You Catch Any Actual Fish

2 adults in a river

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Having come across magnet fishing, I was curious to know if it’s a different form of fishing. I wanted to find out what it entails. After conducting some research, here’s what I discovered. 

What is magnetic fishing? It’s treasure hunting that involves finding metal objects in water using strong magnets. All you need is to tie a magnet at the end of a rope, and you’re bound to find something interesting.

Anyone can do magnet fishing as it’s inexpensive, but it’s also an interesting hobby that allows you to interact with the environment. Similar to ordinary fishing, magnet fishing comes with some thrill of the hunt. You can quickly tell what’s below the surface anytime you think a specific water spot may have something special. 

If this sounds interesting, keep reading to find out more on what it takes to get started with magnet fishing, and how to do it safely.

What Can You Find When Magnet Fishing?

old keys

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What is magnet fishing? The exciting hobby could unearth some unique things. You can find anything under the bottom of the sea. For example, some people have found washing machine tubs, car wheels, old keys, and musket balls. You can also recover lost wedding rings or helmets from back in the day.

You’re likely to find useless scrap that may not be of interest or value to you. Don’t go magnet fishing hoping to retrieve some silver and gold, mainly because magnets only pull ferromagnetic metals. Gold and silver do not belong to this type of metal.

Chances of you finding a golden locket are high if it has a ferromagnetic metal chain. Some people have come across old coins and weapons. If you’re looking to improve your chances of finding unique items, go fishing in places where battles occurred, areas of interest, or places with a rich history like World War II sites. 

What You Need To Start Magnet Fishing

You require a few things to get started with magnet fishing, these include:

A Magnet

Magnet fishing requires you to use a magnet to find sunken treasures. You need to get a strong magnet with an eyebolt to thread the rope. Remember that you’ll need the magnet’s pull force at a maximum when the metal object is flat against it. However, with time, items underneath the lake accumulate debris, which makes it challenging to get these objects. 

Quality magnets like neodymium magnets are robust and feature rare earth metals. These magnets can make up for these irregularities. 


Another essential is a rope as it helps you retrieve what your magnet will catch. Find a rope made from paracord or nylon, as it can handle more weight than the magnet.  You can retrieve the treasure and magnet you find with a quality rope.

Paracord ropes are an excellent choice due to their abrasion resistance, strength, elasticity, and durability. Moreover, these ropes can handle a knot well compared to other lines. You need these elements given the fact that you may be fishing in a dark area. These ropes are thin and light, which allows you to know when you’ve caught something. 


You need a reliable pair of gloves in your equipment box. Gloves help to keep your hands clean and dry. Choose gloves that are resistant to cuts from old waterlogged metal. You don’t want to deal with injuries when you’re out treasure hunting.

Boxes Or Cans

At the end of your hunt, you’ll want a place that can store the treasure. Having different sizes of buckets can help you sort out items as you bring them up from the water, 


You need to stay safe while hunting. A hand sanitizer comes in handy when you get messy. You may also require a small knife or some scissors. For example, if your rope is caught in a fishing line, you’ll need to cut it to continue with magnet fishing. A tackle box is also useful as it keeps everything organized. 

A grappling hook can come in handy when you need to retrieve heavy items. All you need is to place it on your gear, and you’re good to go. Bring sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses on a sunny day. A mosquito repellant is also a must-have as most water areas are mosquito infested.

You can choose to add a thread lock as an extra safety measure. It prevents you from losing the magnet. 

Knots To Use For Magnet Fishing

The best knot should tighten itself to hold onto the magnet. The knot should handle any heavyweight. Fish anglers can use their knot with a magnet. Beginners will find it simple to tie knots more easily to use. 

The Best Places To Magnet Fish


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You can go magnet fishing in places that have bodies of water like dams, rivers, lakes, swamps, or sewers. Go to places where people like to visit, areas accessible by foot, or places where people love walking.

Try visiting remote and countryside areas as these places may have some exciting finds. Drop your magnet if you come across an old drain or well. Choose towns with unique history when magnet fishing. For example, cities with old factories or places that were battlefronts of what could lead you to some metal treasures. 

Steps On How To Go Magnet Fishing

To get started, you need to:


Find A Water Body

You need to decide on the best place to magnet fish in. Find a location that is likely to have metallic structures. Select a site that is away from casting anglers as you don’t want to interfere when your magnet clings to their hooks. 


Prepare Your Gear

It’s time to set up your gear after you’ve found your fishing spot. Attach the magnet to the rope by using a carabiner clip or securing it with a knot. Ensure that the knot is tightened to prevent it from loosening under the water. You can check out the Palomar knot that works well for magnetic fishing.


Lower The Magnet

Throw in the magnet if you’re fishing in a canal. Make sure to keep a tight grip on the rope. Do the same if you’re magnet fishing in a large body of water.


Reel The Rope In

After you feel like your magnet has caught something, you need to start pulling it back in. Do this carefully and gently to avoid losing what you may have picked. 


Lower the Magnet

Throw in the magnet if you’re fishing in a canal. Make sure to keep a tight grip on the rope. Do the same if you’re magnet fishing in a large body of water.


Drag The Magnet

Try to move the magnet along the bottom of the water if you haven’t managed to catch anything. Avoid throwing the magnet in and pulling in at once. You may find this a challenge if you’re magnet fishing at a lake. 

You can try using a kayak as it allows you to pass along with the magnet underwater. With this, you’re able to cover a large area, something that increases your chances of getting something unique.  

Magnetic Fishing Safety Tips

Although magnet fishing is exciting, you need to stay safe. Check if the place is safe and doesn’t pose any tripping hazard. Always have a first aid kit, and wear thick gloves when treasure hunting. Always clean the equipment after use. Have a sanitizer for times when you need to wash your hands.

Bring a friend along. Do keep magnets 30cm away from electrical devices. Always report any unexploded ammunition and bombs to authorities. 

 Is Magnetic Fishing Legal?

Although there are no specific laws against magnetic fishing, this may change in the future.  Nonetheless, you should contact the local authorities of the wildlife department before you decide to magnet fish. 

Some places may restrict magnetic fishing. For example, a fish pond may be susceptible to interference, which is why this may be illegal. 

It’s also essential to know the magnetic fishing code of conduct. Always consider the public and all people. Get permission from the local authorities or landowner in which the body water is. Ensure that you remove any scrap litter and metal, do not leave anything on the sides.

You need to report all finds under the treasure laws in your locality. Avoid throwing any scrap finds back in the water. It’s necessary to report anything suspicious like weaponry, bombs, or ammunition to the authorities. Respect the wildlife and record anything you may find something of historical interest.

Final Thoughts

What is magnet fishing? Magnetic or magnet fishing involves looking for metallic objects in wild waterways. You’re not going to catch any fish as you’re more like a metal detectorist and not an angler. The exciting hobby could help you find old guns, car parts, bicycles, rings, safes, coins, and other items. 

Always pick the best supplies in regards to the magnet, ropes, gloves, and other extras like sunscreen and thread lock. Use the above tips to find a safe place to go treasure hunting. Get some friends and have fun magnet fishing. 


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