9 Magnet Fishing Tips: What Will You Find?
As enthusiasts on everything fishing, we’ve been hearing more and more about a different kind of fishing that our friends are getting into: magnet fishing. Magnet fishing isn’t actually used for catching fish, it’s used to find discarded or lost metal items underwater.
Magnet fishers often find lost tools, electronics, jewelry, and even guns! This sounded intriguing to us so we decided to do some detailed research and try our hand at magnet fishing. Remember, we’re hooked on all types of fishing, so why shouldn’t we get into magnet fishing as well?
After many attempts and hours researching proper technique, we came up with the following 9 magnet fishing tips. These magnet fishing tips are a great starting point for an aspiring magnet fisherman and will serve as an excellent guide to starting a magnet fishing hobby.
What is Magnet Fishing?
Before we get into our magnet fishing tips, let’s quickly go over what exactly magnet fishing is. Magnet fishing is a technique where a powerful magnet is attached to a rope and dropped into a body of water to pick-up sunken objects. Since the magnets are powerful, they’ll easily pick up anything metal that they come in contact with. Magnet fishing has been popular in Europe for the last decade but has recently taken off in rural parts of the US in the past few years.
The growing popularity of magnetic fishing has been fueled by stories of magnet fishermen finding rare items like jewelry and even guns. This in turn has intrigued many true-crime enthusiasts, who like to go magnet fishing in order to try and recover a lost weapon or help solve an age-old mystery. With the rise of true-crime podcasts like Serial and To Live and Die in LA, millennials have grown fascinated with trying to solve cases that were never resolved.
Has magnet fishing caught your interest yet? Let’s begin with the first magnet fishing tip to get you started – which magnet fishing kit your should get!
Magnet Fishing Tip #1: Get a Proper Magnet Fishing Kit
It’s rather simple to get started with magnet fishing as there are many magnet fishing kits on the market today. But which magnet fishing kit should you get? Don’t worry, we’ve outlined our favorites for you below. If you would rather get the components separately, check out our magnet fishing supplies and best magnets for magnet fishing articles.
The Brute Box 1,200lb Original Magnet Fishing Bundle is the gold standard when it comes to magnet fishing. The above kit comes with everything you need to start magnet fishing – a hardshell carrying case, extra-strong nylon rope with carabiner, and a bottle of thread lock. The 1,200lb magnet will power through almost anything you throw at it and has a great magnetic range for picking multiple items. A word of warning: if you get it stuck to something too heavy for you to lift or the beam of a bridge, you’ll need a friend to help you pull it off.
If you want to introduce a younger fisherman to magnet fishing or have a tighter budget, we recommend getting the Brute Box 300lb Junior Magnet Fishing Bundle. The Brute Box 300lb Junior Magnet Fishing Bundle will be able to pull up most items you encounter and won’t overpower younger or less strong users.
Another great option for starting out, the Beast Magnets by Pop 575lb Fishing Magnet Bundle Pack isn’t as strong as the 1,200lb Brute Box but will get the job done if you’re on a tighter budget. It also comes with a pair of garden gloves that act as protection against any sharp objects or rope burns. Another added bonus is that it comes with a grappling hook.
Magnet Fishing Tip #2: Tie Secure Knots
After you’ve bought a magnet fishing kit, the next step is to make sure your magnet is tied effectively to your magnet fishing rope. This is crucial because if you get your magnet stuck you’ll need your knots to hold up to pulling it off. We recommend tieing either a Palomar knot or a figure-eight follow-through knot. Check out the video below to learn how to tie a figure-eight follow-through knot.
Magnet Fishing Tip #3: Fish Where People Are
Your best bet for finding the most stuff is to fish where there’s a lot of foot traffic. These areas have the highest chance for people losing their things in the water. Makes sense, right? Touristy areas such as bridges and piers are great places to start.
You should also do some scouting ahead of time using Google maps. Looks for high traffic footbridges as well as park areas close to water. Piers and docks often prove to be the most productive. It’s not uncommon to find fishing equipment, car parts, guns, and even bikes close to these areas.
Magnet Fishing Tip #4: Use Proper Form
There are several methods that work well for magnet fishing depending on where you’re fishing from and what you’re trying to pick up. Let’s split our magnet fishing tips up by location.
Start by dividing the pier or dock off into sections using the railing posts. For each section, try to sweep the bottom of the water 3 or 4 times on both sides. Start with your first sweep as close to the pier as possible, then sweep an additional foot out each subsequent time. Go as far out as your arm can reach.
As far as the actual sweeping motion, it’s more of a hop. Lower your magnet down to the bottom them pull it up 3 inches and move it 5 inches down the section. Set it back down on the bottom and repeat.
Something to be aware of when fishing from piers is if they have metal support beams. These beams are not your friend! Keep your magnet at least a foot and half away from them to prevent getting it stuck. Floating docks are the best because you can actually fish underneath them. Drag your magnet from one side to the other to see what other magnet fishermen may have missed.
Follow the same technique you would use for piers/docks on each side of the bridge. Just be aware of pedestrians and cars! Don’t obstruct their path and share the bridge.
For parks and beaches, you’ll want to cast your magnet out as far as you can then drag it back in to shore. Try to cast out from the beach in a fan pattern, starting from one side of the beach then make your way in a semi-circle all the way to the other side of the shore. Make your first cast about 15 degrees from parallel with the shore. Don’t forget to be careful when casting your magnet! It’s a heavy object and can cause serious damage if it hits anything or anyone.
Another key magnet fishing tip is dealing with stuck items. Sometimes in rivers and lakes with muddy bottoms, you’ll feel your magnet latch onto something then fall off since it is stuck in the mud. The key to getting the item out of the mud is to let you magnet attach to it, then slowly apply pressure to start lifting the object out of the mud. Wait for the water to wash away the extra mud holding it down, and slowly continue to add pressure until the item comes free.
Magnet Fishing Tip #5: Know How to Retrieve a Stuck Magnet
If you go magnet fishing long enough eventually you’ll end up getting your magnet stuck. This can happen one of two ways: either the magnet is stuck under a rock or other obstruction, or it’s stuck on something metal.
Stuck on an Obstruction
When your magnet gets stuck on an obstruction like a rock or tree log, your best option is to try pulling the magnet from different angles. This is when wearing a swimsuit or being able to get in the water a bit helps a lot. If it doesn’t come lose after pulling from different angles from where you’re standing, try using a long stick that has a fork at the end. Slide the forked end down your line and apply pressure to pull from a different angle. This is usually your best option if your magnet gets stuck while fishing from a bridge or pier. If that still doesn’t work, your last option is to dive down to where it is and dislodge it. If you need a pair of diving fins, check out our guide on the best fins for freediving to get a pair. You might want to consider getting a wetsuit too if the water is cold. Don’t endanger yourself by diving or swimming in areas you don’t feel comfortable in.
Stuck on Metal
The other way your magnet can get stuck is when it attaches to something metal that is too heavy for you to pull up. Your best bet for this type of snag is to first try the different angles method. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to use brute force to get it off.
A few notes on using brute force to pull your magnet off – quick swift jerks will work better than steady pulls. Another technique that tends to work well is to wrap the rope several times around your waist and put all your weight against it. Just make sure you aren’t leaning over an edge or into traffic!
If you get your magnet stuck to a bridge beam or other large flat surface, focus on pulling at extreme angles as opposed to straight off. This will add leverage to the eyelet and make it easier to pry off. If you can get up close to the magnet, you can also use a metal rod to pry the magnet off through the eyelet.
If all else fails, you may need to use powered machinery (like a car, tractor, or winch) to get it off. When using powered machinery, either it will come off or the rope will snap. Be extra careful when using powered machinery, and stand far away from both the rope and the magnet.
Magnet Fishing Tip #6: Clean Your Magnet Often
If you’re fishing in areas with a high iron concentration, it will end up collecting on your magnet and limit its gripping power. This tends to happen in areas with lots of sand or near industrial docks. You can usually clean your magnet off by scraping it against the dock you’re fishing from or using a piece of plywood as a wedge. Keeping your magnet clean will ensure it has maximum gripping power each time you find an item.
Magnet Fishing Tip #7: Be Safe
Magnet fishing can be a ton of fun, but there are several magnet fishing tips around safety we felt we needed to share with you.
Sharp Objects and Tetanus
One of the most common items you’ll end up pulling up from heavy traffic areas are fishing hooks, lures, and knives. These hooks, lures, and knives often are quite rusty, but still sharp enough to harm you. Be extremely careful when removing them from your magnet and store them somewhere you won’t accidentally cut yourself. This means that having your tetanus shot current is very important. If you do end up cutting yourself and you haven’t gotten a tetanus shot recently, you should head the nearest hospital immediately.
Another safety item we felt we needed to discuss is what to do if you find a gun. Often times finding a gun is the “holy grail” of magnet fishing due to people’s fascination with true crime. It is exciting, but there are a few things you need to think about if you pull up a firearm.
First, you should report what you found to your local police department. It could be important evidence that they need to solve a crime. If it turns out the gun is clean, the police department will most likely give it back to you – as long as you can legally own a gun in that state. Some states require special permits to own firearms, and you have to be at least 18.
Magnet Fishing Tip #8: Store Your Gear Properly
If you bought a magnet kit that comes with a carrying case, then this magnet fishing tip is easy to follow. Simply wash your gear off after using it and let it dry before putting back in your case. If you don’t have a carrying case for your magnet and rope, we recommend using a 5-gallon bucket after you’ve washed and dried it.
Magnet Fishing Tip #9: Have Patience, and Have Fun!
Magnet fishing is a lot like actual fishing; patience goes a long way. Some days you won’t catch anything, while others you might find several exciting items. At the end of the day, what’s important is staying safe and having fun. You’ll need to get a bit lucky to find something special. Most of the stuff you find will probably end up as garage trophies, but some you can probably fix and reuse. Knives are a great example of something you can sharpen and use again. Pliers can also be reused if you clean them off and oil the hinge repeatedly.
Magnet fishing can be a ton of fun and doesn’t require a lot of knowledge about the activity before trying your hand at it. Unlike other strange fishing activities (have you heard of fishing in your toilet before?), magnet fishing can be a ton of fun.
If you’re feeling like multitasking, you go actual fishing from shore while you go magnet fishing. We hope that after reading the above 9 magnet fishing tips you feel ready to try fishing at your local docks and piers. And if you’re looking to buy a magnet, get one of the above kits or check out our best magnets for magnet fishing article. Remember the safety tips we taught you, and pull up something awesome! Who knows what you will find?