Magnet fishing has rapidly grown from a niche hobby to a mainstream outdoor activity enjoyed by everyone, from young children to seniors around the world. This unique pastime involves using strong magnets attached to ropes to hunt for hidden treasures in waterways. Much more exciting than fishing with a traditional rod and reel, magnet fishing offers the allure of finding all kinds of unexpected sunken items at the end of your line.

Getting started with magnet fishing does not require significant investments in expensive equipment. At its core, all that is needed is a magnet, some rope, and access to a body of water. Of course, having the right basic gear suited for your skill level and the types of waterways you’ll be magnet fishing makes the activity more rewarding and safe. As your experience grows, upgrading key components like magnet strength and rope design allows you to haul up bigger finds.

This guide will provide novice and expert magnet fishermen with advice on essential gear and tips on selecting the right setup. With the basics covered, this engaging hobby’s possibilities are endless.

Essential Magnet Fishing Gear

Magnets are the most vital component for magnet fishing. While basic versions are affordable, investing in a high-quality magnet tailored for water recovery significantly improves performance, safety, and enjoyment.



Neodymium magnets offer the best strength-to-weight ratio for magnet fishing. Within this category, circular and rectangular magnets with an eyebolt attachment point are common shapes.

Strength Considerations

Heavier magnets lift bigger objects but require robust ropes and gear. Novices may start with a 200-pound pull magnet rated for fishing in shallow water. Pros often use 500-pound or greater magnets in deep waterways.

Budget vs. Premium Options

Cheaper magnets still pull up finds, but premium fishing magnets last longer against chipping and corrosion. Waterproof coatings also protect pricier magnets.

Equally as essential as magnets, ropes bear the entire weight load during magnet fishing.


Length and Thickness

Most magnet fishing setups utilize 100–200 feet of rope. Novices can opt for a 3/8-inch diameter, while thicker 1/2-inch ropes are recommended for heavy magnets and finds.

Material Considerations

Nylon rope is abrasion-resistant while maintaining flexibility. Paracord handles twisting well. For longevity, choose solid braided designs, not hollow core ropes prone to internal fraying.

Securing Rope to Magnets

Using carabiners, eye bolts, or drilling tie-off holes centers a magnet’s pull along the rope for stability. Allow extra rope length to secure finds or perform magnet recovery if needed.


Importance for Safety and Grip

Gloves protect hands from abrasions when pulling up debris-covered items from water beds using the rope. Insulated waterproof gloves also provide warmth, allowing longer magnet fishing sessions in all weather conditions. Look for grippy palm designs with durable material blends for longevity.

Features to Look For

Flexible fishing or waterfowl hunting gloves that don’t impede dexterity work best. Choose adjustable wrist straps for securing gloves so they can’t slide off. Magnetic wrist bands conveniently store gloves when not in use during a magnet fishing outing.

Retrieval Tool/Grabber

For Stuck Magnets

Retrieval tools allow you to dislodge stuck magnets from underwater structures without entering the water yourself. Essential safety gear.

Options & Use Cases

Collapsible grabbers provide 10–15 feet of extra reach for free-snagged magnets. Sturdy locking grabber jaws securely grasp eye bolts. Telescoping poles offer maximum retrieval reach in deep water areas whenever magnets become firmly attached to heavy debris.

Additional & Advanced Equipment

As magnet fishing transitions from a passing hobby to a lifestyle passion, investing in specialized gear tailored for comfort, finding the best locations, and safely securing discovered treasures adds much enjoyment.

Waders & Protective Clothing

Keeping Dry and Safe

Neoprene waders, waterproof pants, and rubber boots allow access to the best magnet fishing hotspots without getting wet. Breathable layers prevent overheating as well.

Footwear, Jackets, and Pants

Hard-soled wading boots provide traction on slick riverbeds. Waterproof and tear-resistant designs stand up to scrapes. Hand and foot warmers slip into wader pockets, extending time comfortably on the water.

Cleaning Supplies

For Finds and Gear Maintenance

Sorting through discoveries to uncover valuables requires supplies. Use buckets for a washing station, sturdy brushes to detail finds by removing debris and grime, and absorbent towels to dry items after cleaning before storage at home.

Buckets, Scrub Brushes, and Towels

Five-gallon buckets allow soaking multiple finds in cleaning solutions. Short-handled scrub brushes fit buckets to detail small items. Microfiber towels prevent fine scratches on delicate objects like jewelry.

Storage and Transportation

Secure Containers

Plastic storage totes segregate gear and clean finds across magnetic fishing outings. Hard cases protect fragile relics uncovered until items can be cataloged and conserved properly at home.

Safety Add-Ons

While magnet fishing appears perfectly safe hauling in mysterious sunken treasures, the reality exists for gear failure leading to injury or rescue scenarios if proper precautions are not incorporated into fishing rigs.

Floats, Rope Hooks, and Fasteners

Personal flotation devices provide buoyancy if you accidentally fall in deep, fast-moving waterways. Orange float balls placed along retrieval ropes prevent losing submerged gear. Carabiners, clips, and boating rope hooks secure magnet fishing components for reliability.

Avoiding Loss of Magnet and Rope

Snags inevitably occur in magnet fishing. But losing a magnet and a 100-plus-foot rope proves problematic for retrieval and very costly to replace. The solution comes from threading rope ends with strong circular fasteners. Then incorporate metallic rings along the rope’s length, allowing cutting free from snags without total gear loss. Additional clips connecting ropes to carabiners on eye bolt magnets serve as fail-safes too.

Tips for Beginners vs. Pros

Magnet fishing as a hobby is suitable for any skill level. However, upholding safety and legal responsibilities remains paramount. Following best practices allows everyone, from children to expert adventurers, to enjoy this rewarding outdoor activity while protecting our waterways.

Novice Tips

Starting Locations, Laws, and Permits

Beginners should access public lakes, rivers, and canals allowing magnet fishing instead of unauthorized areas to avoid legal issues. Most jurisdictions allow magnet fishing, provided all finds are secured and not discarded back into the water. Checking local regulations helps newcomers protect natural habitats too.

Budget Gear to Start

Starter magnet fishing rigs under $100 contain all the basics, like 200-lb pull magnets, a small rope, and gloves, without overspending during initial sessions. Waterproof cases also securely store finds until they are cleaned properly back onshore instead of being discarded.

Learning Rope Techniques

Controlling ropes while lowering magnets along shallow shorelines takes practice. Allow magnets to sink gradually; twitch ropes to break suction seals; then draw upward once magnets secure items below. Using carabiners between rope and magnet serves as quick attachment points for releasing snags if needed.

Expert Tips

Advanced Locations and Finds

Venturing along bustling marinas and restricted-access industrial waterways opens up bigger finds for seasoned magnet fishers. Strong 1,000+ pound magnets attached to braided ropes with integrated fasteners reliably secure large metal objects that other hobbyists would struggle lifting on beginner gear.

Custom High-Power Magnet Setups

Maximizing haul strength and safety for experienced magnet fishing adventures means investing in customized gear. This includes drilling powerful neodymium magnets to accept screw-closed eye hooks rated for over 3 tons of pressure without risking failure. Then upgrade to graded climbing rope or woven steel cables.

Reselling Valuable Finds

Cleaning and restoring antique relics like coin banks or vintage tools uncovered by magnet fishing may cost over $100 each. Experts photograph these online for auction sites, potentially funding the hobby itself through reclaimed treasures.

Magnet fishing appeals to explorers of all ages and abilities. Having the proper essential gear for your skill level lays the foundation for an engaging and rewarding hobby—unlocking hidden underwater treasures. As your proficiency progresses, upgrade equipment to maximize your discoveries. But above all, adhere to safety guidelines and appreciate that magnet fishing builds connections through understanding history and our environment in new ways.

Categorized in: