Have you ever wondered what lost treasures might be hiding at the bottom of a river, just waiting to be discovered? From discarded coins and jewelry to historic artifacts, magnet fishing allows hobbyists to go on a modern-day treasure hunt as they comb through waterways in search of hidden finds. Part metal detecting, part environmental clean-up, and all adventure, magnet fishing has quickly grown from an obscure niche into a popular hobby around the world. In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know to get started searching for sunken treasures with this unique and eco-friendly pastime.

What is Magnet Fishing?

Definition and Overview

Magnet fishing, also sometimes referred to as magnetic salvaging, refers to the practice of using strong magnets to find ferromagnetic objects submerged in waterways like rivers, canals, ponds, and harbors. Equipped with powerful magnets attached to strong ropes, magnet fishers will throw or drop the magnet into the water and then pull up any metal objects that stick to the magnet. These finds can include items like coins, relics, tools, bicycles, weapons, or other discarded metal objects that have ended up in the water. It’s like an underwater treasure hunt, accessible to anyone.

Equipment Needed

All you really need to get started with magnet fishing is a strong magnet attached to a rope and some gloves to safely handle sharp objects you may pull out. Many magnet fishers also use retrieval tools like grabbers to securely extract finds. Floats, weights, and watertight containers are also useful gear to have.

Laws and Regulations

Before heading out magnet fishing, be sure to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations. In some areas, removing objects from waterways is illegal without explicit permission. It’s also critical to follow all guidelines on safely handling any potential weapons, explosives, or hazardous materials.

The Appeal of Magnet Fishing

Hunting for Hidden Treasures

One of the biggest draws of magnet fishing is the prospect of unearthing lost treasures like coins, jewelry, tools, bicycles, cameras, cell phones, and any number of unexpected finds in waterways. Like metal detectors on land, there is an immense thrill in never knowing what your magnet might pull up. From rare coins and rings to historic artifacts, fellow magnet fishing hobbyists often post their unique discoveries online. For those with an adventurous spirit, the potential to reel in a valuable cache of submerged loot is exhilarating.

Exploring Waterways

Magnet fishing also enables unique access to waterways in both urban and remote locations. As magnet fishers comb the depths of canals, ponds, creeks, and rivers, they get to glimpse a fascinating cross-section of objects discarded below the surface. In the process, they can observe wildlife, vegetation, and natural features rarely seen up close. For those who enjoy the outdoors, it’s a great excuse to traverse beautiful settings. Even polluted waterways yield many interesting finds.

Environmental Clean-Up

In addition to treasure hunting, many magnet fishers see their pursuit as a way to help the planet by removing metal garbage from waterways. Shopping carts, old car parts, scrap metal, and other unnatural debris negatively impact these delicate ecosystems. Responsibly practicing magnet fishing and disposing of these objects can slowly help restore the health of polluted urban rivers and wildlife habitats.

What You Can Find Magnet Fishing

Coins and Currency

From pennies and dimes to silver dollars and foreign coins, magnet fishers frequently recover money lost in waterways over time. Coins that have been submerged for long periods often emerge encrusted in grime and minerals, requiring some polish to uncover their shine. Particularly old, rare, or foreign currencies hold a higher collectible value. Beyond just coins, everything from gold bars to paper currency to discarded scratch tickets gets reeled up in magnets.

Jewelry and watches

Rings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches frequently get accidentally dropped from docks, boats, bridges, or the banks of rivers and ponds. Gold and silver chains, gemstone jewelry, and waterproof timepieces often survive underwater for surprisingly long stretches before a passing magnet scoops them up. These trinkets make for exciting treasures to uncover.

Tools, Guns, and Other Valuables

All types of discarded metal valuables, like firearms, knives, electronics, antique tools, fishing lures, bicycles, and padlocks, become magnet fishing targets. Especially heavy metals like iron, steel, and copper get sucked up by the magnets. These finds may simply intrigue some magnet fishers or spark ideas for DIY restorations. In other cases, they hold legitimate monetary value.

Historical Artifacts

Beyond just lost personal effects, magnet fishing also turns up relics, war memorabilia, ancient tools, vintage goods,, and other artifacts that provide a historical record of bygone eras. From cannonballs and swords to centuries-old buttons and buckles, magnets let explorers uncover pieces of the past buried in silt. These unique cultural treasures tell vivid stories of how discarded objects ended up on murky river bottoms.

Top Places to Go Magnet Fishing

Rivers and Canals

Flowing waterways like rivers, creeks, and man-made canals provide shoreline access to constantly shifting silt, making them prime spots to uncover buried treasures with magnet fishing. Currents sweep debris downstream, where objects accumulate in eddies, on the underside of bridges, and lodged in rocky banks. Wading along margins or dropping magnets from bridges allows treasure seekers to thoroughly scan for finds.

Lakes and Ponds

Stagnant banks of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs also draw enthusiasts. Along grassy edges, docks, and hidden coves, magnets can dredge up all types of discarded metal objects. Storms and shifting winds push items into shallows, where they await discovery. Beaches further allow magnet fishers to walk along the shoreline.

Harbors and Marinas

In harbors and marinas, heavy boat traffic continuously shuttles goods in and out while waves, tides, and storms upend debris. Piers, seawalls, and tidal shallows catch everything from tools and bikes to shipped freight containers and anchors. Recovering these waterlogged losses before they further pollute aquatic habitats represents a bonus motivation.

Getting Started with Magnet Fishing

Safety Tips and Precautions

Before wading out on your first magnet fishing adventure, take proper precautions. Never magnet fish alone or without letting someone know your expected return. Always wear a life jacket when on boats or in deep, fast, or icy water. Bring protective waterproof boots and gloves in case of broken glass or jagged debris. Handle any weapons carefully, and avoid agitating unexploded devices. Keep emergency numbers handy if accidents occur.

Choosing Your Equipment

A strong neodymium magnet (at least 1,200 pounds of pull force) with several meters of nylon paracord usually makes the best rigging. Some kits also include retrieval aids like grabbers. Consider extras like carabiners, floats, bags, and cases to securely store special finds during transport home. Quality gear improves efficiency and safety.

Learning Regulations and Laws

Get educated on local ordinances related to magnet fishing through wildlife agencies, water authorities, or municipal codes for the locations you’ll visit. Permits or permission may be required. Also, learn proper handling procedures for weapons, suspected explosives, and hazardous waste before heading out to avoid legal issues.

Finding Good Locations

Scout recommended beginner spots like public bridges, reservoirs, swollen creeks, or beaches with gradual slopes before picking more technical sites. Experienced magnet fishers suggest locations but emphasize doing your own reconnaissance rather than relying solely on hot tips. Check accessibility, water conditions, and safety considerations firsthand.

Useful Resources for Beginners

Online forums, groups, blogs and videos offer guides covering magnet basics, gear suggestions, spot recommendations and finds showcases that help newcomers get up to speed. Connecting with local magnet fishing clubs provides community support. Consider taking a friend already involved in the hobby before jumping straight into solo outings.

Magnet Fishing for Exercise and Enjoyment

Beyond the obvious thrill of unearthing hidden treasures, magnet fishing appeals to hobbyists as an enjoyable form of outdoor recreation and exercise. The full-body movement involved in casting bulky magnet rigs builds upper-body strength. Retrieving stuck objects keeps the heart rate elevated. Traversing up and down the banks of winding waterways also provides a cardio workout. And the concentration involved occupies the mind, much like fly fishing. At the end of the day, magnet fishers go home happily exhausted.

The Rules and Ethics of Magnet Fishing

Those pursuing magnet fishing as a hobby should follow certain ethical rules to keep the pastime safe, lawful, and environmentally friendly. Exercise caution when handling hazardous objects, and refrain from pulling out live munitions, unsecured firearms, or anything leaking unidentified substances. Show respect for nature by not littering. Obtain land usage permissions and licenses as legally required. Avoid locations with sensitive wildlife or vegetation. And follow all regulations on properly disposing of dangerous items removed from waterways.

Magnet Fishing: An Eco-Friendly Hobby

Despite concerns some express over the disruption it may cause, the vast majority of magnet fishers consider themselves stewards, helping the planet by removing trash from lakes, rivers, and streams when practiced conscientiously. Scraps of rusty metal, corroded batteries, leaded fuels and oils, shopping carts, and all manner of metallic refuse find their way into waterways, threatening ecosystems. Extracting even small bits makes an incremental difference over time.

The Future of Magnet Fishing

As greater environmental awareness grows globally, magnet fishing stands poised to surge in popularity thanks to its low barriers of entry and two-pronged appeal of outdoor recreation and ecological cleanup. Advancements in magnet technology may yield lighter, stronger gear. Streamlined permitting structures, lobbying efforts, and magnet fishing ambassadors could spur responsible growth of this intriguing hobby. And as participation expands, so too will the annals of unique finds and treasure-hunting tall tales.

With the chance to hunt for hidden treasures and explore natural areas all while keeping waterways clean, it’s no wonder magnet fishing captivates imaginations and immerses hobbyists in outdoor adventure. This emerging pursuit makes a splash by turning discarded junk into heart-pounding finds and ecological optimism.

Categorized in: