Hopefully if you have found yourself on this web page you have heard about magnet fishing. If you have not then do not worry, have a read along and we will convert you into this awesome hobby.
This is the ultimate guide to magnet fishing (Updated for 2020) . In this guide you will find everything you need to start this hobby like a pro. Let’s now have a look at what it is all about!
What is magnet fishing?
If you are completely new to the idea you are more than likely wondering what the hell it is all about, it is a strange concept but as you will find out it is very exciting!
So what is the hobby about? Magnet Fishing or as it is sometimes known magnetic fishing is a relatively new hobby that is sweeping across the US, UK and many other parts of the world. Many of the people who start in this hobby use it to diversify from metal detecting and share an interest in history and treasure hunting. The idea is pretty simple really. It’s as simple as throwing a magnet on some rope into a river, canal or lake and hoping for it to attach to some metal. You then pull the magnet back onto dry land and hopefully have treasure on the other end! That is the basic principle of what it actually is.
Where did the idea come from?
Well this is a question that comes up fairly regularly. Unfortunately we do not know how this amazing hobby came about. Some say that it was started by fishermen and boat owners who were trying to retrieve lost equipment. I also know that boat owners have been using special retrieval magnets for quite some time. So this theory makes a lot of sense.
Whilst others say that metal detectorists invented it as a way to be able to search for treasures in deep water. Whichever is correct I am sure glad someone did think of it!
However it came about it is now a growing hobby that is sparking the curiosity of quite a few people around the world.
For me personally I started magnet fishing as a way to grow my treasure hunting strategy. I was already a keen metal detectorist and decided that I would start recording some magnet fishing trips to show on my YouTube channel. This proved very popular with my magnet fishing videos pulling in over half a million views in total!
That was coming up to 5 years ago now and I have been hard at work improving my game, this is why I feel confident that I can teach you how to take part in this hobby as well.
Benefits of magnet fishing.
There are so many benefits you can get from taking part in this hobby, here is a small list of some of the benefits from taking part in the hobby.
- It is a great source of excerise, throwing and retrieving theses magnets gives a great workout.
- You will be helping to clean our waterways by removing rusty metal items.
- The crisp fresh air really can help you unwind after a tough working week.
- You will more than likely really start getting an interest in history as you try to identify and date the finds that you pull up.
- Kids will love to take part in this hobby with you and you can spend a lot of fun hours family bonding.
- Because of this hobby we are learning more about rare-earth elements that make our world tick. These items can be found in nearly all technological items.
There is literally nothing better than relaxing on the riverbank after a hard week. Eagerly anticipating what the next find is going to be. Gun, safe, motorcycle? You just never know what is going to come up next and being able to enjoy it in the great outdoors is fantastic.
What you will learn in this guide.
In this complete guide we are going to look at some of the best kit that you need to get started. We will also look at some of the techniques and areas where we can take part in this hobby. Last but not least we will have a look to see if it is actually legal and then wrap up this guide. This guide is comprehensive and will teach everything you could possibly need to know if you want to learn how to magnet fish. So with that said grab a drink and some nice biscuits and read away.
If you have any questions then please feel free to either use the comment section or the contact form. I will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.
The equipment you will need.
The basic essential magnet fishing kit is as follows in the below list.
- A powerful neodymium fishing magnet with eyebolt.
- You will need decent length of rope or paracord, between 20 and 30 feet is more than enough.
- A good quality pair of cut proof gloves is important. You will be handling some sharp and rusty metal all in what can be dirty water. The gloves will help to protect your hands.
That is literally all of the essential kit that you will need to get started in the hobby. There are other non essential items that you can get later that will help you progress through the hobby.
Which neodymium fishing magnet should you choose?
It is fair to say that there are so many manufacturers out there all trying to get your hard earned cash in exchange for their products. Some of these magnets are absolute garbage and not worth spending your cash on and it can be hard to tell which ones they are. That is why I recommend that you always stick with magnets that are tried and tested by someone who has been magnet fishing for a while. This way you will get a top quality magnet at a great price.
Below are my most recommended magnets from budget to more expensive.
The best budget neodymium magnet for magnet fishing US.
If you are just starting out in the hobby then there is a good chance you will not want to spend to much money on your first magnet. Maybe you are worried that you will not enjoy the hobby, or possibly you do not have the cash hanging around spare ( I know the feeling!)
If this is the case then the below magnet is exactly what you need. It is super powerful and comes in at a fraction of the price as other magnets whilst not reducing on quality. It is a great all-round starter magnet.
If you would like to view this magnet for the best available price I could find at Amazon please click the below photo.
The best magnet for magnet fishing US, intermediate.
If you are willing to spend a little more money on your first setup then have a look at this next one. It has nearly double the pulling power of the budget magnet and also has a much larger surface area. This will make hooking and retrieving finds so much easier and efficient.
It comes with everything you will need to get started on your quest to find underwater treasures including a powerful neodymium magnet, strong rope and an eyelet. It is an absolute bargain price as well as you can see by clicking the image below, this will take you straight to the Amazon listing for the magnet.
In the UK there are so many cool finds to be made whilst searching for underwater treasure . With thousands of years of history in the waters and grounds it is one of the best places to magnet fish in the world. For this reason I highly recommend getting a decent first magnet. Some of the items are big and heavy and a good magnet will help you to bring them to the surface!
The below image will take you to my personal favourite for UK magnet fishers. It is ultra powerful, of the highest quality and comes at a very good price. Click the image below to see the best available price for it at Amazon UK.
Other useful magnet fishing kit.
Whilst the above are essential items there are other accessories that will make it easier to find and retrieve treasure. Here are a few you may like to get to help you whilst taking part
- A pair of Scissors or a penknife can help if you get tangled up with other rope or fishing line. Check what the law says you can carry first though.
- Take an old towel or cloth with you. It can be very dirty work and having somewhere to wipe your hands can make all the difference.
- I recommend taking one of them little squirt bottles of hand sanitizer with you. This should kill any nasty bacteria that you get on your hands.
- You will need somewhere to store all your finds. A large bucket or even an old sports bag will do this job perfect.
- I always recommend taking a mobile or cell phone with you. It can be easy to trip or slip when magnet fishing so you need to be able to call in help if you have an accident.
You can find all these items and more on our essential equipment page. Now we have all the items we need to go magnet fishing. It is time to learn some techniques to use.
There is a huge market for magnet fishing equipment now with many manufacturers trying to sell their products. This has meant reduced prices which is great for us. We can buy a full set up for very cheap so have a look around on Amazon and see what deals you can find.
How to magnet fish, the techniques.
Magnet Fishing is one of the easiest hobbies to take part in. First off you need to find some water such as a river, canal or even a lake. I would so some research first and find out if there is and mentions of historical events in the near area. This would make an amazing place to cast your magnet in search of treasure!
Once you have all the equipment and also a location to magnet fish you can throw in your magnet.
The best way to throw a magnet is to check that there is no one close enough to get hit by it and then swing it in a kind of pendulum motion. Now you have the magnet out in the water you have two techniques to choose from.
- Technique 1: Slowly drag the magnet in to where you are standing. Do not rush it in as this may cause it to miss the metallic objects or ones that are already on may fall off. Keep a nice slow and steady pace and you should feel it gently gliding along the riverbed.
- Technique 2: Throw the magnet out exactly the same but instead of dragging the magnet in, walk along the edge of the water on the bank. This way you will be able to cover greater areas. Once you feel it grab something you can pull it in. Otherwise pull it in occasionally to check for smaller items.
Usually you can tell if a piece of metal has attached to the magnet. Just like fishing it almost feels like a bite and there will be a feeling of weight attached to the rope. This is the exciting bit of anticipation to what is in the other end!
Once you have the find in dry land you can slide it sideways to get it off. Put it to one side so it doesn’t get in the way and it is time to cast in again.
Where to magnet fish, anywhere with water!
You can in theory throw a magnet into any body of water where you think metallic objects are present. These include rivers, canals, lakes and ponds. Please remember though that if it is owned privately you will need to gain permission to magnet fish there. You will find generally that most land owners will be fine with you as long as you ask for permission. Below are the best places to go to take part in this awesome hobby.
Canals are one of the best areas to magnet fish. The main reason canals where made was for transportation of goods to various local places. As such they have been used for hundreds of years and many metal items will have been dropped within this time. It also seems to be the go to hiding place for many people who want to dispose of things that we often like to find. If you have a canal local to you then this is a place you should have a throw.
If you would like to learn more about finding under water treasure in a canal then have a look at this canal guide. Here you can learn all of the hints and tips that I have learnt over the years. It should really help increase your finds rate.
Much the same as canals, rivers have been used for hundreds of years for shipping, transportation and leisure. There will be plenty of things to find especially in High traffic areas. It is always worth a go magnet fishing in a river. Take extra care though as strong currents and very deep water can make it a little more hazardous.
Lakes and ponds.
You will find that lakes and ponds do not provide as many finds as canals and rivers but they are still worth checking. Fishermen and other people participating in leisure activities are bound to have lost items in there. Plus many lazy people tend to dump stuff in ponds and lakes so there is a good chance of finding something.
One of the best ways to go about this hobby is by researching. Find out any information you can about local areas of interest. You can do this by searching the internet or even by word of mouth. Using thorough research of an intended area will help you pinpoint the best location to try and also increase your chances of finding treasures.
Old water wells.
An old water well is a really under rated place to try looking for treasure. There could literally be anything thrown in there over the years, just be careful not to fall into the well when retrieving your magnet.
The list of possible magnet fishing finds is literally endless! As long as the object has some ferrous metal attached it will stick to your magnet. Below is a list of some of the common finds:
- Nuts, bolts and screws are common.
- Iron and steel bars and railings.
- Guns and other weapons such as knives.
- Ordinance and explosives such as bombs and grenades.
- Stolen motorcycles.
- Bicycles and scooters.
- Safety deposit boxes, cash registers, safes and cash boxes (my personal favourite find!)
- Tools and other garage equipment.
This really is only a brief description of possible finds. You have no idea at the amount of crazy things that people dispose of in rivers.
If you would like to learn more about what finds you can expect or to see some incredible magnet fishing finds then have a look at this blog post. There you will find really cool things that have been found in the water using a magnet.
Can you find gold and silver?
As much as I wish that you could, the answer is no. Unfortunately you will not find gold, silver, bronze or any other non ferrous metal. Only iron and steel is attracted to your fishing magnet.
Do not worry though there is still plenty of other cool things to find. If you would like to read more about the different types of metal that you will not find and the reasons why then have a look at this blog post that wrote on the topic.
How to clean magnet fishing finds.
Obviously all of your finds are going to be ferrous metal, iron or steel. This means that generally it will have a seriously rusty coating to it. Luckily if you do find something that you would like to keep and clean up you can.
This is my preferred cleaning method for rusty old finds.
- Let the find dry out a little bit by storing in a dry area.
- Use a wire brush to clear off any surface rust and “dead metal”.
- use a cleaning sponge to apply white vinegar to the surface of the metal. Now leave for a few minutes to let the vinegar eat the rust.
- Rinse of and dry the metal find.
- Apply a water repelling lubricant such as WD-40 as this will protect the find from rusting again.
This cleaning technique is only to be used on normal finds. If you have found a valuable item I recommend seeking a professional service to clean it up for you. If you would like to see a more detailed guide then check out this Rusty Find cleaning guide. I write in a lot more detail about the way I clean all my finds with success.
Is it legal in the UK?
This is something that quite a few people wonder, is magnet fishing legal? Well it definitely is not illegal. There is no law to say you cannot retrieve metal with a magnet. However you do need permission to magnet fish on private property or it could be classed as trespassing or even going equip to steal! Always make sure to seek out permission and if you are going to a canal check out local waterways laws.
You will find that most people who approach you will just be curious as to what the heck you are doing. This is good and helps to spread awareness of our hobby. If you do get questioned about your intentions then you can tell how you are helping clear out waterways.
This is just a brief look into the UK laws. If you would like to read more about it then this link will take you to a blog post I wrote on the subject. It goes a lot more in depth into the legal side of the hobby.
Is it legal in the US?
Again like in the UK the US is a bit of a grey area. There are no laws to say that magnet fishing is illegal in the United States. However you will still need to seek permission to magnet fish on private property. If you do not do this you could find yourself being arrested for trespass. If you are unsure about the laws in the US please check for your own individual state. You should find that you will not get in trouble taking part in this hobby unless you are causing a nuisance or trespassing.
Update*** We now have a guide to the US laws for each of the 50 states. If you would like to see the current laws then please check out this link.
Magnetic fishing safety!
Like many hobbies magnet fishing can be dangerous. There have been some tragic news stories lately of people having serious accidents whilst taking part. You can cut down on any risks though by taking some safety steps. Here is a list of ways that you can keep yourself safe!
- Always wear gloves to stop contamination and also cuts and scrapes.
- Make sure no one is in close proximity when casting your magnet.
- These magnets are extremely powerful and can cause nasty injuries if you get trapped between the magnet and metal. Always keep your fingers out of the way.
- Children will love to Take part in this hobby with you. Make sure they wear gloves and it is advised that they wear a life jacket like the one below when near the water.
- If an object looks like ordinance, munitions or a gun. Immediately ring the correct authorities and give them your location and what you think you may have found. Do not handle it, there are lots of explosives lying in our waterways.
- Let someone close know what you are doing and your rough location or even better go with someone.
- Take some hand sanitizer and something to wipe your hands to stop th spread of nasty bacteria.
We really hope this guide has helped you get started. It is a really enjoyable hobby that provides good exercise and also the chance of finding some great items of treasure. Take your time and learn the ropes (pun intended) and you will find that this is a very fun and rewarding hobby that you and your family will love. This hobby is taking off big time all over the world with many people now participating in it. Are you ready for some treasure hunting?!
Here is a cool magnet fishing video for you to watch before you get started! This should really get you motivated 🙂
That is the end of the guide and I just want to take the time to say thanks for reading. Hopefully you have learnt a few bits and pieces along the way. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to get in touch. We will happily provide help and guidance to get you started.
Now it is time for you to get out there and toss a magnet, happy treasure hunting and stay safe.
My name is Andy Baines and I have been a prominent figure in the treasure hunting world for coming up to a decade on various platforms such as YouTube and blogger. On Magnet Fishing Pro I like to share my wealth of knowledge and experience in the form of guides and blog posts to help you progress in the hobbies of magnet fishing and metal detecting. You can read more about my treasure hunting journey in my About Me page
Or if you would like to view my magnet fishing and metal detecting YouTube channel please see this link