The Complete Beginners Magnet Fishing guide 2019

A magnet used for magnet fishing

Complete magnet fishing guide for beginners.

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 How to magnet fish- A beginners magnet fishing guide 2019 by Magnet Fishing Pro. 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?

Magnet Fishing or as it is sometimes known, magnetic fishing is a relatively new hobby that is sweeping across the UK, USA 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 of magnet fishing 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.

Benefits of magnet fishing.

There are so many benefits of taking part in this hobby, here is a small list of some of them.

  • 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 your magnet fishing finds.
  • Kids will love to take part in this hobby with you and you can spend a lot of fun hours family bonding.

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 magnet fishing guide we are going to look at some of the best magnet fishing kit that you need. We will also look at some of the techniques and areas where we can magnet fish. Last but not least we will have a look to see if Magnet Fishing 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 guide is aimed at magnet fishing in the US and UK but you will find it is suitable for most countries.

The best magnet fishing kit.

First of to start this guide I want to get all the essential kit out of the way. Below you will see everything that you need equipment wise to get you started magnet fishing. The good thing about magnet fishing is that it is one of them hobbies that does not have a high start up cost.  Unlike golf or fishing you can get the best start for less than $100.

Must have magnets.

The best magnet for magnet fishing is a neodymium magnet. They are a lot more durable and powerful than ferrite magnets. Whilst being slightly more expensive they will last tens times longer without cracking.

Obviously the most important part of your magnet fishing setup is the magnet. So let’s have a look at which is the best magnet for the job. We recommend two magnets although there are plenty out there to choose from. When choosing a magnet I really recommend that you buy a neodymium type instead of the ferrite type. The reason for this is because they are so much stronger in regards to pulling force and all durability. If you would like to read a little more about the different types then check out this link.

Our best magnet for magnetic fishing is the one below which is a double sided magnet. Each side has over 200kg of pull force and is more than adequate for most magnet fishing finds. This is the best price available for the magnet as well.


Uolor Double Side Round Neodymium Fishing Magnet, Combined 420KG Pulling Force Super Strong Neodymium Magnet with Eyebolt for Magnet Fishing and Retrieving in River – 75mm Diameter

Our next best is one that we use personally and is the one featured below. It has a huge pull force of over 500kg which is more than the above magnet. However it is a single magnet with the tying eye directly central and above. This magnet is amazing for them big finds such as cash boxes and safes. Or even bigger things such as motorcycles.


Wukong 1146LBS Pulling Force(520KG) Magnetic Grade N52 Round Neodymium Magnet with Eyebolt and Countersunk Hole Diameter 4.72INCH(120mm) Great for Magnetic Fishing-The Largest Magnet On Amazon.

Special US only magnet fishing starter kit.

This next magnet is for the magnet fishing US guys only unfortunately. It is not available in the UK which is a real shame as it is an amazing good quality product. The kit provides everything you need to get started in its own safety box. It is a really good starter kit with a strong enough magnet to keep you going for a long time. Hopefully in good time the Brute Magnetics bunch will bring this magnet fishing starter kit out in the UK.


Brute Box 880 lb Magnet Fishing Bundle (3.54″ Magnet + Rope + Carabiner + Threadlocker)

Now that we have found the magnets we are going to use we will have a look at some other essential magnet fishing gear.

Strong rope.

Obviously just as important as the magnet is the rope we are going to use to retrieve it! The rope needs to be strong, yet light. Our favourite is the one below. It has a high breaking strain of 250kg and is only 8mm thick. The lighter one comes in at 6mm with a 150kg breaking strain. Both should be fine however the thicker one is best if you are expecting to pull up big items. As for the amount of rope you will need, I would say that between 20-30 metres will be just perfect. Any more than this and you will just find yourself getting tangled up.


WuKong Fishing Magnet Rope 20 Meters,Fishing Magnet Rope 20 Meters, Salvage Rop with Safety Lock, Heavy Rope, Diameter 6mm Safe and Durable

Quality gloves to protect your hands.

There are plenty of opportunities to hurt your hands so you will need something to protect them. There is so much sharp and dirty junk in our rivers and canals and you do not want cuts whilst near the water.unless you enjoy infections and hospitals! The below gloves have great grip when wet or dry and are water resistant, perfect protection.


WONDER GRIP AQUA Blue/Black M

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.

  • 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. Magnet fishing is 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 magnet fishing equipment page. Most of these items are only available in the UK. However if you go to this US equipment page you will find the kit that you need stateside. 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.

Magnetic 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 perfect magnet  fishing territory!

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 the magnet 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 the magnet sideways off it. 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!

A picture of a canal where you can magnet fish.
I wonder what Magnet Fishing finds there are in the water?!

You can in theory magnetic fish in 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 magnet fishing.

Magnet fishing Canals.

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 magnet fishing in a canal then have a look at this canal magnet fishing 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.

Magnet fishing in Rivers.

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.

Magnet fishing in 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 magnet fishing and also increase your chances of finding treasures.

Try magnet fishing in Old water wells.

On old water well is a really under rated place to try magnet fishing. There could literally be anything thrown in there over the years, just be careful not to fall into the well when retrieving your magnet.

A photo of an old water well
Magnet fishing in a water well could be interesting

What can you find magnet fishing? Typical magnet fishing finds.

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 magnet fishing 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 Magnet Fishing finds you can expect. Or to see some incredible magnet fishing finds then have a look at this magnet fishing finds blog post. There you will find really cool things that have been found in the water using a magnet.

A picture of some magnet fishing finds
What will you catch when you go magnet fishing?

Can you find gold and silver magnet fishing?

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.

How to clean magnet fishing finds.

Obviously all of your magnet fishing 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 magnet fishing finds.

  1. Let the find dry out a little bit by storing in a dry area.
  2. Use a wire brush to clear off any surface rust and “dead metal”.
  3. 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.
  4. Rinse of and dry the metal find.
  5. 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 magnet fishing 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 magnet fishing 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 magnet fishing.

Is magnet fishing 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 magnet fishing 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.

Magnetic fishing safety!

A photo of a safety sign
Stay safe whilst magnet fishing.

Like many hobbies magnet fishing can be dangerous. There have been some tragic news stories lately of people having serious accidents whilst magnetic fishing. 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.


Helly Hansen Sport II Buoyancy Aid, Red, 30-40 kg

In conclusion….

We really hope this beginners guide to magnet fishing has helped you get started. Magnetic fishing 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.

Please share if this post helped you :)

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