In this beginners guide to magnet fishing we will teach you how to magnet fish, safety and how to be a responsible magnet fisher! The guide is intended for complete novices and we welcome any tips you may have to share with us.
What is Magnet Fishing?
Magnet fishing is a form of treasure hunting, using a powerful magnet attached to a rope you retrieve metal items from bodies of water, usually riverbeds.
It is believed that the hobby was born when boaters would use magnets to try and recover lost keys from the water and has been adapted since then.
Rugby player, James Haskell, is a keen magnet fisherman and I believe responsible for the increasing popularity of the hobby.
Neodemon – A slang nickname that’s given to a person who partakes in magnet fishing with a neodymium magnet.
Magneteers – A collective name to the group of us who like to go magnet fishing
Neodymium – The most popular type of magnet used in magnet fishing, a rare earth magnet.
Is Magnet Fishing Legal?
The explanation isn’t as simple as a yes magnet fishing is legal.
There are no laws against magnet fishing at the time of writing this guide.
Recently, especially magnet fishing in the UK has been tarnished by the press and many believe that before long there is a possibility that in certain countries and cities it could become illegal. I personally don’t believe this.
Magnet fishing is legal in the UK but it is illegal to magnet fish without the permission of the landowner in which the body of water is located on, this would be breaking the law by trespassing I would imagine.
Magnet Fishing in the US is dependent on what state you are in. I would check with your local government office as it may not be a magnet fishing law that stops you from going out and partaking in the hobby, but it could be another law.
I am unsure of other countries, this is something you would need to investigate further depending on where you reside.
To find out more about the legalities of magnet fishing in countries other than the UK, it is a good idea to call your local authorities.
Magnet Fishing Code of Conduct
It is good practice to follow a simple code of conduct. This will help keep the hobby safe and from being banned or made illegal in the future.
The magnet fishing code of conduct would be very similar to a metal detecting code of conduct.
- Consider other people and the general public.
- Remove all scrap metal & Litter, do not leave at the side of the water.
- Report all find’s classified under the treasure act or treasure laws according to your locality.
- Do not throw your scrap finds back into the water.
- Report anything suspicious ie bombs, ammunition, weaponry to the local authorities.
- Get permission from the landowner in which the body of water lies to be there, do not trespass.
- Respect the wildlife.
- Make a record of the location of any finds of historic interest.
What will I find when magnet fishing?
The beauty and excitement of magnet fishing lie in not knowing what you will discover from the bottom of the water!
Over the years many things have been discarded or dropped into the bodies of water, some from crime and some by complete accident.
Some finds are more common than others and some are truly once in a lifetime discoveries!
The area in which you magnet fish will also determine what you find. Magnet fishing in the UK and in the US are worlds apart.
Here are a few examples of what you will and could find while magnetic fishing, bare in mind the type of thing you will find could depend on the body of water you are searching.
Bicycles, Motorbikes, Parts from boats, Coins, Fishing Items, Beer caps, Shopping Trollies, Tools.
Knives & Guns, Safes, Cashboxes, Cars, Motorcycles, bombs, grenades.
Swords, Iron Age Tools.
Anything equipment wise that I will recommend in this guide has been tried and tested and has received many positive reviews. I’ve even used some of it myself. So you can rest assured that you will be getting the right advice.
What Equipment Do I need For Magnet Fishing?
One of the best things about the Magnet Fishing hobby is that you don’t need much to get you started and as long as you take care of your equipment and don’t lose magnets (more on this later) it’s rather cheap to take up.
There are, as per many of my guides some things included in this section that are mandatory and some that are optional.
This is the main piece of equipment you will need before magnet fishing. It’s not as simple as visiting the local hardware store and buying a magnet.
You will need a neodymium magnet, also known as a rare earth magnet. Check out the “best magnets for magnet fishing ”
The neodymium magnets are very powerful and come in a range of sizes, to begin with, you’re going to want a good pull strength magnet but perhaps not the strongest, at least until you get used to recovering metal objects.
The most important part about purchasing rope is that you buy the correct strength to support the pull strength of the magnet, the last thing you want here is to snap the rope and lose the magnet and metal item you have found.
Rope for magnet fishing comes in different break strengths and different grades, many people opt for paracord.
This is the best magnet fishing rope on Amazon.
Threadlock is a specially designed and manufactured type of glue that stops the water from breaking it down. A lot of people choose to use threadlock to secure their magnet.
This will potentially stop your magnet from coming undone and save you a lot of money in lost magnets.
You can get your threadlock here.
Bucket or Container
You’re going to need something to put your good finds in while you’re out, some people just leave them at the side of the body of water. I personally like to move along and carry all of my good finds with me in a bucket.
Anything scrap that you are not taking should be left nearby and always remember to clear up at the end of the day and take your scrap with you or organise for it to be collected. Do not ever throw it back into the water.
Safety gloves, in my opinion, should be mandatory when you’re out with your magnet you will be pulling out sharp bits of metal that are more than likely full of rust.
You should also wear a pair of surgical gloves beneath your safety gloves to protect your hands from any nasties like Lyme disease.
First Aid Kit
If you are responsible and you’re concerned about your health and safety you should have a first aid kit accessible.
First aid Kits are inexpensive and are very handy to have.
Beginners Magnet Fishing Tips
Magnet Fishing setup
Firstly, you will need to know how to magset up your magnet.
Most popular magnets come with a screw in eyebolt similar to the image below. They are incredibly easy to set up and typically you will just screw the eyebolt into the centre of the pot magnet.
Magnet Fishing Knots
There are a couple of popular knots for Magnet fishing, largely due to the security of the knots.
As you will be pulling at times very heavy objects you will need the knot to be as secure as possible, so here’s a couple of popular knots in the magnet fishing hobby with their respective “how to” videos.
How to tie the best knot for your magnet
In this video by a popular UK magnet fisher, he explains step by step how to tie the knot through the eyebolt.
This is the same knot I have used and it has never failed me yet.
It’s important that you make sure the knot is strong as you do not want to lose your magnet.
If I am completely honest you will find your very own technique of recovering the items from the water and I don’t really want to tell you how to suck eggs.
I personally either throw the magnet in and pull slowly back in or I throw in and wave it from side to side moving the magnet in the shape of a zig-zag across the waterbed.
This part is down to you really and finding your own personal preference of recovering items.
Where can I go Magnet Fishing?
There are many places that you can go but the first thing you’re going to need to know is, if you would like to be a responsible magnet fisherman then you need to ensure you have permission.
Some popular places to go magnet fishing include:
Rivers & Canals
Rivers and Canals are a fantastic place to go, especially the parts of the river that have had a lot of people nearby for example when they are close to a road or a popular walkway. Many metallic items have been disposed of in the river over hundreds of years. Tip – Find a good bridge to magnet fish off
Lakes can have interesting metal items lurking at the bottom, try to choose a lake that has been popular over the years, perhaps where people have gone swimming in the summer. Remember to get permission from the lake owner.
I recently did some magnet fishing in a shallow stream located in a busy little village nearby some houses and found a few coins. Finds were scarce but there are metal items that have been dropped in streams.
The Sea or Ocean
Probably not a great place to go magnet fishing but if you are at a loose end with nowhere to go it’s still an option especially if you can find a heavy traffic area, maybe throw your magnet from a pier.
If you are lucky enough to have found an abandoned well or know of a place where there is a well then I imagine this would be a good place to drop a magnet down. Things may have been dropped and also purposely thrown down a well.
Please don’t drop a magnet down a well that is still in use or that people visit as part of a tourist attraction.
Magnet Fishing Safety
In 2018 a tragedy occurred in this fantastic hobby and a father and son drowned in the UK while enjoying a day out magnet fishing, this is why safety should always be your first priority.
Although accidents and fatalities are very unlikely you need to ensure that you follow some safety tips.
I couldn’t find a well-documented safety guide while researching the hobby so I’ve written my own magnet fishing safety tips. Hopefully these will keep you sage from the dangers of magnet fishing.
- Always wear thick gloves.
- Analyse the ground you are standing on before casting in your magnet, is there moss? is it slippery? do you have a good grip on the ground?
- Analyse the area, is it safe? are there any tripping hazards? are there people nearby?
- Carry a first aid kit.
- Clean your equipment thoroughly after use, clean your hands with alcohol sanitiser.
- Go with a friend, being alone is more unsafe than with a friend.
- Keep magnets at least 30cm away from electrical devices.
- Be careful of unexploded bombs and ammunition. Report suspicious items to the correct authorities.
Magnet Fishing FAQ
What should I do with the junk metal I find?
You should never leave your junk metal and unwanted items on the side of the riverbed (or wherever you are) and abandon them. This is actually something that is causing problems for many people and giving the hobby a little bit of a bad name. You should never throw them back in either! Clear up your mess. Take them to the scrap man or dispose of them responsibly.
What kind of things may I find?
Many interesting things are found with a magnet in the water, some popular and common finds include safes, weapons, coins, boat parts, historic items of interest and much more. It has even been known for safes full of money and coins to be recovered!
What is a neodymium magnet?
A Neodymium magnet, also known as a ‘rare earth magnet’ is made from iron, boron and an alloy of neodymium. They are the strongest type of permanent magnet that is commercially available for purchase. In 1982 they were developed independently and now have replaced many other forms of magnets in items such as hard drives, tools and motors
What’s the most powerful magnet fishing rig?
With the popularity of the hobby increasing daily, people are wanting more and more pull power from their magnet rig. It is not uncommon now for people to use “double-sided” magnets. The power of these are now in excess of 4000lbs pull power or over 2000kg.
Is Gold magnetic?
I’ll give you the simple answer, no. Unless your gold is hidden in a safe then then there is pretty much zero chance your magnet will bring gold out of the water. This is the same for real silver to.
Can you make money from magnet fishing?
Don’t give up your day job. I would not recommend relying on solely money made from magnet fishing. That being said it is possible to make money from the hobby.
You can do this by saving up all of the scrap metal you drag out of the water and taking it to a recycling plant where you can “weigh it in”
Unless you are really lucky then you won’t make a lot of money in this hobby.