What is Magnet Fishing, How to Magnet Fish, Where to Magnet Fish and is Magnet Fishing legal?


So, what is this new trend called magnet fishing? Well first off, you aren’t fishing for fish. Which means you don’t need a fishing license. You are fishing for whatever sticks to the large magnets people are using for this newest hobby. Magnet fishing is a cross between treasure hunting and environmental cleanup of our water ways. You may find everything from fishing lures, jewelry, and bikes, to historic anchors, grenades, and guns. Really, the items people have found run from the mundane to the very unusual, to the dangerous. It is an exciting, simple way to spend a morning with your family or just by yourself.


How to Magnet Fish.

This is the easiest of hobbies. We started with a simple magnet fishing kit purchased off of Amazon. These kits range from less than $20 all the way on up, ours was around $25. It came with a magnet that said it was capable of pulling up to 760 lbs from underwater, 65ft of heavy duty rope, gloves – which you definitely will want to use when pulling items off of the magnet because it usually involves rusty sharp metal, and a locking carabiner to attach the magnet to the rope. It also came with a grappling hook (we used this to try to lift an object the magnet found but wasn’t strong enough to pull out). We then got a second magnet, rope, carabiner and gloves because we have more than one child who will want to cast a magnet into the river!


Make sure to bring a box to put the magnets in, and try not to get them stuck together. If you do get two magnets stuck together, try to slide them apart or just do an ol’ fashioned tug of war. These magnets are strong so don’t stick them to your car or garage door, and definitely keep them away from your cell phone and computer.

When you get to your fishing spot all you do is attach the magnet with the carabiner to the rope and throw the magnet into the water. Then pull it slowly out by the rope. You can feel it pull when the magnet attaches to something. We did tie one end of the rope to the dock so we would not lose the magnet but it probably wasn’t necessary.


Where do you magnet fish?

Head to a pier, river bank, fishing hole, beach, lake or shore under a bridge. These are all spots that magnet fishers claim to be great locations. Make sure if you are heading on private property that you ask for permission and check with your local parks and recreation department for local rules and guidance.

Jacob Parr, local firefighter stands next to his estimated 300 year old anchor and other items he’s magnet fished from the water in Suffolk. (Photo source Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press)

It is always a good idea to check with your state police and local parks and recreation departments for any updated or local rules but according to Magnetfishingpro.com South Carolina is the only state where it is not legal to magnet fish.

What did we find magnet fishing?

We went out on our first expedition and had an hilarious time. Ok… we didn’t catch a 300 year old anchor but definitely cleaned up our local river a little. The first thing we “hooked” was a large lure with a fake worm. Next we pulled in a rusty bell, more fishing lures, fishing reel and the  pièce de résistance of the day: a fork!


Will we go again? You betcha. This was good fun, and we cleaned a bunch of junk out of our local river so there is an environmental benefit too. You never know what you will pull up and you will have a good laugh at the unexpected finds on the bottom of your magnet. Also there are those “big fish” stories to “lure” you in…while we were “fishing” a kayaker told us she knew there was a GoPro out there, because she was there when a fellow kayaker lost one. But you know what you will catch? A fun time with your family. Happy magnet fishing ya’ll!

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  • Olivia Bada

    Marketing, communications, sales, writing, and web management all come together when working on published pieces for Localourist, The Burg Weekender, The Burg Weekly and Williamsburg Families.

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