3 Steps to Start Magnet Fishing
Ever watch those fun magnet fishing videos on Youtube or TikTok? Or maybe you have seen some folks chucking something over a bridge with ropes attached? Either way, you found out about this crazy hobby called magnet fishing.
Magnet fishing could seem a bit daunting but in reality its quite a simple outdoor hobby. You just require a strong neodymium magnet, a rope and bodies of water. That's all you need to get started, but of course theres a bit more to it that we will share here.
Step 1: Get a Magnet and Rope (or Magnet Fishing Kit)
In order to become a magnet fisher you are going to need a magnet. I mean, it's in the name so that should be a bit obvious...but some people think a fishing rod and fish are involved so we thought we would clear that up just in case. People have been doing this for years and years now and have found ways of finding large magnets usually from speakers. However now there are is a huge variety of magnets to choose from.
There are single sided magnets that are great for dipping from bridges, docks or boats.
Then there are double sided magnets that are great for dragging. Most double sided magnets can be versatile in that they can have the eyebolt on the side or on top to switch from a double sided or single sided magnet.
And now there are clamp style magnets that are similar to the traditional double sided magnets but are created from one solid neodymium magnet instead of two thinner magnets.
And finally, there are 360 magnets, where the entire magnet is magnetic on all sides, not just one or two sides, but 360 degrees. These tend to be the most expensive, and are prone to cracking if you don't use caution.
Also a quick note- use neodymium magnets. They are the super strong magnets on earth and have properties that make them best for magnet fishing.
You can purchase magnets by themselves or if you want to go an easier way, and sometimes even more cost effective, you can start with a magnet fishing kit. These are great for anyone who has no gear already or want to gift fishing magnets to someone they love. Most kits include at least a magnet rope carabiner and gloves. Another item usually included is thread-locker, its your magnets insurance of sorts.
"Okay all this is great, but what magnet should I start with?"
Start with a magnet that is not huge.
The pull force of the magnet is important but it is not everything. I recommend starting with at minimum 500 lbs pulling force (per side if double sided) and at maximum around
- 1200 lbs single sided,
- 2000 double or
- 1400 lb magnet for a clamp style magnet.
- Something around 300 lb pull force could be good for very young kids, but even then I would suggest starting with something around the 500 lb mark so they have a better chance of finding things.
Quick Tip: A great starter kit makes this super easy and helps anyone get going without having to think through so many variables.
For a more in depth look at what magnet may be best for you, check out this article about choosing a magnet...
Magnet Fishing Rope
Most magnet fishing bundles are going to come with a rope that also will work well with the magnet. Polyester and Nylon make great ropes to use for magnet fishing, but we personally prefer polyester for the way it handles water and sunlight. Our favorite length for rope is 65 ft but also 100 ft can come in handy with taller bridges.
You want a rope that has a breaking strength at minimum matching the pull of the magnet, but to be safe try for 1.5x. For example if your magnet has a pull strength of 500 lbs, you want to have a rope with a breaking strength with at least 500-750 pounds.
Step 2: Find a Treasure Hunting Location
You got your magnet fishing rope, your magnet and are ready to rock and roll. Now, where to find a good spot for magnet fishing? Can you go just any place? Is there certain locations that are typically better than others?
Location is crucial to magnet fishing. You can fish all day, have the best magnet on the market, and still not pull anything up if your location is not on point. In order to "stack the deck in your favor" we have some basic tips for finding better locations and things to look for.
Locations that are typically better than others would include boat docks, overpasses with canals under them, walking bridges, urban canals, swimming holes and boardwalks.
When looking for good magnet fishing spots your looking for a body of water, good human traffic that passes near-bye, and also places that don't have lots of big rocks.
Quick Tip: Rocks are your enemy, they will crack neodymium magnets. So stay away from places with lots of jagged rocks, try your best to test the waters using a rope with someone metal on the end or a cheap magnet.
Tools for Finding Locations
You can also use google maps to find locations. Simply open up the application, and start finding places where the water crosses or gets very close to roads and walking paths. Urban environments generally are filled with more metal objects since there is more people around than in rural environments.
Another good resource we use and suggest is bridgehunter.com
Looking for a more in depth tutorial on finding the best places to magnet fish? Click here.
Step 3: Toss. Pull. Collect. Repeat.
Now for the fun part. You have your magnet thread-locked, its cured for 12-24 hours, your rope is ready to go either directly tied to the eyebolt or using a carabiner and now your at the location. Time to start magnet fishin!
Make sure that you tie off the other end of your rope that isn't attached to the magnet. Trust me...I learned the hard way.
Then start throwing out your magnet. You'll get the feel for it when you're tossing it out and pulling back in. Sometimes you'll feel the magnet clink onto something, sometimes the metal object is too light and you'll be surprised when you pull it up.
Quick tip: Be careful on steel bridges. They tend to eat magnets for breakfast if you are not careful. Magnets love to get stuck to them and are hard to get off without other tools.
What To Do With What You Find
Make sure that you collect everything you pull up. Use a bucket for the smaller stuff and dispose of the larger things at a scraper (extra $$$ for you) or a near-bye dumpster. Whatever you do, don't leave items on the side of the road, bridge or dock. There has already been issues with this and it will cause new laws to be put in place to restrict magnet fishing.
Then of course there is the items you want to keep! Those are lots of fun and always keep us looking for more.
After you collect your find, you toss your magnet again and keep on going. Some days will be better than others. Some locations are simply duds, and then some are honey-holes with lots of treasures.
Magnet fishing is not super complex, but it sure is a lot of fun. Grab yourself a magnet or magnet fishing kit and get out on the water to find yourself some cool finds. You'll also be helping clean up our waters.