What Is Magnet Fishing?


Fishing has been around since the dawn of time, and people have modified and adapted different fishing styles and techniques over the years for catching different types of fish and different ways to catch them. There is fly fishing, deep-sea fishing, lake fishing, river fishing, and now the big craze is magnet fishing. This sport has been gaining traction in popularity for quite some time and is really big on both YouTube and Facebook feeds. Still, a lot of people do not know what this sport is and what it even means, so we thought we would write this article up for everyone to explain it.

What is magnet fishing? Magnet fishing or magnetic fishing involves taking a high powered magnet, attaching it to a rope, wire, or fishing line, then throwing it out as far as you can and dragging it back to shore hoping to “catch” anything that is magnetic. Magnet fishers are interested in pulling up anything that is magnetic from the bottom in the hopes of finding valuable items. You could find anything from money, lures, guns, and other things that people have lost or thrown into a lake, river, or any body of water. This sport has been widely adopted by a lot of people after videos of people finding firearms and even safes surfaces on the internet.

Is It Legal?

In all the research that I have done, there are no laws that I could find that says magnet fishing is illegal to do. The one thing that is very important is that if you try to fish on private property, you still must gain permission from the owner, or you could be violating trespassing laws. Always check your local fish and game website to make sure that they have not added any new laws that might prevent you from magnet fishing, or requires you to get a special license or permit. The only state that we could find in South Carolina where it seems to be illegal for any state-owned waters there. If you live outside the US, it is highly encouraged that you ask your local government because we have read that some UK laws will not allow you to magnet fish.

Do You Need A License For Magnet Fishing?

At this point, there is no local law that I could find that says you need to have any sort of license when magnet fishing. You must ask and get permission to fish in private areas, or you could be breaking trespassing laws that can carry a fine, and time in jail, so always ask before you throw a magnet out. Laws change very quickly, so it is always a great idea to check with your local fish and game website to see if anything new has been added or changed.

Is Magnet Fishing Dangerous?

While magnet fishing is normally not very dangerous, there are some things that could harm you if you are not careful. The first is finding something that is sharp and rusted because if you get cut, and you have not had a tetanus shot, you could get tetanus and will be spending some time in the hospital. It is important to wear gloves and proper clothing in case you do find something rusted. Fishing hooks and lures can also be very sharp and you can get them stuck in your skin and could have to be cut out or pulled out by a doctor. The last thing you will want to watch out for is dropping something heavy on yourself, or pulling a muscle trying to drag something very large into shore. These are high powered magnets and can pull hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Can You Make Money Magnet Fishing?

Yes! You can actually make money magnet fishing if you are lucky enough to find something rare like an antique firearm, or people have caught old bikes and even safes. Since gold, silver, and most money is not magnetic, you will probably not get rich by magnet fishing, and it is very rare in the US that you will find a firearm or safe, but it does happen. You could find things like phones, sunglasses, and other things that you can dry out and sell for a profit. We suggest that you go magnet fishing for the fun of it, and not to spend money on all the equipment if you think you are going to get rich. If you want to treasure hunt, you should get a metal detector.

Can You Keep Everything You Find?

For the most part, there is no law stating that you have to give anything you find back, but there are some circumstances that you might want to re-think that. While the law does not state you have to give the property back, it might be good karma for you to give cell phones or anything that has identifiable data on it back to the owners. It is also a good idea to report any firearms that you find to the ATF or local law enforcement right after you catch it. Always check with your local law if you have even the slightest of questions about whether you should keep something or not.

What Do I Need In Order To Magnet Fish?

There are only a few things you will need in order to start magnet fishing. The first is a rare earth magnet. The second is a rope or string that is strong enough to handle whatever you find on the bottom. The third is permission from anyone that has private property or ask the local law in a public place. Tie the magnet to the rope, start throwing, and try to pull in very slowly until you feel something attach to the magnet. That’s it.

How Strong Of A Magnet Do I Need?

You will want to get a rare earth magnet to start, and the lightest you will want to get is a magnet with a pulling force of at least 500lbs (226kg). The next step up would be a rare earth magnet with a pulling for of 700 pounds, which is still a very strong magnet. If you really want to get into magnet fishing, then go with an 800lbs (362kg). Finally, If you love the sport, then go with a 1000 pound pulling force (453kg). There is a special magnet ff you’re tactical, and that is a double-sided magnet, but be careful, these can get tangled and stuck.

Where Is The Best Place To Magnet Fish?

While you can magnet fish on any body of water, there are a few places where you might find better luck than others. We have put a list together for you below, but one important thing you will want to remember is to try to magnet fish anywhere there are a lot of people walking, or possibly kayaking, boating, or swimming. Doing that will ensure that you find more treasures. Here is our list of favorite places:

  • Underneath Old Bridges
  • Along Piers in Harbors
  • Rivers Flowing Through Busy Cities
  • Near Historical Sites or landmarks
  • Old Wells
  • Industrial Facilities (especially abandoned).
  • Docks and Boat Launch Ramps

What Kind Of Stuff Can You Find Magnet Fishing?

The fun thing about magnet fishing is that there is a TON of stuff that is magnetic, so you have a chance of finding all sorts of stuff. Here is just a small list of some of the things you can find.

  • Knives
  • Guns
  • Lures
  • Sunglasses
  • Purses
  • Safes
  • Bicycles
  • Scooters
  • Garden Tools
  • Skateboards
  • Fishing Reels
  • Phones
  • Tools

As you can see, there is a ton of stuff that you can find out there, and our list was just a small one of the best stuff we have found.

Can I Magnet Fish Alone?

While you can magnet fish alone, you might want to go with at least one other person. You never know when you might catch something that will take two people to pull up like a bicycle or small safe. You would be surprised how much stuff people actually throw into the water thinking it will never be seen again. Magnet fishing with at least two people is also much safer and is really fun to do with friends and family.

Final Thoughts

Magnet fishing is very fun and is actually something to do when you want to take a break from regular fishing. Always follow state and local laws before just tossing a magnet out, and if you know that it is private property, always ask for permission. While you should not start magnet fishing to get rich, you might just find some buried treasure or valuable items. Since this sport is really not that expensive to get into, give a try and see if you like it.

Terry Minton

I am the owner of Fast Cast Rods. I live in the mountains of Northern California where I love to be outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and hiking with my wife and three awesome kids.

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