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  • Writer's pictureJared

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Magnet Fishing: Tips and Tricks to Get You Hooked


A Fishing Magnet with Scrap Metal Attached


Magnet fishing is a hobby involving using a strong magnet to pull metal objects out of waterways such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

The hobby is similar to fishing, but instead of catching fish, you are “catching” metallic treasures hidden underwater.

It is unclear how long magnet fishing has been around, but it is thought to have originated with boaters attempting to recover lost items such as keys.

Magnet fishing was popular in European countries and has recently increased in popularity in the United States over the past couple of years.

Magnet fishing is simple and works by attaching a strong magnet to a rope and lowering it into the water. The magnet attracts metal objects pulled to the surface when the magnet is "reeled" in.

In this article, I provide an ultimate guide to magnet fishing for beginners by discussing the significance of magnet fishing, how to get started with magnet fishing, the equipment needed, and the legality and environmental considerations.

Magnet fishing significance

A Bridge Over a Waterway

Magnet fishing is not only an exciting and adventurous hobby but can also be an environmentally-friendly way to clean up waterways.

If you're feeling particularly environmentally conscious, consider getting some friends together for a magnet fishing excursion to clean up your local waterway. This is an excellent way to contribute to your own community and have a great time while doing it.

Magnet fishing is also a great way to explore and discover what lies beneath the water's surface. This hobby can motivate you to get off the couch and into the great outdoors.

Going magnet fishing can be enjoyable for folks of all ages.

Getting started

Before you jump into magnet fishing, you should know several essential things and some equipment you will need to have on hand.

In this section, I’ll go over the safety precautions you should take, the required equipment, and how to choose the right magnet and rope for magnet fishing.

Safety precautions

Man Holding up Fishing Magnet

As with any outdoor activity, safety should always be the top priority. The same goes for magnet fishing.

The following are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp or rusty objects.

  • Use caution when lowering and retrieving the magnet, as it can and will be heavy, especially if you have latched on to a heavy object.

  • Avoid magnet fishing in waters with strong currents, as controlling the rope and retrieving the fishing magnet can be difficult.

  • Never trespass by attempting to magnet fish on private property or areas off-limits to the public.

  • Be mindful of other people and avoid disrupting their outdoor activities.

  • If you find any hazardous materials or dangerous items, do not touch them and contact the respective authorities.

Required equipment

To get started magnet fishing, you’ll need the following equipment:

Powerful fishing magnet

Fishing Magnet Being Pulled out of Water

Neodymium magnets are most commonly used for magnet fishing due to their strength and durability.

The strength of the magnet you need will depend on the type of objects you hope to find and the depth of water you will be fishing in.

Strong rope

You’ll also need a rope that can support the weight of the magnet and whatever it happens to latch on to.

Nylon or polypropylene ropes are good choices because they are strong and water-resistant.


Protective Work Gloves

A good pair of gloves will protect your hands from sharp or rusty objects when magnet fishing.

Bucket or bag

You will need something to hold and transport the objects you might find.

Optional: grappling hook

A grappling hook can help you retrieve objects too large or irregular to be lifted with the magnet alone.

Choosing the right fishing magnet

Choosing the right magnet for fishing is crucial for a successful magnet fishing trip.

The following should be considered when purchasing a fishing magnet:


The magnet’s strength is measured in pounds of pull force, or essentially the weight the magnet can hold.

Generally, the stronger the magnet, the more expensive it will be.

A magnet with 300-500 pounds of pull force should be sufficient for beginners.

Size and shape

The size and shape of the magnet will affect how easily it can be cast and retrieved.

A disc-shaped magnet is easier to handle than a block-shaped one.


The best magnets for magnet fishing are coated in a triple layer of nickel-copper-nickel.

Try to watch for this type of coating when purchasing a fishing magnet, as it will prevent corrosion and increase the lifespan of your magnet.

To learn more about the criteria for choosing a fishing magnet or to shop for the best magnets for magnet fishing, check out my other article here.

Choosing the right rope

The rope you choose for magnet fishing should be solid enough to support the weight of the magnet and any objects you retrieve.

As mentioned, nylon or polypropylene ropes are excellent choices due to their strength and water resistance.

Look for a rope with a diameter of at least 6mm and a length of 50 to 100 feet, depending on the water depth you will be fishing in.

You also want to ensure that the attachment connecting your rope to your fishing magnet is durable and easily removable.

In the next section, I’ll go over how to magnet fish, from finding a suitable location to identifying and removing objects.

How to magnet fish

Now that you know the necessary equipment and safety precautions, it's time to learn how to begin magnet fishing.

In this section, I’ll walk you through the steps of magnet fishing, from finding a suitable location to identifying and removing objects.

Finding a suitable location

Bridge Over Creek

The first step to magnet fishing (after acquiring the proper equipment) is to find a suitable location.

Bodies of water with a high volume of foot and boat traffic, such as lakes, rivers, and canals, are good places to start due to the higher probability of recovering lost items.

Look for areas near bridges, docks, or other structures to explore locations where people might drop or lose objects.

Remember, you should always ensure magnet fishing is allowed in whichever location you consider.

Casting and retrieving your fishing magnet

Once you have found a suitable location, it’s time to start magnet fishing.

Here are some steps to follow:

1. For starters, you’ll need to put on your protective gloves.

2. Next, secure the rope to the magnet using a stainless-steel attachment such as a carabiner.

3. Stand on the bank or a stable surface, and gently lower the magnet down into the water while keeping control of the rope so as not to lose it.

4. Wait until you feel the magnet touch the bottom, then slowly reel in your magnet by pulling the rope. Keep the rope taut as you retrieve your fishing magnet to prevent it from getting caught on any obstacles.

5. Once the magnet has been completely pulled out of the water, inspect it for any objects that might have been picked up.

6. Use caution when removing an object from the magnet if you have an object attached. Never attempt to remove objects from your fishing magnet without wearing protective gloves, as sharp or rusty objects might have been picked up.

7. Place any retrieved objects in a bucket or bag for disposal or further inspection and cleaning.

8. Repeat the process in various locations for the highest chances of a good haul.

Identifying and removing objects

As you retrieve the agent, you might pick up various objects, from coins and fishing lures to knives and bicycles. It is important to identify and remove any objects you find to prevent them from causing harm to people or the environment.

Here are some tips for identifying and removing objects:

  • Rusty or sharp objects should always be handled carefully and with protective gloves.

  • If you find hazardous or dangerous objects, do not touch them and contact the proper authorities.

  • If you find valuable objects, such as jewelry or coins, check local laws and regulations to determine if you are allowed to keep them.

  • Dispose of any trash or debris you find to help preserve the natural environment.

Cleaning and maintaining your equipment

After each magnet fishing trip, cleaning and maintaining your equipment is important to ensure it lasts for many trips to come.

Rinse the magnet and rope with fresh water to remove debris or salt water, and dry them thoroughly to prevent corrosion or deterioration.

Store the magnet and rope in a cool, dry place to prevent sun damage or moisture buildup.

Legal considerations

No Trespassing Sign on Tree

Magnet fishing is an adventurous and exciting hobby. Still, there are some regulatory precautions you should consider before taking your fishing trip.

First of all, magnet fishing is not allowed everywhere.

Generally, magnet fishing is allowed in the United States. However, each state has its own regulations for whether or not magnet fishing is permitted. For instance, magnet fishing is not allowed in the state of South Carolina.

Magnet fishing is also not permitted on private property unless you have expressed permission from the owner to do so.

Additionally, magnet fishing is banned in many parts of Europe, so wherever you consider going, check the local regulations first.

Finally, I want to say that we in the magnet fishing community consider this pastime to be environmentally friendly, as, after all, we are potentially removing garbage and debris from waterways. However, not all governing bodies view magnet fishing in this light, and some even consider it destructive. Just be smart and safe when planning your magnet fishing trip.


I have thoroughly enjoyed getting into magnet fishing recently. I hope this article will encourage you to try magnet fishing as well.

It is a relatively straightforward hobby, but you still want to consider the various talking points I have discussed in this ultimate guide.

You have learned about the significance of the hobby, the equipment needed, getting started, and some of the legal and environmental considerations of magnet fishing.

With this knowledge, I hope you have gained a clear understanding of magnet fishing and all it has to offer.

If you're interested in learning about the best magnets for magnet fishing, please check out my guide here.

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