The Best Magnet Fishing Tips for Beginners
Magnet fishing is an exciting hobby that allows you to search waterways for metallic objects using a strong magnet. It’s like treasure hunting, except you’re using a magnet instead of a metal detector.
You can find out more about how to start metal detecting here. Magnet fishing has exploded in popularity in recent years as more people discover how fun and rewarding it can be.
If you’re new to magnet fishing, these tips will help you get started and have the best experience possible.
1 – What is the best magnet for magnet fishing?
The most important piece of gear for magnet fishing is your magnet. It’s important to choose the correct one. Neodymium magnets that are at least 1,000 lbs pull force or higher work best.
This will allow you to attract and pull up large heavy objects from the bottom. Brute magnetics and triple stack magnets are popular choices. Make sure whatever magnet you get has an eye bolt attached so you can tie on your rope.
Magnets can come in various strengths and generally, the stronger the magnet, the more expensive it is. You can read my article on magnet fishing magnets here.
2 – Best rope for magnet fishing
You’ll need some robust rope to attach to your magnet so you can drop it in the water and pull up your finds. Generally, 50-100 ft of 550 paracord works well.
Climbing rope is also a widely used rope for magnet fishing. The climbing is usually thicker than the paracord but both are equally strong.
Make sure it’s tied tightly to the eye bolt robustly. Also wear gloves to protect your hands when pulling up debris. There are al sorts of nasties lurking in water and silt. You don’t want them in a cut.
3 – Find some historical locations
Not all waterways are created equal when it comes to magnet fishing. Look for areas where people have lived and worked for generations.
Boat launches and marinas are also prime spots. Parks, bridges and historic sites near water can also be fruitful magnet fishing locations.
Look for old stone bridges in your area and try to find out it’s history. People have been tossing items into rivers and waterways for hundreds of years.
Battles have even been fought across bridges with items being lost during the fight. I have a great article on some free online resources to help you research here.
5 – Watch Out for Hazards
As with any water activity, it’s important to be cautious of potential hazards. Keep an eye out for slippery rocks and riverbanks, fast moving water and passing boats.
Broken glass or other sharp objects like rusty knives or fishing hooks and lures may snag on your magnet or at worst, cut or embed into your hands.
Always ensure that you have thick gloves on to avoid this. If you are thinking of wading out or even if you have youngsters with you, think of getting some low profile life vests just in case.
Be aware of any nasties in the water and try to avoid getting anything in your mouth. A great tip is to take some anti bacterial hand gel with you.
Always let someone know where you are going. Another tip would be place your mobile phone into an waterproof sealed bag just in case you go in!
Safety should always come first.
6 – Magnet fishing laws UK
While magnet fishing itself is perfectly legal, what you do with your finds may be restricted. Make sure you follow all local laws and regulations regarding keeping or discarding objects you pull up.
Remember that all finds that fall into the “treasure” category MUST be declared by law. Don’t worry, the treasure process will give you a finders split.
I have a good article on the treasure process here. It’s also good etiquette to avoid magnet fishing in areas marked private property or no trespassing. When in doubt, ask permission.
Finally, if any discarded firearms, ammunition or explosives are discovered, you must inform the Police straight away.
7 – Clean Finds Properly
One of the joys of magnet fishing is cleaning your discoveries to identify and display them. Be sure to have gloves, eye protection and a rag when cleaning metallic items covered in mud and grime.
Most finds can be cleaned with soap and water, but more delicate items may require a gentle solvent. I have a more detailed article on cleaning coins and artefacts here.
8 – Consider Starting a Collection
Many magnet fishing enthusiasts enjoy starting a collection of their favorite or most unique finds. You can create displays in your home or even sell cleaned items to other collectors.
Popular objects to collect include old coins, antique door hinges, railroad spikes, safes, and firearms that have been decommissioned.
You would be surprised who would buy these items at a car boot sale or on Ebay!
9 – Utilise Social Media
The magnet fishing community is thriving on social media. Joining Facebook groups and following hashtag feeds like #magnetfishing can help you connect with fellow hobbyists.
You can also get advice, share photos and show off your coolest discoveries. Just be sure to check group rules before posting.
10 – Start Close to the Bank
When first starting out with magnet fishing, begin in shallow waters near the bank. This allows you to easily control the magnet and retrieve items in shallow water.
If you are feeling brave, venture out only waist or chest deep if you have the correct waterproof kit and life vest.
Once you gain experience, you can venture into deeper waters. Starting close to the bank also yields more finds like lost coins, jewelry, sunglasses and phones.
11 – Vary Your Retrieval Technique
As you get comfortable with the hobby, try varying your retrieval methods. You can sweep the magnet back and forth along the bottom. Alternately raise and lower it quickly to dislodge items.
Or even throw it as far as you can then slowly drag it back. Each technique has its merits and helps ensure you’re not missing hidden treasures.
12 – Research Interesting Sites
Reading up on the history of magnet fishing locations can clue you into spots that might contain rare artifacts or trace back to significant events.
Old bridges, industrial sites, marinas, and historic waterfronts tend to yield antique treasures. Sites tied to war history or folklore can also be hotspots.
13 – Join a Club
Many areas now have magnet fishing clubs and groups that meet up to fish together. Joining a club is a great way to learn new tips, discover the best local spots, find magnet fishing buddies, and get shown unique finds by fellow members.
It’s also just more fun to have others alongside you when you hook onto something big.
14 – Respect the Environment
While scouring waterways with a magnet can be exciting, it’s important to do so responsibly. Avoid damaging or disturbing wildlife habitats.
Properly dispose of hazardous items you retrieve like fuel containers and weapons. Following Leave No Trace principles helps keep magnet fishing sustainable and enjoyable.
15 – Patience Is Key
Like regular fishing, there will be days when you get no bites on your magnet. Don’t get discouraged. Stick with it and return another day – the treasures are out there waiting!
Persistence and regularly hitting proven magnet fishing spots yield the best long-term results.
16 – Go Exploring
While known magnet fishing hot spots are great, don’t be afraid to explore new waterways and locations. Some of the best finds come when venturing off the beaten path.
You may find a new favorite magnet fishing spot plus have bragging rights for discovering a hidden honey hole. Just take appropriate precautions.
17 – Start a Treasure Map
Marking magnet fishing spots, GPS coordinates and your best finds on a map can make it easier to return to proven fishing locales.
Plus, looking back on your map gives a satisfying visual reminder of all the places explored and treasures found on your magnet fishing journeys.
It can also help to catalogue your finds!
18 – Enjoy the Community
As mentioned above, the magnet fishing community is passionate and thriving. There are online forums, social media groups, field experts, retailers, manufacturers, clubs, events and more.
Engage with other magnet anglers to mutually share advice, stories, photos, tricks, and finds!
So there you have it – some top tips to get you started with this fun and rewarding hobby. Magnet fishing allows you to enjoy the thrill of discovery, the wonders of the outdoors, and the pride of displaying your finds.
If you’re new to magnet fishing, start with these tips and you’ll be on your way to creating amazing memories and finding hidden treasures!