What is Magnet Fishing?
Magnet fishing isn't about using magnets to catch fish. Instead, you use magnets to pull up metal objects from lakes, rivers, wells, canals, and other natural and artificial bodies of water. As long as you don't expect to find something great very fast, it is a great hobby.
With a metal detector, you can look for metal objects close to the surface. However, a metal detector won't work to find anything at the bottom of a lake. There are many interesting and sometimes even valuable metal objects at the bottom of lakes if you know where to look.
To find metal objects at the bottom of a lake, you need to go "fishing" with magnets. Just because you cannot electronically detect a metal object at the bottom of a river doesn't mean you can't find it or bring it up. With powerful magnets and strong lines, you can pull up heavy objects.
You Are Not Limited to Light Objects
People don't go magnet fishing with weak fridge magnets. Instead, they use powerful neodymium magnets made out of rare earth metals.
One of these magnets can pull object hundreds of times its weight. For example, a magnet that weighs as little as two pounds can pull an object that weighs hundreds of pounds up to the surface.
Modern technology has made very powerful magnets stronger and cheaper than ever before. Inventors have learned much more about rare earth metals and how many uses there are for these wondrous materials. Modern smartphones and computers depend on rare earth metals, and so do many other things, including magnets that are incredibly strong for their weight.
What Are the Best Magnets for Magnet Fishing?
Brute Magnetics High Strength Magnet Fishing Kit
Reasons to Buy
- A heavy-duty magnet that can pull 1200+ pounds
- Includes everything you need to go magnet fishing
- Durable case
- Probably better than any other kit
- Strong money-back guarantee
- Relatively heavy
The Brute Magnetics High Strength Magnet Fishing Kit is my favorite magnet fishing product. It includes gloves, a very durable hard plastic case, and a great rope to attach to your boat and the magnet. The kit also includes a carabiner and a thread-locker.
More than anything else, this is a great kit because of the magnet's power. At 1200+ pounds, it is more than strong enough for either magnet fishing or other uses. The magnet is small as well as strong, with a diameter of somewhat over four inches.
Another great thing about the magnet is its money-back guarantee. Brute magnetics tests all its products properly, and they will send you a replacement without a hassle if there is anything wrong.
Mutuactor Neodymium Fishing Magnet
Reasons to Buy
- Low price
- Great for beginners
- The company is willing to replace it if the clip breaks
- Not as strong as some other magnets
- Some people report that the clip can break
While the Mutuactor Neodymium Fishing Magnet is relatively weak (400 pounds pull force) it is light, relatively cheap, and great for beginners. If you don't want to spend much until you are sure you like the hobby, start with the inexpensive Mutuactor.
The Mutuactor kit also comes with a strong 64-foot rope with a strong hook, plus a carry bag, so you get everything you need to start magnet fishing. 400 pounds isn't good enough for everything, but it is strong enough that people use the magnet commercially to retrieve lost tools.
Some people report that the clip is not as strong as it should be and can break. I never had this problem, and the company does a good job of sending you a replacement. However, some fishing magnets probably have much stronger clips than this one does.
DIYMAG Fishing Magnet
Reasons to Buy
- Pulls only in a single direction
- Excellent, durable coating
- The magnet is very long-lasting
- Max pull strength (500lbs) is a bit low
The DIYMAG Fishing Magnet concentrates all of its magnetic force downwards and not in both directions. The bottom of the magnet is neodymium and powerfully magnetic, the top is stainless steel and has no magnetic pull. This prevents the magnet from clinging to anything you don't want it to.
The magnet is also durable. It is coated in an excellent mix of nickel and copper, which looks great and prevents rust. The magnet will keep its strength for a very long time without weakening.
DIYMAG 100 Pound Magnet Set of Twelve
Reasons to Buy
- Works great for magnet fishing if you want to use a lighter magnet or a few lighter magnets
- Works properly at higher temperatures (up to 80 degrees Celsius)
- Durable stainless steel coating
- Resistant to chipping or cracking
- Multiple small magnets raise additional safety concerns
Sometimes, you can do better with a set of smaller magnets than with a single large and powerful magnet. Depending on what you are trying to do, a set of twelve 100-pound force magnets may be a great choice.
As well as for magnet fishing, you can use these to hold up and lift objects at home and in the workplace. The 100-pound strength magnets are encased in steel shells, making them long-lasting. The company offers a strong 30-day money-back guarantee.
Using a set of small magnets instead of a single powerful magnet has its own safety risks. Make sure you read the instructions and use the magnets properly. Always remove a magnet from a stack of magnets the way they recommend.
Gerguirry Double-Sided Magnet Fishing Kit
Reasons to Buy
- Extra-high strength fishing magnet
- A complete kit with lots of accessories
- Somewhat expensive
If you want heavy-duty pulling power, the Gerguirry Double-Sided Magnet can pull 1725 pounds. The magnet is two-sided, which makes it particularly likely to attach to whatever it touches underwater. This is also a complete magnet fishing kit, so it offers:
- A stainless steel grappling hook
- Two M8 Eyebolt Fasteners
- A stainless steel locking carabiner
- 100-foot nylon rope
- Waterproof gloves
- Adhesive tape
Neodymium is the Best Material for Magnets
Neodymium is a very powerful and relatively hard-to-find material that can make extremely strong magnets. Neodymium magnets are so powerful that two neodymium magnets will shatter if you put the two together. You can use a neodymium magnet to pull up very heavy objects if you attach it to a strong enough line.
Magnets made of a neodymium-iron alloy are the strongest magnets in commercial use, so you are getting the best available technology. Normally, neodymium is not magnetic. However, if you either cool it to a very low temperature or combine it with iron, it becomes very magnetic.
How are Neodymium Magnets Manufactured?
Usually, materials (including Neodymium and iron) are melted at very high temperatures and then poured into a mold. This does not create complete magnets, but rather ingots that are ground into powder, and the powder is made into blocks that are then magnetized. This is known as classic powder metallurgy.
The other way to manufacture them is called rapid solidification. Rapid solidification involves making a very thin ribbon out of iron-neodymium alloy, melting/pulverizing it, mixing it with a high-tech polymer, and then injecting it into magnets. Both of these processes produce much more powerful magnets than older and simpler manufacturing processes.
What Properties Does Neodymium Have?
Good metal for magnets should have the following:
- A strong magnetic field
- The ability to remain magnetized and not lose its magnetism over time or in the wrong conditions
- The ability to remain magnetic regardless of the temperature or at any likely temperature
- A high energy density
Neodymium magnets possess most but not all of these positive qualities. While a Neodymium magnet is powerful and doesn't lose its magnetism easily, it loses its magnetism at high temperatures.
While a Neodymium-iron alloy will keep its magnetism at much higher than room temperature, the maximum temperature is still low. Other magnets are better if you need a material that will perform at a high temperature. Adding dysprosium and terbium to the iron-neodymium mix increases the maximum temperature.
Despite is huge advantages, neodymium is not a one-sidedly great material for making magnets. It can corrode over time, or even crumble into small particles. To prevent this, it needs to be coated in other metals to protect it from the air.
Are Neodymium Magnets the Best for Fishing?
Yes, neodymium magnets are the best because of how powerful they are. They will not usually corrode over time because they are coated in a mix of copper and other metals. Don't feel tempted to put two of them together - they really will shatter if you do this.
Other magnets that you can use to find things underwater are ferrite magnets and mounting magnets. Ferrite magnets are large, cheap, and work reasonably well sometimes. However, you can immediately notice how weak they are compared to modern neodymium magnets.
Mounting magnets are partly made of steel and do not have much attraction to other magnets. They can sometimes also lift up underwater objects, but water will corrode them (unless they are coated) and they are also fairly weak.
Your Magnet Won't Touch an Object Flatly
Remember that your magnet may only touch the edge of an underwater object, not press against it flatly. Since your object may only graze the edge, you need a powerful magnet. A ferrous/ceramic magnet that seems strong if you press it flatly against an object may be too weak when you try to use it in a real lake.
Are Neodymium Magnets Safe?
Not unless you use them carefully. You may have always thought of magnets as completely safe, but that isn't true if they can pull hundreds of pounds. Don't get your fingers caught between two of them, as they are strong enough to seriously injure you.
Also, keep these magnets away from your electronics. Even weak magnets can damage phones/computers, and you must be particularly careful with powerful ones. Don’t use these magnets if you have a pacemaker.
What Are the Best Ropes?
You also need the right ropes when magnet fishing. Don't use fishing like - that isn't strong enough for some of the best things you might find underwater.
If you can't pull something heavy up, you might find it hard to find that spot again when you go back out with stronger ropes. Use strong ropes and strong magnets to pull anything impressive up with you have a chance.
Nylon paracord is a great material for magnet fishing ropes. It should be at least 50 feet long, longer than necessary to reach the bottom if you are in shallow water.
What Features Should a Fishing Magnet Have?
Plated Nickel and Copper Coating
Magnets need to be durable as well as powerful. Since neodymium is a delicate material in some ways, your magnet needs to be coated in a material that won't corrode easily.
Stainless Steel Cover
Another option besides copper is stainless steel. Stainless steel won't rust and won't corrode, so it can protect the delicate neodymium within it.
Countersunk Hole Fasteners
You need to be able to attach ropes to your magnet easily. If your magnet uses countersunk hole fasteners, attaching a rope and magnet fishing is easy. You need a countersunk hole or eyebolt fastener to attach the other end of your rope to your boat.
How Much Pulling Strength is Enough?
Fishing magnets are advertised as capable of pulling 500lbs, 800lbs, 1000lbs, or even more. How much pulling strength is enough?
While 500 pounds is often enough, more pulling strength is better. It is not a waste of money to get magnets that can handle 800 or 1000 pounds. The more pulling strength your magnets have, the better your chances of finding something impressive.
Is Magnet Fishing Legal?
There aren't any laws against magnet fishing anywhere in the United States. Be careful with trespassing laws. You can usually fish or magnet fish in a river that goes through someone's property, but not in someone's private lake. If you want to go magnet fishing on private property (usually rivers are public property) you need to ask permission first.
Can You Find Gold?
Unfortunately, a gold object won't cling to a magnet. You might find something valuable if you are lucky, but magnets don't affect gold the way they affect iron.