The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Magnet Fishing

Introduction to magnet fishing

Welcome to the ultimate beginner’s guide to magnet fishing. I have called it so because that is what I am a beginner.

I have recently started the wonderful hobby of magnet fishing, alongside my other wonderful hobby of metal detecting. So as I learn all about magnet fishing, and start this journey, I wanted to teach you my findings and research. As I learn more I will of course update this guide.

If you have any great tips to share or recommendations then please feel free to add them in the comments at the bottom of this page.

My main mission for this beginners guide to magnet fishing is to help you get started too!

What is magnet fishing?

Magnet fishing is the act of fishing with a very powerful magnet attached to a rope. Not trying to catch fish though, we are trying to attract metal objects to the magnet.

Over the years many metal items have been disposed of or dropped into many different bodies of water like rivers, lakes or streams. These metal items include historic relics, modern-day gadgets, and many more interesting metal items.

In recent years Magnet fishing has become increasingly popular and more and more people are getting started in this wonderful hobby every day.

How do I get started magnet fishing?

To get started in the magnet fishing hobby you’re not going to need a lot. It’s an inexpensive hobby. There are of course accessories you can add to your arsenal. Listed below are the things you need for magnet fishing, some are mandatory and some are optional.

What you will need for magnet fishing

Strong Magnet (mandatory)

There are many options when choosing a strong magnet for magnet fishing. You will need a magnet that has a strong eyebolt to attach the rope too. (don’t worry we recommend some magnets further on in this guide)

After extensive research as a beginner, I would suggest a Neodymium Magnet with an Eyebolt.

Strong Rope (mandatory)

There are two options of rope that are highly recommended these are Nylon and Paracord. The Rope Strength

Gloves (mandatory)

These will add protection to your hands, metal can be sharp and rusty. You don’t want to slice your hands open and cut your day short. It’s also a good way of keeping your hands dry and clean. Magnet fishing can be a dirty hobby.

A bag or bucket (optional)

You don’t want to lose your precious magnet fishing finds. A heavy duty bucket or bag will allow you to store your items without the worry of losing them from pockets etc

A cloth (optional) & Hand Sanitizer (optional)

Magnet fishing can be very messy a cloth and some hand sanitizer will allow you to dry and clean your hands.

Threadlock (optional)

Threadlock is an extra safety measure to prevent you from losing your Magnet. It is possible for the Eyebolt that is threaded into the magnet to work loose. A heavy duty threadlock will prevent this from happening.

Penknife or Scissors (optional)

Obviously, you will need to check the laws on carrying such items, a small penknife or pair of scissors should be fine. These can be very handy if your rope is tangled up with fishing wire, or other rope.

Where can I go magnet fishing?

Generally speaking, the same rules apply as they do in metal detecting, all land is owned by somebody and so are all lakes, rivers and streams. Which ultimately means if you want to ensure you aren’t breaking any laws or trespassing you will need to get permission.

Try to look for a busy area, somewhere where there may have been a lot of people come and go in the past. Where people could have potentially dropped or lost things.

Magnet Fishing Rivers

Rivers are a great place to go Magnet fishing. You may still need permission from whoever owns the part of the river you want to go magnet fishing on.

Rivers can be a very good place to go because over time many things will have been disposed of into the river and there have been many fishermen by the river. Try to find a good bridge to magnet fish off.

Magnet Fishing Lakes

Lakes are another good choice, same principles apply, make sure you have permission.

Again things may have been intentionally thrown into the lake over the years, people fish lakes, and perhaps even swam the lake.

Magnet Fishing at the Beach

The beach is perfect if you are struggling to get permissions. The same laws apply as they do to metal detecting a beach. Most beaches belong to the crown estate, not so long back you could apply for a simple permit to give you permission, however that has now been discontinued and you no longer require a permit. Just check that the beach you want to go to is crown owned. You can check here.

Over the years there has been a lot of people on the beach, holidaymakers, fisherman, dog walkers etc so potentially some lost metallic items on the seabed. The only downside is that many could have sunken too far into the sand. There is definitely still potential to find things especially if you can find a good spot off the pier.

What are the magnet fishing laws?

At the moment there are no specific magnet fishing laws, that being said I would believe they would follow the same principles as the metal detecting laws and rules.

The one thing I could not find anywhere and I spent a lot of time looking was somewhere that would offer a public liability insurance for magnet fishing. If anyone knows the answer to this or can offer some advice as to where one could obtain such a thing then please let me know in the comments below.

Magnet fishing code of conduct

I couldn’t actually find this anywhere so I decided to write up what I believe would be a good guideline.

  1. No Trespassing, Always ensure you have permission from the landowner to magnet fish there.
  2. Report all finds of historical importance and those defined under the treasure act.
  3. Report anything suspicious to the police or local authorities.
  4. Leave all areas tidy, do not leave unwanted finds or items left lying around. Dispose of them correctly and do not throw back into the water.
  5. Respect the country code.
  6. Record findspots as accurately as possible to assist with archaeological research etc

How to tie a knot for magnet fishing

There are believe it or “knot” a variety of different types of knots that serve different purposes. You are going to want to choose the right one for the task at hand. When Magnet fishing items that are attracted to the magnet can be very heavy or large. So we will want to choose a knot that is reliable and strong.

What Knot Should I use when Magnet Fishing?

There are literally hundreds of ways you can tie a knot. Again after extensive research, the most popular of all Magnet fishing knots is called the Palomar Knot. You can, of course, use other knots and some you may find simpler and more effective. It’s all about preference. I personally use the Palomar Knot and reccomend it.

How to tie a Palomar Knot

A highly recommended knot type when magnet fishing is the Palomar Knot. The following video gives you a step by step guide on how to attach the rope to the eyebolt of the magnet. The best thing about the Palomar knot is that you have 2 loops that go through the eyebolt so if one wears thin and snaps, you won’t lose the magnet as you will still be attached.

How to set up for magnet fishing

Once you have mastered how to do a knot you are comfortable with and you are sure it will be secure. It’s time to get set up!

  1. First, you need to cut a long strip of your rope/chord, ensure that you have more than enough to throw into the water and to be able to hold it securely.
  2. Tie the knot you are most comfortable with through the inside of the eyebolt of the magnet.
  3. Apply the threadlock if you have any to the thread and screw into the magnet.
  4. Test by throwing the magnet into an open area, checking that the magnet is secure.
  5. Once all is secure,  you can throw into the body of water.

Best Magnet fishing techniques

To be honest with you there is no real skill involved. I personally feel doing what works best for you is the key. As you get out more and practice you will find your way. For a complete beginner though you probably wonder how it actually works so here’s just a couple of simple methods I use. The best technique will also highly depend on the area you are magnet fishing in and the obstacles in your way.

Throw in and pull back

A very basic and simple method and technique. Simply throw the magnet into the body of water, let the magnet sink and slowly pull back.

Throw in, walk and pull back

For this method, you will throw in the magnet and wait for it to hit the bed at the bottom of the water, as you are pulling it in walk parallel to the magnet. A good tip to cover more ground is to try to drag the magnet from side to side as you are pulling it in.

How do I clean my magnet fishing finds?

The majority of your magnet fishing finds are going to be covered in rust. Sometimes they are that covered they are unidentifiable.

So you’re going to need a safe way to clean and clear some of that rust away. Here are a few good techniques that may help without doing irreversible damage to the find.

Please note there are many other ways of cleaning rust and your finds. These are in my opinion safer methods. If you believe that you have found something of importance and are concerned you may damage the item. Do not clean it. Look for expert advice.

Once you have removed your metal finds from the water there is a very good chance that the items deterioration rate will increase due to the oxidation. If you want to slow this process down the item should be stored in a very dry place with no oxygen (an airtight container of some sort)

Lemon Juice & Salt

The natural acid in lemon juice works very well as a natural cleaner. You will find that some well known popular cleaning products contain lemon juice.

To use this method you will need to rub salt all over the areas of rust that you want to clean, once you have coated the area, take half of a lemon and squeeze the juice all over the salt. Leave to soak for a couple of hours. Then scrub it off with a scouring pad or steel wool. If you want to cause fewer scratches I would recommend using a cloth or soft bristled brush.

Baking Soda

To use baking soda to clean rust you will need to make a paste from the Baking soda and water. Simply apply the paste to the rusted area and leave to sit for a couple of hours. Use either a scouring pad or steel wool to rub off the paste. If you are concerned again about scratches use a soft bristled brush or cloth.


Vinegar is probably the best natural cleaner available. To remove rust using vinegar you will need to let your magnet fishing find soak in a bowl of vinegar overnight. You then scrub the item with a scourer or wire wool. Again use a cloth or soft brush if you are concerned you might damage the item.

Larger magnet fishing finds you won’t be able to soak in a bowl of vinegar, a good method is to soak a rag in vinegar and wrap around the item.

What’s the best magnet for magnet fishing?

Best Magnet Fishing MagnetRecommended Magnets

Aitsite 226KG Pulling Force N35 Neodymium Magnet (Very Strong)

A very powerful and highly recommended magnet for magnet fishing. This magnet is more than enough power for what you need. I do highly recommend purchasing something like this for a beginner to save you having to upgrade later on, or from the disappointment of a weaker magnet.

This is more than enough for all of your needs.

You can pick this magnet up for approximately £45 including free delivery. I would also suggest you purchase some threadlock for about £3 to ensure you do not lose your magnet.

Buy it now from Amazon here.

What’s the best rope for magnet fishing?

ParaPro Paracord Magnet Fishing RopeRecommended Rope

ParaPro Paracord (top rated for magnet fishing)

The ParaPro Paracord is the number 1 rated rope for magnet fishing.It is lightweight and made from 100% nylon with an inner core & an outer sheath woven over it for extra strength & versatility.

It is extremely strong and rated at a minimum of 250kg so works perfectly in conjunction with the Aitsite 226kg magnet.

Buy it now from Amazon here.


Other recommended magnet fishing accessories


Buy it now from Amazon

Threadlock for magnet fishing

This will ensure you do not lose your magnet. Apply some to the thread of the eyebolt before you screw into the magnet. Very quick-drying and secure.

Magnet Fishing Summary

Generally speaking, this hobby is relatively simple. You will find your own way after you get out there and practice. There is no right or wrong way to do things. I suggest you be aware of safety precautions and act responsibly when near to the water.

When removing metal items from the magnet as well you should always be careful, remember the magnet will try to pull the metal back to it, you do not want to get your fingers in the way.

Ensure you are allowed to be where you are magnet fishing.

Take your time and have fun. Magnet fishing is very exciting. As I am learning more and getting out more, I’m really starting to find the hobby intriguing. Some of the things you find really are exciting.

Metal detecting will always be my number one hobby, however, Magnet fishing is fantastic for those who can’t afford a metal detector. It’s a very cheap hobby to start and very simple.

If I were you I would also visit YouTube there are many magnet fishers out there that have YouTube channels and record their findings, adventures and best tips!

FAQ about Magnet Fishing

What is a neodymium magnet?

A Neodymium magnet is the most powerful available per unit volume. These magnets will sometimes be also called “rare Earth magnets”.  The manufacturing process is very complex. Vacuum melting, milling, pressing and sintering. The magnets are then broken down by slicing into smaller sized magnets or ground down by using grinding tools. Learn more about neodymium magnets.

Is Gold Magnetic?

Simply put pure gold is not magnetic. So don’t expect hoards of treasure to attach itself to your magnet. That doesn’t mean though that the container holding the gold isn’t magnetic….you catch my drift.

What will I find Magnet Fishing?

There is potential to find just about anything metallic. People have found many interesting items including coins, knives, safes, bikes, bullets, tools, cannon balls, guns & pistols, swords someone even found an Enigma codebreaking machine from WWII! The list is endless and this is why magnet fishing is becoming so increasingly popular!

Useful Magnet Fishing Links

Magnet Fishing Facebook Group

Magnet Fishing UK YouTube Channel

Gavin Bowler

Keen history and blogging enthusiast. I love metal detecting.

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