Susie and I met one of my friends (I actually have two!) at the Hacienda Vieja in Pendleton for dinner Monday night. We meet there almost every Monday.
We were discussing our mutual hobby of metal detecting, and he mentioned another activity he started enjoying this summer. He called it magnet fishing.
Since he is my friend, I already knew he had to be a little strange, but this sounded far out, even for him.
I decided to let him have his fun, so I asked him, “What is magnet fishing?” He proceeded to explain and even showed me photos.
Ron has other friends equally as weird as we are, and one of them showed him a small, round magnet attached by a carabiner to a long rope. Apparently, you stand on the railing of a bridge, or on the bank of a lake or pond, and throw the magnet out into the water. (Be sure to hang on to the other end of the rope.) Then, you slowly drag the magnet across the bottom and see what has attached to the magnet on the way back to you. Hopefully, it will be some kind of neat “treasure.” In all likelihood, it will probably be assorted trash.
Ron and his girlfriend, Deann, purchased one of these magnet kits from a metal detector dealer. The company that makes it is Brute Magnetics (www.brutemagnetics.com).
After it arrived, they spent a nice afternoon “fishing” with it. They began by just dropping it over the side of the bridge, pulling it to the top of the water to check for finds, then, moving over a bit and trying again. When they had cleaned out this area, Deann began throwing the magnet out further.
On several tries, Ron had to go wading to retrieve their new toy, which became caught on branches in the water.
When finished, they surveyed their finds: A highway post with a sign, a car wheel minus the tire, a bicycle, assorted nails, pieces of wire, unidentified metal scrap, a screwdriver and lots more. (Ron suggested carrying a large bucket to contain the smaller junk.)
Deann did pull in a find that looked like a coin. Since U.S. coins are not attracted to a magnet, they figured it was a washer or something.
After cleaning some of the black muck off, it WAS a coin! It turned out to be a Canadian nickel.
I decided I couldn’t let Ron outdo me on strange hobbies, so I asked him to order me two of those outfits. It came with a nice carrying case (about the size of an electric drill), the magnet, rope, carabiner, and a tube of thread lock to make sure the hook that screwed into the magnet didn’t come off. I was going to give our grandson, Benjamin, one and I would keep the other.
While waiting for my kits to arrive, I went to the website and looked at some of the finds made by other magnet fishermen. I was amazed at the quantity and variety of finds.
I enlarged some of the photos on the website to get a better look. I was hooked! (Or should I say attracted?)
The pictures included many assorted guns, tools, signs, knives and fishing lures. One guy found a deep sea reel with rod attached.
Chad, the owner of Brute Magnetics, found a 10-pound Parrott shell, which is a Civil War artillery shell.
Another user found a cannonball.
One attracted an antique pay phone with silver dimes still inside.
Bridges aren’t the only place to try using a magnet. I purchased a second, larger one after receiving the first two. Now, Susie and I will both have our own.
When we go fishing, we will be using them along the boat docks and fishing areas. I often use my metal detector in these spots, but the magnet will cover deeper areas and I don’t have to wade in cold water.
When we go to Canada, I hope to recover a lot of lost coins.
In Florida, I will use them in the surf.
Now, every time I drive across a bridge, I’m looking for a place to park my truck.
I haven’t gotten to try my magnets yet because of the cold. I don’t like playing in water when it’s below freezing outside.
Maybe in another month or two, I will be standing on a bridge throwing a magnet on a rope while others drive by thinking, “Look at that fool out there. I wonder what he is doing?”
Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected]