Magnet fishing is a great activity for anyone to get into! I’ve been magnet fishing for a few years now and have come across some interesting finds. Before we look at what type of things that magnet fishermen find in the water, we first must understand what magnet fishing is.
Magnet fishing is the search for submerged metals in bodies of water using large magnets. There isn’t much more to it than just that, fishing with large magnets. This activity can be done in any body of water that has high traffic, as there are going to be a lot more items that you can find rather than a secluded area.
See our ultimate guide for What is Magnet Fishing?
Now that you know what magnet fishing is, it’s time to see some of the cool finds that magnet fishermen have pulled up!
1. 1944 WWII German Gas Mask
This is one of the more interesting finds, as well as one of the most collectible. Many collectors would kill to find something as rare as this mask, and it was one of the cooler ones I found while researching!
The gas mask is said to have been lost in one of the battles of World War 2, and all these years later was found during a magnet fishing session. These masks were worn by almost every German soldier, as biological warfare was utilized on both sides.
2. WWII Rifle
Along with the gas mask track, another magnet fisherman found this unexpected Word War II weapon while searching for a Harley Davidson he saw being unloaded into the water. The rifle was examined, and its model was determined, and it was dated back to World War II.
If you were wondering, no, he never did find the Harley. The WWII rifle was a much more interesting find for him! It’s not every day that you pull a piece of history out of the water.
3. WWI German Grenade
If you think the WWII finds were cool, another awesome find was a World War I hand grenade. When magnet fisherman Joseph Alexander went out to find some old souvenirs in the Grand River, he didn’t expect to pull up an active explosive device.
When Alexander called the police after having been advised through social media, they identified the grenade as a Grantenwerfer and called the bomb squad. The bomb was then destroyed, but at least Alexander got a cool story out of it! Source.
4. Dog Tags
While these might seem like an average find for a magnet fisher, these are priceless relics. Any type of dog tags is especially sacred to family members of lost soldiers, usually being the last thing that they have remaining from the soldier when they pass away.
If these are found, you might want to post them on social media and see if you can find a family member or descendant, so that you can reconnect them with these military mementos. You can also contact the Department of Defense and they can put you in contact with the family members of the military soldier.
5. Home Robbery Safe
This one has a cute story attached to it! A 6-year-old little boy took up magnet fishing as a hobby. When he was out magnet fishing one day, his magnet connected to something heavy lodged in the mud underneath.
When it was pulled up, it was a water-logged safe that seemed to be filled with valuable items such as jewelry and credit cards. The victim of the robbery was a woman who lived across from the body of water, that the safe was found in, and although the robbers had initially taken everything monetarily valuable, she was reunited with meaningful pieces of jewelry.
She was ecstatic to have been reunited with these items, profusely thanking the little boy who found them by accident. Source.
6. Military Medallions
This isn’t an uncommon find, especially if you live near a military base or where one used to be. These are usually going to be easy when looking to find the owner to return them! If you don’t find an owner, collectors all over would pay top dollar for military medallions.
You might be able to get help from the Department of Defense, and if they can’t find the owner you might be able to find a museum to submit them to.
As mentioned before, motorcycles are not super uncommon. Pulling up a motorcycle is going to take a lot more work than the average pull, but the reward is sometimes greater than the risks. Motorcycles can be fun finds, especially if they haven’t rusted up too much before you get to them.
If you can’t salvage it, you can scrap it for the extra money or sell it to a collector if it’s a big name.
8. Soda Cans
Some quite interesting finds are vintage cans. Sometimes, you can date a can exactly by how the packaging looks. These are not going to be few and far between, you’ll probably find hundreds of cans on your magnet fishing journey.
Some cool ones were old vintage Pepsi and Mountain Dew cans. This also gives you some insight into how the environment works, showing you just how long it takes things to break down when they aren’t recycled. My best soda can find was an unopened big red, which I believe was from the ’80s. Unfortunately, it exploded in the back of my truck, after being left out in the sun!
9. Railroad Spikes
I have found at least a hundred railroad spikes in my time magnet fishing. If the body of water is near a railroad, you are most definitely going to find railroad-related objects. Some railroad spikes have markings, that can tell you about the year, and the maker.
While railroad spikes aren’t the most valuable item you may find, with enough of them you can have a pretty good amount of scrap metal. You may also be able to sell them on sites like eBay, where they go for about 0.80 cents to around a dollar.
Bicycles are some of the most common magnet fishing finds. I’ve personally found over 10 bikes on my magnet fishing trips. Most of them are very rusted and only good for scrap, but you may be able to find something valuable if you get it out in time, before it rusts.
I’ve heard of other magnet fishers finding as many as 10 bikes in one single river! That’s almost a mountain of bikes. The best part of this hobby is the fact that you get to clean up the water and take home a little bit of history.
11. Other Magnets
Another find that you may not have expected, are other magnets. Magnets get stuck a lot when magnet fishing. That’s why I always carry more than one with me. I also carry a grappling hook in case I need to retrieve one of my magnets. Grappling hooks also work well for pulling up large objects.
Over time, the magnet may work itself off of whatever it was stuck took, which can then be picked up by you. You can probably expect lost magnets to be rusty, but sometimes they are properly coated with oil before use, which can help keep them from completely rusting away in the way.
Want to learn how to magnet fish? Check out our How to Magnet Fish Step By Step Guide
If you are just starting out with magnet fishing and dwelling in beginner-friendly areas, you might not pull up big finds like these. You’re still going to be able to find some cool things, maybe some electronics or some jewelry or even some coins. Once you advance, you’re opening yourself up to a whole new pool of discoveries.
Remember to follow the simple guideline of trying to find the owner if it is something valuable first and calling the police if the item could potentially be dangerous. Also, follow any local guidelines for magnet fishing before visiting an area where it could be prohibited. Happy hunting!