This summer, I started magnet fishing. A fast-growing hobby, magnet fishing involves tossing a magnet into bodies of water in the hope of retrieving metal. Popularized by YouTube videos, magnet fishing has arrived in Lincoln County and seems to be enjoying what can only be termed a moment.
My sister-in-law first suggested that my daughter and I explore magnet fishing. Looking it up online, I quickly ordered a kit from Amazon that included a magnet, bright orange rope, and special gloves. The day the package arrived, I was trying out the magnet.
The premise is quite simple. Tie the end of your rope off to a sturdy object. Toss your magnet into the water. Retrieve your magnet and check to see if you caught anything. Like regular fishing, your success depends on your location as well as your technique.
So what do we find? Far and way, our most retrieved object is old nails. We also regularly find old bolts, screws, and random, small hunks of rusted metal. Odder finds have included a piece of pipe, a large chain, hand-forged dam spikes, and what may have been a bullet. Our most valuable find was a fully functional measuring tape. Cleaned up, it now sits in my utility drawer. In the Sheepscot River, we found another magnet.
I recycle the vast majority of what we find at the Nobleboro-Jefferson Transfer Station. This is in line with magnet fishing generally. Most people either recycle what they find or sell it for scrap. Shortly after I started magnet fishing, I joined Instagram to share pictures of my finds. By doing so, I joined a community of other magnet fishing fanatics that spans the globe. We share photos, ask questions, and generally cheer each other on. In a world of pettiness and hatred online, it’s refreshing to find people who want to share something positive.
Beyond being fun, magnet fishing has clear environmental benefits. We are removing metal junk from swimming holes, rivers, lakes, and small ponds. In the process, we are also able to recycle or repurpose long-forgotten items. If nothing else, magnet fishing enthusiasts may help prevent a future emergency room visit for unlucky swimmers. Wildlife also benefits from the removal of lost fishing lures and the attached monofilament line.
From what I can see, more adults and children are getting into magnet fishing. It’s a safe and fun activity that takes place outside and off of a screen. There aren’t many of us yet doing this in Lincoln County, but I suspect there will be. And if you see a man tossing an orange rope in the water at Damariscotta Mills, you’ve seen me on my quest for rusty metal. My Instagram is @magnetfishmaine.