If you're looking to start magnet fishing you may be worried about your magnet getting stuck. Many people are scared about using magnets weighted for 400-500 Lbs because if it attaches to something too heavy they may not be strong enough to pull it out.
The thing about a magnets rating is these numbers are accurate only under perfect circumstances. Meaning, there's nothing in between the magnet and the metal, such as dirt and other debris. It also means there is plenty of surface area to magnetize to.
Most likely your magnet won't be under perfect circumstances while magnet fishing. Lots of objects you'll find are small with very little surface area. Other objects may be bigger but with odd shapes. Think of a shopping cart, it's full of holes and not much for the magnet to grab.
With that being said, it's still definitely possible that your magnet might get caught. If it does, there are a few tricks you can try to free a stuck magnet when magnet fishing.
If your magnet gets stuck while magnet fishing there are a few techniques you can try to free it. These include using a hammer, dowel, pry tool, wedge, lever, ratchet straps, and pulleys. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help if you can't do it alone.
In this article, I will go over all these different methods in more detail. I will also include a couple of Amazon affiliate links to products I think will benefit you. In the end I will include a few ways to prevent getting snagged in the first place.
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Common Ways Magnets Get Snagged
Magnet fishing is fun, but not so much when your magnet gets snagged. There are a few different ways your magnet might get stuck while magnet fishing. Mostly it's from magnetizing to an immovable object. Such as a metal bridge, an underwater pipeline, or maybe another magnet. You could also get stuck between rocks.
Stuck to a Water Pipe or Some other Immovable Object Under Water
There may be water pipes under the mud and in some bodies of water. If you have a strong magnet and it clings to one of these pipes you may be in trouble.
One guy on Reddit said he felt his magnet hit something strong. He was able to pull for a bit but then it came to a stop, it was stuck.
He tried tying the rope to himself and leaping, he tried pulling from different angles, then finally tried tying the rope to his car. Unfortunately, the rope just snapped.
This is why it is important to have a rope that is rated for more weight than the magnet. There's no reason the rope should have snapped if the magnet was simply magnetized to an underwater pipe.
Related article: What is the Right Size Magnet for Magnet Fishing?
Stuck to Another Magnet
Your magnet might also get stuck to another magnet. This could be a good thing actually, you started with one magnet and ended with two. However, if both magnets are pretty strong then pulling them apart will be very difficult.
If you're traveling with multiple magnets, one for a backup, it's super important to keep them separated.
Stuck on a Bridge
One of the worst ways to get your magnet stuck is on a bridge. If it's just on the top of the bridge it's not so bad, you should be able to pry it off with some effort. If you're unlucky and the magnet gets stuck to the bottom of the bridge, that's when things get complicated.
Methods to Free a Stuck Magnet
Now that we've gone over different ways your magnet might get stuck, let's go over a few different methods to free a stuck magnet.
We will cover:
- Pry tool
- Ratchet straps
Use a Dowel
Using a dowel to free a magnet is simple but effective. This really only works if your magnet is stuck fairly close to the shore, or if you have a way to get to it such as a boat.
You'll need a long piece of pipe or a dowel with a notch in the end. Slide the rope through the notch and follow the rope down to the magnet. Give it a good push until the magnet is free.
If you don't have access to a dowel, you could try using a hammer instead. This obviously doesn't work if you're magnet is trapped under the water, but if it's stuck to another magnet or on top of a bridge railing, this should work fine.
Be Careful with this Method
You want to be very careful when doing this because the blunt force to a permanent magnet could demagnetize it. I would advise against using a metal hammer, however, bringing a rubber mallet on your magnet fishing trips could prove useful. I don't think you'll damage your magnet using it.
Another method that will work, if you have access to the magnet, is using a pry tool. If you can get one that fits through the eye of your magnet it makes it a lot easier to gain leverage.
Available on Amazon
If your magnet fishing with someone have them give you a hand. Your partner should pull on the rope as you begin prying. This will put force on both ends making it a lot easier to free the magnet.
Another method you could try is using a wedge. Obviously you don't want it to be magnetic, a wooden wedge would work perfectly. You could even combine this with using a rubber mallet or maybe a pry tool.
Insert the wedge between the magnet and whatever it is stuck to. Slowly inch over the wedge either by pulling and pushing the magnet or by hitting it with a hammer.
The magnet should slowly work its way onto the wooden wedge. Eventually, the magnetic pull will be weak enough for you to pick the magnet up.
Make a Lever
Similar to using a pry tool you could also create some sort of lever. Use a non-feric tube and slide it through the eye hole and give it a good push. This will significantly reduce the amount of force needed to remove the magnet.
Ratcheting straps work amazingly well. If you're magnet is stuck, having this with you could free it in seconds. Simply tie one end to the magnet if it's in reach. If it's not in reach tie one end to the rope that is attached to the magnet.
Attach the other end of the ratchet strap to an immovable object such as a tree or a railing. Start cranking the ratchet until the magnet pops loose.
Get Creative with Pulleys
There are a few different ideas that you could try when it comes to pulleys. The first idea is simple. Tie the rope off to something that won't move such as a tree, then take a thick stick and wrap it between the rope. Give it a twist until the magnet pops loose.
Another idea is to create your own z drag pulley. This should reduce the overall force needed by about half. If your magnet is super heavy, you could try a double z drag but you would need a lot of rope. You also need a few heavy duty carabiners dependent on the weight of the magnet.
If your not creative or don't want to deal with the hassle of creating your own pulleys on the spot there is an alternative. Amazon has these very cheap and high-quality come along pulleys available for purchase. They work great and shouldn't have any problems freeing you're stuck magnet.
Ask for Help
If you can't get your magnet unstuck on your own don't be afraid to ask for help. Any of these methods might work on your own, but with an extra pair of hands, you can make the task twice as easy.
Ways to Prevent Getting Snagged and Losing the Magnet
There are a few precautions you can take while magnet fishing to hopefully avoid getting your magnet stuck. I would recommend trying some of these out if you want to reduce the chance of running into this problem.
Plastic Bottle Housing (Cone)
The first thing you can do to prevent getting snagged is to get a cone for your magnet. They have some available at Brute Magnetics or you can make your own like in the picture above.
The cone shape is a lot harder to get snagged, for example, between two rocks. The flat surface of the magnet can easily get caught, however, the cone should have no problem sliding through.
This is super helpful if you have no way of getting to the other side of the canal. If your magnet gets stuck between two rocks the only safe way of getting it loose is to pull it from the other end. Otherwise, you might break the rope.
Attach two Ropes to the Magnet
It might be a good idea to have two ropes attached to the magnet, this could have many benefits. For example, one rope could get caught onto something, and having a second rope would make it easier to free.
Also, if one rope gets snagged or cut on something having a backup rope just might save your magnet.
Rope is Weighted for More then the Strength of the Magnet
This is probably the most important tip, make sure your rope is weighted for more than the strength of your magnet. If your magnet is weighted for 500 lb but the rope is only weighted for 200 lb you've got a problem. You might be okay for a couple of throws, but as soon as you hit something too heavy your rope is done.
Just as important as the rope, you also want to make sure you pick a good knot for magnet fishing. The wrong. Could be just as bad as the wrong rope.
Be Careful In-between Pulls
Be careful while magnet fishing, especially between each throw. Be mindful of where you place your magnet while you're looking at the things you've collected.
Some people might not pay attention and accidentally place their magnet on something metal. This could be the railing of a bridge, or maybe even a bench.
To be safe, always rest your magnet in the water when looking at your finds. Or just put it back in its box until it's needed again.
If your magnet ever gets stuck while magnet fishing you now have a variety of strategies you could try. From wedges and pry tools to hammers and pulleys. Try everything until the magnet is loose.
Keeping your magnet from getting stuck in the first place is probably the best way to free a magnet. Get a cone for your magnet, have two ropes attached to it, and be careful of where you place it in between each throw.
Enjoy your magnet fishing adventure! If you find anything cool please send us a picture! Tell us your story so we can share it with the other readers!
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