Since we often get asked what gear we use for magnetfishing and recording here is a quick list. Note that most of these items link to Amazon and we get a small commission (at no extra cost to you) should you decide to buy something, thank you for supporting the channel!
Easily the most asked question and over the past few years we have found a solid answer to it. Do not bother with magnets below 160kg / 80lb in strength, even if that sounds crazy you will not have fun with anything below. The reason for that is that water, mud and cold all detract from the hypothetical strength and most importantly most things you will find do not have a perfectly flat surface where the whole magnet can grip. Think bicycle frames, those are round and we often need two magnets (or better a grappling hook) to get them out even though they way under twenty kilograms.
For the most part we use magnets that are listed as 300kg strength, that seems to be the sweet spot between price, pull weight / power and size / weight. At this strength you will be able to throw them without tiring yourself as well as have a chance to get them off of things if they stick really well.
The one we use at the time of writing this is this one on Amazon and it looks like this in action:
In addition to that we use rope from the hardware store that is made for sailing – for two main reasons. The first one is that unlike say para-cord it is made to handle water without stretching – and if it can hold sails under wind it can handle a guy pulling out a safe. The second reason though is that the rope floats a little bit on water and when you inevitably forget to tie it to a railing and toss both magnet and rope into the water you have a chance at rescuing it. We have done this multiple times by now and it’s always good for a little adrenaline rush – or severe depression if you indeed lose a fifty-dollar magnet with twenty-dollar rope. It is hard to give a specific recommendation here, I would recommend buying this locally and in a strength that is not too thin (cuts into fingers when pulling out heavy things) and not too large either because then the rope becomes too heavy and bulky for continuous throwing.
Gloves are always going to rip and tear much sooner than you’d like, but there are major differences between good and bad ones. The bad ones (for example rubber gloves for kitchen use) will likely not even make it through a single trip, but on the other hand we have thicker rubber gloves from the hardware store that hold up for weeks before they need changing.
The real deal are these ones: Thick Rubber Gloves. Do yourself a favor, they cost little more than the cheap ones and you’ll enjoy your time a lot more.
In addition to that you will obviously want to wear clothes you do not mind getting dirty and believe me, there is just no way to stay clean doing this.
Over the years we have gone through a bit of recording equipment, quite recently forced to update the Olympus TG-870 we’ve been using for years because, well it’s at the bottom of a river. Olympus has been a long time favorite of mine when it comes to tough outdoor cameras, they have quite a bit of an edge over the competition when you want something in the form factor of a real camera. I’m not alone with that, for example everyone’s favorite Aquachigger uses a TG-5 (? I think that’s the model name) and there is also a line of camcorders that I heavily considered as a replacement.
But, against my long-standing opinion that GoPro cameras aren’t worth the premium you pay I ultimately ended up buying the GoPro Hero 7 Black because it finally had a killer feature that fascinated me enough. The stabilization is indeed incredible just like they say, something I’ve wanted for a long time to make videos of bike riding that just never looked good with action cams I tried so far.
I also have my phone, a Samsung A8 (also with really good stabilization and waterproof) and a Sony A6000 that I do not like using for magnetfishing because it is not waterproof or mud-resistant and I am happy it survived the couple times we were forced to use it. There is one other issue I have with the A6000: Even though it is a really good camera to take pictures (I would argue the best under a thousand dollars) it is not perfect when you want to take videos. No easy way to connect a microphone, the auto-focus and zoom are quite noisy (enough to notice in the final video) and all in all I think video was added as an afterthought rather than a primary application.
Among all these I think I would recommend getting a waterproof phone with a good camera first, the GoPro second because frankly it excels in image quality over the Olympus models (only just though).
But then none of these are exactly cheap and I would argue that you can probably get away with whatever you have at this moment, there’s always time to upgrade later and this is one of the cases where finds, story and personality matter a great deal more than the quality of your camera.
To get rid of all the scrap and for me personally to have a workspace I ended up buying a cute little truck, a 1998 Mercedes Sprinter in a doublecap, flatbed configuration. It was cheap, bottom of the line cheap in fact because by modern standards it is slow, but that comes with the benefit of an indestructible engine and super simple mechanics and I expect to get a lot of use out of it. Plus I really fell in love with it since I bought it. But the truck is a topic that needs its own post to cover, in fact several as I use it both as a camper van and a rolling workbench to build scrap art from our finds.
We hope you found this overview helpful, if you like what we do we always appreciate a like on our videos and when you share them, it helps us grow and pay for fuel for our trips. Thanks for reading!