Thanking the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act
November 22, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
It was a successful fishing trip for an 11-year-old boy from Florida. But it wasn’t a fish caught and it wasn’t a typical rod used. The child, along with his grandfather, 61-year-old Duane Smith, caught two sniper rifles while magnet fishing in the C-102 Canal in Princeton, Fla., according to the Miami Herald. Having watched a magnet fishing video on YouTube, Smith thought the activity would be fun for himself and his grandson.
Heading out on the South Miami-Dade canal, the two were hoping to find something valuable hidden when the first 0.50 caliber Barrett sniper rifle was pulled up. Figuring that luck was on their side, they set the magnet back in the water, only to pull out another identical rifle. Both rifles were unloaded with their serial numbers missing. They were turned over to Miami-Dade County Police to determine whether the weapons were used in a previous crime.
Magnet fishing gained attention in 2020 when more people started experimenting with more outdoor activities. Popular in both the U.S. and the U.K., it has been received by law enforcement and outdoor wildlife services with mixed reviews. While some hail the sport as a great way to clean metal debris out of waterways, Duane and his grandson are not the first to find potentially dangerous objects.
Multiple reports of unexploded World War II bombs, knives and guns have been found by enthusiastic magnet fishers across the globe—making magnet fishing an activity that comes with a warning label. Like any outdoor sport, it is to be pursued with caution. And with any luck, great finds can and have been found.
Magnet fishing, a hobby that combines the excitement of treasure hunting with the allure of underwater mysteries, continues to yield fascinating finds. Enthusiasts scour rivers and lakes, using powerful magnets to retrieve hidden treasures. Recently, some magnet fishers struck gold – not literally, but figuratively – when they unearthed antique firearms from the depths. These discoveries shed light on forgotten histories, showcasing vintage weaponry.
Beyond guns, magnet fishing has also unearthed a diverse array of treasures, from antique coins and jewelry to discarded bicycles and relics from bygone eras. The hobby’s magnetic allure lies not only in the excitement of discovery but also in its power to connect us with our past.