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How big of a magnet do you need for magnet fishing

Right Magnet Size for Magnet FishingEveryone knows that the magnet is the most important component in your magnet fishing gear. The very best ropes, carabiners, and gloves won’t matter, when you’re using something as useless as a puny fridge magnet to pull stuff out of lakes and rivers.

You have to find the right fishing magnet. That’s just axiomatic.

Priority Concerns

The thing is, most people care only about 2 things when it comes to the magnet.

  1. It’s mostly about the strength of the magnetic pulling force, often expressed in (hundreds of) pounds.
  2. People also wonder about whether to use a double-sided or single-sided magnet.

Of course, these 2 topics are certainly important.

It’s true that you’ll want a powerful pulling force to haul things from the water even in non-ideal situations. Even if there’s a heavy item in the river bed, covered in muck and lying at an angle, a powerful magnet can still pull it from the water.

It’s also true that you need to consider the pros and cons of using either a single-sided or double-sided magnet.

But the size also matters. It’s a topic that you shouldn’t overlook, simply because you don’t think it’s as important.

What’s the Shape?

Before we get to the size of the magnet, let’s make sure you know the shape. Fishing magnets are generally shaped like a disc.

Imagine a hockey puck, and you’re close enough to the actual design.

If you have a single-sided magnet, then the eyebolt is attached to the very center of the disk. You can drop this on the water while you’re atop a pedestrian bridge, so you can set the magnet in a horizontal layout.

If you have a double-sided magnet, the eyebolt is usually attached to the rim of the disk. If you’re able to attach a short cord around the eyebolt, then you can wear the magnet like a medallion, and then it lies flat against your chest.

Now that we’re all on the same page regarding the magnet shape, let’s head on to the magnet size.

It Can’t Be Too Small

This is the first rule of fishing magnet size. A small magnet is just not good enough.

What you have to keep in mind is that, in general, the size of the magnet is proportional to its strength. When you have 2 magnets with the same material (they’re both made of the same quality of neodymium), the larger magnet will exert more force.

In addition, the size of the magnet determines how able it is to detect stuff under the water. A larger magnet is more likely to get into contact with a metallic object, compared to a smaller magnet.

With a smaller magnet, it’s like using a pinhole flashlight to find your way around. So, forget about coin-sized magnets, as these are useless for magnet fishing.

Medium-Sized Magnet for Calm Waters

This is better, and it works for certain circumstances.

For kids, a medium-sized magnet is nicely appropriate. They should find it easier to handle, throw, and carry around compared to a bulkier magnet.

The magnet should be around the size of the kid’s hand. With that’s size, it’s easier to handle.

The strength of the pulling force may only be 500 pounds or a bit more, but that’s also alright with kids. It’s not as if they have the strength to pull in heavier stuff from the water.

Even adults may like a medium-sized magnet, especially if they don’t want to spend all that much for the magnet.

The magnet will work well enough for calm waters without strong currents. If you’re going to use it on a placid pond, then it should work out nicely.

There won’t be any strong currents to keep it from sinking gently into the water.

Larger Magnets for Strong Currents

It’s a different situation when you’re dealing with a river with a very fast current. If that river is a favorite destination for white water rafting, then a medium-sized magnet may not do at all.

The strong current will just sweep the magnet along, just like a strong wind will keep a kite aloft.

Of course, it can’t be too big. If it’s too big, then it’s hard to carry around and harder to throw.

It’s enough that it’s somewhat proportional to the size of your hand.

That way, it’s easy to hold and you’re also able to throw it farther into the water as you stand by the river bank.

A larger magnet also has a bigger surface area for the working sides with the pulling force. You’re then more likely to find stuff in the river.

Additional Tips

With a large magnet with sufficient pulling force, you may be able to detect and haul in heavier items from the water. These items may be tough to pull in, which is why you need a high pulling force to make sure the magnet stays attached to the metallic item.

Pay attention to the strength of the rope. It should be strong enough to handle the weight that your magnet is hauling in.

Of course, the length of the rope is also important.

It should be long enough for you to set it down to the river bed, even if you’re high up on a pedestrian bridge over the river. It should also be long enough to cover the distance you throw the magnet into the river, as you stand by the river bank.


A diameter of about 3 to 5 inches should suffice for your magnet, with a thickness of up to an inch or less.

That’s easy enough to hold and throw, and then afterwards you can easily set it into a bag and carry it.

Anything bigger than that will be too unwieldy, while anything smaller will just be a useless toy.

Finally, here’s a warning: If you have a large magnet, keep it away from your wristwatch and electronic items.

The large magnet will play havoc on the electronics and tiny metallic components of electronic devices and wristwatches.

Keep your large magnet in a safe place, and only take it out for magnet fishing!

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