Magnet fishing: A new way to clean up our rivers

This booming hobby, which introduces a new audience to our waterways, is being praised by river restorers

Magnet fishing: A new way to clean up our rivers

by Angling Times |

ACROSS the nation, people have been fishing rivers during the closed season… but not, we hasten to add, with rod and line.

Magnet fishing has experienced an explosion in popularity, with thousands of people giving it a go in the UK alone over the past year. It involves throwing a powerful magnet on the end of a rope into a waterway and hauling it in, hoping to find anything from historical artefacts to scrap metal.

While this unusual hobby often gets a bad press, Theo Pike, the southern officer for a project called Trout in the Town which helps restore urban rivers, has witnessed first-hand the benefits it can bring.

“I’ve worked on rivers all over the South and have found everything from complete kitchens to handguns and knives,” he told us.

“When I see people magnet fishing I always think it’s a good thing for our rivers.

“They’re filled with centuries of rubbish that causes a build-up of lighter rubbish, such as plastic bags. Anoxic silt then builds up, which has a negative impact on life in the river. If magnet fishers are clearing old, damaging waste, then it’s beneficial.”

Our rivers are filled with centuries of rubbish that causes a build-up of lighter rubbish
Our rivers are filled with centuries of rubbish that causes a build-up of lighter rubbish ©Shutterstock

Theo believes there’s another, added bonus to magnet fishing. He says:

“A new group of people get to witness the magic of rivers, perhaps for the first time. I’ve seen the excitement that just being by flowing water can bring. They then become filled with the desire to protect the thing that brings them such joy – the river itself.

“The more people we can get on board the better, and by restoring urban waterways together, they become assets to local communities, rather than eyesores that people want to turn their backs on.”

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