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Magnet fishing yields 'treasures' for three Minneapolis men

“The appeal is finding all the neat, cool things under the water. Even if it’s garbage it is still exciting to pull it out."

MINNEAPOLIS — When the stay-at-home order reduced their work schedules, three Minneapolis men decided to put a new hobby into high gear. They’ve been waiting to try it out since Christmas when a gag gift of a high-powered magnet gave them an idea for a new hobby: magnet fishing.

Sounds simple enough. Tie a magnet onto a line, drop it into the murky water and see what it attracts. 

“We’ve found a couple Lime Scooters, some Apple watches, a lot of fishing lures and a lot of random metal, ” says Matt Milburn. 

Cory Woodward continues, “Magnetic rocks, signposts, sunglasses, a fake ring.”

There’s also a lot of random metal the trio, self-named 'The Three Magnetos' pulls up. Shane Woodward brings most of it to the scrap recycler. “We’ll get very minimal money, the money for steel scrap right now is real low but we’re not really doing it for money it’s just for fun and kill time during all the down-time right now.”

The group has actually lost more money than they’ve made. How? By losing magnets and hooks. That’s why they are out at the bridge: a salvage mission. 

Cory points to where one of the magnets is stuck to an old metal railroad bridge by Nicollet Island, “I think we’re on our third day of trying to get the magnet unstuck.”

On this day, the right combination of chains, ropes, a maxed-out winch and a couple of pry-bars managed to break the magnet free. It took around six or seven hours over three days, so the guys decided to savor the moment with some scavenging. Magnets were lowered into the water and unknown treasures were pulled up. Their lines brought up random railroads spikes, metal railroad plates, and a nine-foot pipe.

Cory shakes his head, “There’s all this garbage, trash that people have thrown under there. Doing our little part to clean it up.” Shane continues the thought, saying “It’s definitely nice to be able to do our part to keep the rivers clean since we grew up in this area swimming in all these lakes.”

While they’re talking, Matt walked off to take a phone call. When he returns, he eagerly launches a magnet into the river. Unfortunately, when he came back from that call, he forgot to tie the magnet off. “Sometimes you just get distracted. You always want it tied to your ankle or some point.”

Shane chuckles, “It’s a lost cause. That’s a goner.”

That magnet is gone for good, but it won’t stop them for long. They’ll make the trip to Brute Magnetics and pick up another one because Cory says the unknown is too tempting to leave alone.

“The appeal is finding all the neat, cool things under the water. Even if it’s garbage it is still exciting to pull it out, I mean it doesn’t really matter what it is. The mystery of it, is exciting in a sense.”

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