It was a windy night in January with temperatures in the mid-30s in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore City, but despite the cold, about a dozen people were bundled up and standing on a pier with ropes and magnets in hand.
It was time to magnet fish.
The concept is simple: tie a high-powered magnet to a rope and chuck it into the water, then slowly pull it back and see what kinds of metal objects come up.
That night, there were a handful of new fishers ranging from elementary school age to individuals in their mid-thirties.
Ally Chalmers, a Baltimore County resident and mother of two, was one of those new fishers. Chalmers tossed her magnet in underhand before she spoke.
“Well, I wanted it to go a little farther,” Chalmers said as she started pulling in the rope. “It’s kind of weird as you move it along you can feel that there’s a lot of things that it’s attracted to down there like I can feel heaviness right now even almost like a fish is on it, which I know it’s not.”
The magnets are capable of bringing up large objects considering their size. They are only about the size of a fist, but have the ability to pull thousands of pounds.
The group brought up 15 scooters, lawn chairs, headphones, nails, pipes, pieces of rebar and cans in the last month.
Nick Fischer, who started magnet fishing over the holidays, brought up a gun in early January. Fischer immediately called the police.
“The first thing out of their mouth was ‘You guys probably just solved the cold case,’” Fischer said.
The police haven’t gotten back to him with any follow-up information.
The magnet fishing group is the brainchild of Evan Woodard, who has been living in Baltimore City since 2012.
Woodard bought a magnet in December 2022 – they’re priced between $50 and $280 depending on the quality.
He started filming his finds and soon gathered a following on social media.
“After that I saw how popular it was,” Woodard said. “Then people said, ‘You know I’m in the area. I don’t have anyone to magnet fish with and I would love to come down to Baltimore.’”
Woodard started inviting people to fish with him every Thursday evening on Instagram.