Grim's Tales: Oh magnet I use for fishing, where art thou?


Have you ever had an experience that just doesn't make sense? It tends to leave you feeling just a little nuts and confused. I've had a few this last year, but my most recent one takes the cake.

If you've followed my column this summer you may have noted my posts on metal detecting and magnet fishing. I've had a blast with these hobbies, but that doesn't mean I haven't had some problems as well. The first one came amid a rash of thefts in Backus. I was working at my second job when one of our customers popped his head in the door and said, "Some people are messing around in a truck, do you want me to stop them?"

I was tired and busy serving customers, and apparently so was my coworker. We both assumed they must be messing around in their own truck, so we said, "No, it doesn't matter."

A couple days later I went to retrieve my 900-pound pull magnet from the back of my truck and it was gone - reel, rope and all. It was likely grabbed just because it was the easiest thing in reach. Of course, looking back, it's obvious our customer wouldn't have said something to us if the event in question wasn't suspicious, but I learned my lesson. Or so I thought.

I started leaving my empty finds basket in the truck bed and putting my magnets into the locked cab. All I had to do was remember to repeat this winning formula for as long as I was magnet fishing.


Fast forward a couple months later to a Wednesday evening and I am collecting a reward from a resort for finding a missing tool a few weeks earlier. I decide that I should magnet fish at this resort while I'm here. I go back to my truck where a few days earlier I had made the mistake of stashing my magnets not in the cab, but in the bed of my truck.

I pull out my finds basket and notice the only magnet in the bottom is my double-sided magnet, upon which I have etched my name. My big magnet, the 5-pound, 5-inch wide replacement I bought with 1,300 pounds pull, has grown legs and vanished and suddenly I wished I had also etched my name on it as well.

The missing magnet and rope look a lot like this, wrapped around an extension cord reel.

This time I had no warning that someone might be digging in my truck. As a matter of fact, I'm fairly sure the magnet was in my truck after my Sunday shift that week as I had gone magnet fishing Saturday. I think I had the magnet that day, but I am not totally certain. Either way, why would someone dig through my truck and steal only this one magnet and where did they do so?

When the second magnet went missing, my truck was either at my own home, Mayo Lake Park in Pequot Lakes, Family Market in Pine River, the Pine River Dam, Godfrey's Supervalu in Backus or Breezy Point Resort. Except for my house, I had spent mere minutes at any of these other locations, but they were the only locations I could remember visiting between the time when I last saw it and the time when I realized it was missing.

I've had many people point out that I could have left it somewhere, but that's almost as perplexing. The red ropes of my magnets are wrapped on orange extension cord reels. I clip them to my belt loops on my pants when fishing to make them easier to carry around and wind up. If they are not hanging from my belt loop there are only two places to find my magnets: in the cab of my truck or in my finds basket in the back of the truck. I never set it down on the ground, on the dock or picnic tables.

In this case, I took it off the reel and I had put it into the white basket, which stayed in the back of my covered truck bed where it could not have possibly fallen out on accident (the tailgate and Tonneau cover are always closed).


The real down side is, no matter how it got lost, I'm not sure if I will be buying another replacement this summer. It's been an expensive year after all. So I won't be doing much magnet fishing before the lakes freeze unless I somehow get it back. My one remaining magnet just doesn't seem to work as well. That being said, I have a few things to say.

  1. Learn from my mistakes. Thefts are up right now and most of them can be prevented by keeping your belongings in a locked space. That goes for items in your vehicle or in your yard, so keep items put away and locked up.
  2. The first of these magnets was about 3 inches wide connected to a 30-plus-foot red rope wrapped around an orange reel. The second magnet was 5 1/4 inches wide and weighed 5 pounds; it was not on a reel or rope.

If someone has stumbled across either of them and returns them, I'll treat that person to a fun magnet fishing outing at a productive spot (I have found valuable items there!), no questions asked. If that happens I'll just assume I somehow did lose the magnets, even if that does leave me even more confused than I am now. But I'm used to that.
Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Large metal retrieving magnet with a screw gate carabiner and red rope - set-up for magnet fishing.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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