magnet fishing with Sophie Doyle
My name is Sophie Doyle and I am a magnet fisher.
I clean up our waterways by using quality Magnets, grappling hooks and winches. I remove items which are harmful to wildlife and a danger to those who use the waterways, like Narrowboaters and Bargees.
I found the Hobby by watching others do it on YouTube and have Magnet Fished for several years now. You would be very surprised what some people throw into the waterways! There are lots of laughs to be had with friends in the Hobby. It's also great to socialise outdoors.
I find submerged items such as stolen safes, motorcycles, bikes, knives, firearms and even World War Ordnance.
I have previously found three Grenades and a 157mm World War Artillery Shell. The Artillery Shell and one of the grenades were still Live and had to be destroyed in a controlled explosion by the Bomb Squad.
The oldest thing I have found has got to be the gunpowder filled hand grenade which I have managed to date to 1651. I am extremely happy with this find!
Any found firearms are handed to Police on scene and knives are put into a Police Amnesty Bin, to ensure that they don't get into the wrong hands again. Criminals tend to use the waterways as a way of discarding evidence, that's where I come in and retrieve it. I successfully retrieved evidence to aid in a 1990's Cold Case.
I travel around the Country but mostly the North West Region where I'm from and I enjoy meeting up with other Magnet Fishers.
I often give items back to passing Boaters as I tend to find a lot of Fenders, Mooring Pins and Lock Keys. I'm happy to help retrieve lost items for Boaters.
We have a Magnet Fishing Committee working with Canal & River Trust to legalise Magnet Fishing. In my experience the CRT have always been very grateful for my help. I have a good relationship with CRT, they know I always get rid of anything pulled out of the Canals via "Dippers & Scrappers" on Facebook; a directory of free Scrappers. I take non-metal items like tyres and plastics to the Tip myself.
The hobby does come with risks; however these can be managed. For example, by wearing thick waterproof gloves, watching your footing, correct manual handling, using sharps bins, never going alone. Also children should always be supervised and wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs).
There is also a Facebook Group called "Dippers Identify" so that if a Magnet Fisher anywhere in the world finds something that looks like Ordnance, they can post a photo in the Group and get a very quick response with an accurate ID on what it is. The general rule is, "If in doubt call them out" immediately. Royal Logistic Corps (The Bomb Squad) have always been extremely polite and professional when I have found Explosives.
A lot of Magnet Fishers are very much into History, and there is a lot of it in our waterways buried in the layers upon layers of Silt.
My newest Magnet from OnlineMagnets can lift 1800kg (nearly two tonnes), which also makes the Magnet sink deeper with more chance of finding historic items.
The hobby itself is very addictive and has been growing in popularity for a number of years.
It's important for all Magnet Fishers to remove all of their scrap by using a free Scrapper on "Dippers & Scrappers" on Facebook.
Sophie Doyle is a Magnet Fisher from Bolton, Greater Manchester. She says "I'd like to publicise my hobby and the free service I provide. I'd encourage anyone to contact me at Magnetic Pull if a particular section of Canal needs some items removing or if you fancy a go at Magnet Fishing.