CADILLAC — J.P. Matlak is used to throwing a line into the waters of the Cadillac area to pull out a fish.
While that usually is the case, Matlak recently threw a line in the canal between lakes Cadillac and Mitchell with an entirely different purpose. He was looking for debris, trash, metal and maybe a little sunken treasure. Matlak recently decided he wanted to try his hand at magnetic fishing and on Jan. 11 he went to the only open water he knew of, the canal, to see what would happen and what he would find.
Besides Matlak, friend Anthony SlaughterHawk went along to help and to take pictures of the excursion.
The hobby is a combination of environmentalism and treasure hunting. Magnets are strong enough to remove large debris from bodies of water, with the hope of finding rare and valuable items. Matlak said he watched countless videos online when an advertisement popped up on his social media feed.
With the thought of wanting to try magnet fishing in his head, he acted and bought equipment
“I saw cool videos and the cool stuff they found. I’m really into fishing and I thought it would be a cool new hobby to check out,‘ he said.
With news getting around his social circles that he was going to try magnet fishing, Matlak said he was contacted by someone who had lost a drone in the canal. If Matlak found it, the person offered a reward.
On the recent trip to the canal, Matlak said he picked up a lot of metal fragments that had found their way into the canal but he also found two other items that were a lot heavier than the fragments. One of the objects, which he still hasn’t identified, weighs close to 60 pounds, Matlak said. He didn’t, however, find the drone.
“I kept hitting it and pulled (the magnet) off about 10 times. Then I got good contact with it,‘ he said. “It took a while to break the suction from the bottom of the canal.‘
With his first attempt a success, Matlak said he already knows he likely needs to have a longer rope and maybe a grappling hook to get things/trash out of the water that are not attracted to magnets. He also said he likely will be looking to get a bigger magnet. The one he currently is using has a limit of up to 600 pounds.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Mark Tonello said he has heard of people magnet fishing for quite a while but he was not aware of a lot of people doing it. If people like Matlak want to do it, Tonello said he has no problem with it and for them to have at it.
“More power to you. I know I have heard of people throwing a magnet down a stream at a road crossing and coming up with a gun that helps to solve a crime, but not around here,‘ he said. “It (magnet fishing) is not widespread.‘