I believe I was about twelve when I lost interest in fishing, and it wasn’t because it had become apparent by then that fish didn’t have much interest in me either. I think they could tell I wasn’t a fish person. But in a world that at times seemed shoulder to shoulder with fish people, it’s not like they didn’t have choices. So did I, after I first realized that whenever I did catch something, it was always just a fish. And let’s be honest here, a fish is about as exciting as a bologna sandwich. And when you yank them out of the water, they’re even less exciting, and not at all appreciative. In fact, often times they just flopped around a bit and died. Feeling sad, I would try and throw them back quickly, along with my bologna sandwich as my way of apologizing. Thinking back on it, I might have killed more fish that way than I did fishing.
Anyway, I recently learned that fishing doesn’t have to be so boring. And, thank goodness, it doesn’t even have to involve either fish or bologna sandwiches. That’s because of Magnet Fishing, the new sport that essentially takes metal detecting on land to the watery depths in which it belongs. All you need are a strong magnet, a strong line, and an equally strong constitution, because all you will attract at first is ridicule. But when you start pulling up coins, cash boxes, jewelry, and valuable antiques, it won’t take long for fishermen to look at you the way Colonel Parker used to look at Elvis Presley, or Colonel Sanders used to look at chicken and cholesterol. Fish will have to go back to looking at each other, and something tells me they’re not excited about the prospect. How they manage to reproduce is beyond me. I expect either they have stronger constitutions or lower standards than I realized.
If you’re anything like me, I will deny any participation in human cloning trials. Also, you probably didn’t know that magnet technology and utilization had come so far. Thanks to advances in modern magnetization, you can now store far more photos of your dog on your computer than you will ever fit on your refrigerator. And thanks to the wonders of neodymium, you can even throw away the photos and attach the dog itself to the refrigerator if you wish. It does tend to make more of a statement to your kids that way.
Neodymium is a rare earth element, which, when combined with certain other metals, produces a magnet with exceptionally high uniaxial magnetocrystalline anistrophy. I’m sure you’ll agree that is a mighty strong statement, capable of making your heart stop, head hurt, or ears ring. Well, the magnet itself can do all that and more, especially if you have a pacemaker, metal plate in your head, or hearing aid. A neodymium magnet can weigh under two pounds yet have a pull strength of anywhere from 200 to well over 1,000 pounds. Even for those without health concerns, a magnet this strong can be a lot for a beginner to handle, as many find out after getting one stuck to their car, a bridge railing, or the badge of the law enforcement officer who has come to check out your catch.
In the interests of public health and safety, it should be noted that law enforcement has taken a sudden interest in magnet fishing. So have criminals, which, unlike neodymium, are not such rare earth elements. The reason is because it is not uncommon for magnet fishers to pull up guns, knives, bullets, handcuffs, safes, and other evidence hurriedly tossed after a crime. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT put your fingerprints on them, or the next metal objects you see will be your cell bars. Even this, however, can’t match the explosive excitement of pulling up hand grenades, mortar rounds, or other ordinance on which fingerprints, or fingers, won’t much matter.
To me, the possibility of finding sunken treasure has far more appeal than finding a fish. There is mystery, excitement, and a touch of danger in magnet fishing that fish will never be able to match. There is also the added benefit of removing environmentally harmful objects from the water, an act which might make fish more inclined to skip the hooks and spend more quality time in their natural settings. On top of that, it is always magnet fishing season, as waterways are stocked with weapons and other metallic objects year round. If you are a beginner however, just remember that it is easy to go overboard with magnet fishing, especially if you are sporting any metal when you toss your line in.