In all these years Stefan has brought out all kinds of things. From a machine gun from the Second World War to complete cars and a safe full of gold and silver. “I turned that gun in to the police. Unfortunately, it was destroyed. We found out who the owner of the safe was. We brought it back.”
“The variety of things you fish out of the water, they make this hobby so exciting for me. When you pull the magnet inside, you feel it click on something. You don’t know what you’re pulling up at that moment.”
The Dutch waters are full of everything. If you go fishing in canals with the best magnet for magnet fishing, chances are you’ll find all kinds of bicycles, a scooter or maybe even a complete scooter. In more remote places, you’re more likely to find stolen things, or a weapon that’s been dumped somewhere. But not everywhere you can fish with a magnet.
“Municipalities decide where you can and can’t fish,” Stefan explains. “That is stated in the General Local Bye-Law (APV), as every municipality has. Historic canals, for example, are usually excluded, because it is forbidden to fish for archaeological objects. “As a magnetic fisherman, this is important to know. The fines can be considerable”.
What do you have to watch out for in the case of magnetic fishing?
With his years of experience, Stefan has some good tips that beginning magnetic anglers should pay attention to. “Put on a pair of old clothes and gloves and take your time fishing. It’s actually a dirty hobby. The material you catch often lies in the silt and is therefore dirty and smells. Take your time and if you feel that something is attached to your magnet, you have to bring it in slowly. That way the magnet won’t let go. And do you catch something of which you don’t know what it is and have doubts? Take a picture of it and post it in one of the facebook groups for magnetic anglers. In general you will get an answer within five minutes and you know what to do”.
And what shouldn’t you do?
“In any case, don’t go magnetic fishing in areas that are forbidden by the APV. They are strictly controlled by the police and municipal employees. And stay away from the sheet pile walls while fishing. If your magnet comes into contact with them, it is very difficult to get it loose again”.
Fished safes with contents, that is of course a highlight for a magnetic angler. The police understand that too. And of course it’s nice for the owner of the safe when he gets the contents back. “There are positive sides to magnetic fishing. But the question remains: does this outweigh the dangers of this hobby,” says police spokesperson Anne Kok.
This hobby should not be forbidden.
Should you then forbid this hobby? The police say they have no opinion about it. Stefan does. “No, you shouldn’t do that. People will continue to go magnetic fishing. But if it becomes illegal and they find a bomb, they won’t report it. That’s exactly what creates a dangerous situation.”
According to the experienced magnet angler in Drenthe, that’s all right now. “I have a direct telephone number with a police officer. If I pick up ammunition, a grenade or a bomb, I immediately send him a photo. He then consults with the Ministry of Defence’s Explosive Clearance Service about what needs to be done. That works very well.”