Magnet fishing is a huge trend in the online fishing world at the moment. But you need to be careful where you go if you want to get in on this fad. A group of magnet fishermen learned this lesson the hard way after narrowly escaping citations for fishing near a Georgia Army base.
Bryce Nachtwey, Matt Jackson, and a third fisherman found 86 rockets and other ordnances while fishing out of the Canoochee River which runs through Fort Stewart. They received citations for entering a restricted area without a permit and for unauthorized magnet detecting. During their fishing expedition, they found large ammunition, mortar shells, and other military equipment that had rusted at the bottom of the river.
According to Fort Stewart officials, a federal court dismissed the citations because the men tried to get permission from the DNR to magnet fish and reported the findings of unexploded devices to police. The group stated at the time they contacted law enforcement immediately after discovering unexploded devices.
“It’s hard to report something that you don’t know what it is. And after doing some research and finally after a bunch more were found, then you kind of have to do some research to see why they’re down there and then that’s when the lightbulb clicked and we were like, ‘ok, we need to call them,'” Matt Jackson said.
Fort Stewart Law Enforcement says magnet detecting remains illegal there and that the DNR does not have jurisdiction of recreation on federal property.
The Magnet Fisherman Speaks Out Before the Hearing
On the day of their hearing after the incident, Jackson spoke at length about the experience in a video posted by Outdoors Weekly.
Jackson said he and his team followed all of the proper channels when planning their agent fishing trip in the area. They all believed in the instructed place, but when they reported the explosives the responding officer insisted they’ll receive a series of citations for entering restricted grounds.
“He comes out and he writes us on three tickets a piece that added up to like over $1,000 in total,” Jackson said. “And I don’t know about y’all. I’m not sure I want to pay $1,000 for something I did my due diligence on. I guess we told the wrong information.”
He continued, “There’s been so many people talking about this. We were on the front page of Yahoo for a little bit. We’re in the Washington Post, Military Times in like a whole bunch of news articles. I mean, you can literally just scroll and scroll and scroll and they’re everywhere and everyone is waiting for the court date. I know I’m pretty nervous to see how it’s gonna come out. We don’t want this on our records at all because there’s a lot more stuff that we want to do. In the future that this can hinder.”
Once their citations were lifted, Jackson offered this piece of advice to aspiring magnet fishermen. “Do not go magnet fishing for anything on a military base. We’ve learned our lesson. Don’t make our same mistakes.”