Colt Busch magnet fishing. Credit: Courtesy of Christopher Magoon

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There’s apparently a new kind of fishing that has caught our attention — hook, line and magnet. 

As the BDN’s Sam Schipani reported recently, a group of Mainers who call themselves the Maine Eco Magnet Fishers are angling for something other than fish. Instead of fishing for bass, they fish for trash. Instead of the standard tackle, they reel in their catch using a strong magnet and rope tossed into the water.

The haul includes old bikes, bullets, nails, screws, fish hooks (the irony!), pipes, street signs, railroad spikes and even a shopping cart. As it turns out, one person’s trash is another person’s fishing trophy.

This seems like a personal hobby that can really pay off for the rest of us, by helping to get old junk out of Maine waters. Though we’d add that the hobby is not without its dangers. People shouldn’t just launch into this without understanding potential risks, like how strong magnets can interfere with pacemakers or affect electronic devices. And as with conventional fishing, people should be careful on and around the water.

“We are a team of magnet fishers in Maine that have come together to make a difference within our communities by cleaning up the river and waterways,” reads the description for the Maine Eco Magnet Fishers Facebook page, a private group with 20 members.

Member Colt Busch of Lewiston told Schipani that he’s been magnet fishing for about three years.

“I will basically magnet fish anywhere,” Busch said. “I’m trying to do my part to clean up what man made dirty to Mother Earth. She’s been so good to me and I’m trying to give it back to her.”

We live in polarizing times, but this is a perspective that should have some serious pull for everyone.

Busch was inspired by Andrew Desjardins, who goes by the name “Mr. Drew” and travels around New England talking about environmental stewardship. He has something called “Mr. Drew’s One Piece Challenge,” in which he encourages audience members to pick up a piece of trash every day and properly dispose of it.

“Colt started the magnet all on his own based on my challenge,” Desjardins said. “In a short amount of time, [he] has removed more trash out of Maine waterways than most people will ever do in their lifetime.”

Ideally, people would take steps to prevent these items from ending up in the water in the first place. And metal junk isn’t the only threat to keeping Maine waterways clear and clean. But this is a fantastic example of individuals seeing a problem and being part of the solution.

With the distressing state of some fisheries, the metal fishery is the first one we’d actually like to see dry up. It would be great if these anglers were so successful that they ran out of metal to pull out of the water.

Kudos to these magnetic sportsmen and women for helping to clear pieces of metal debris out of Maine’s waterways. Keep reeling them in, safely.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...