Shanel Lemmie - STAR Writer Kingston, Jamaica January 13, 2023
As the golden rays of the morning sun glistened off the dark blue waters of the polluted Kingston Harbour, Noel Smith stood at the waterfront wondering aloud what surprise awaited.
This old safe that was pulled from the Kingston Harbour contained some strange things, like a guard ring, a red candle, coins and a banger phone. A ‘banger’ phone, several small bags coins, various pieces of jewellery, including rings and xxx and a red candle were locked inside.
Smith was ready to go fishing but he was not chasing any ordinary catch. He did not have a net, boat or fishing rod in his possession. His tool of trade is a magnetic fishing kit, which is really a powerful magnet attached to a piece of rope.
For the past two years he has been using it to fish metallic objects from the sea. Thus far he has reeled in bicycles, bike and car parts, coins and jewellery. He even hooked a homemade firearm.
Magnet fishing is about finding lost treasures and doing your part to keep waterways clean.
"It did look like it inna the water for the longest time," he said of the weapon, which he told THE WEEKEND STAR was handed over to the police.
On Wednesday, Smith along with his 'fishing pal', Claud Watkis, stood at the Kingston waterfront and gazed into the rippling water. They have tossed their magnets many times before and have seen all sorts of metals attached to it. Like conventional fishing, they have no idea what will be caught. The thrill is the mystery.
"I am doing magnet fishing basically to find treasure and anything unusual that people will throw in the water," Smith said.
Magnet fishing hobbyists like Smith and Watkis pull trash and sometimes treasure from the water bodies. With magnet fishing being a rarity, their presence normally attracts attention from curious onlookers.
"Most people don't know what it is. So they'll see me with the magnet and ask me how me ago catch fish with that," Smith said as he spoke about the conversations and responses he gets from people who see him with the kit.
Curious eyes stared in his direction on Wednesday as he readied himself to toss the magnet in the water. At first try he made a big catch. An old safe attached itself to the magnet, and when it was checked the contents were surprising.
A 'banger' phone, several small bags coins, various pieces of jewellery, including rings and necklaces and a red candle were locked inside.
The day's treasures also included a bicycle, as well as bike and car parts.
Describing it all as a good catch, Smith grinned, saying he could finally cross off a safe from his bucket list. The 25-year-old Smith has a YouTube channel, Magnet Fishing Jamaica, on which he displays his exploits to his more than 11,000 subscribers.
"It's a nice hobby enuh. If you watch the videos, you see that we just have fun," the grinning fisher of metals said.