Magnet fisherman discovers shotgun in Estero River

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Photo by WINK News.

Similar to metal detectorists lining beach and other areas for buried treasure, magnet fishers troll waters for sunken prizes.

Ryan Ishley went magnet fishing in the Estero River and found a shotgun.

“It’s so old there are barnacles and all types of stuff on it,” Ishley said. “I didn’t clean it, and I didn’t really touch it up too much.”

Ishley is a magnet fisher with the curiosity for what lies within water’s depths.

“I’ve pulled up bicycles, steel grates, stuff that people just tossed off bridges,” Ishley said. “You name it.”

Magnet fishing is a popular pastime that originated off shores of Europe.

“They pull up safes, guns, grenades just armory type stuff,” Ishley said. “And they have some really unique finds.”

Ishley bought himself a magnet and went treasure hunting to fulfill his own curiosity for what lies in the local abyss.

“It weighs about three to four pounds,” Ishley said. “They make all different sizes, but this one has 1,000-pound pulling force.”

Ishley ties the powerful magnet to at least 30 feet of rope and sets out for lost items in the water.

“I’m going to take the magnet out and see what I can find in the Estero River,” Ishley said.

Ishley, a lot of times, reels in what most people would consider junk, but there are instances when buried treasure surfaces from the deep.

“I just caught my first rifle,” Ishley said. “I was kind of surprised, and I kind of wasn’t.”

Ishley did a sensible thing upon discovering the sunken firearm and reported his finding to law enforcement.

“I called the authorities up, and Lee County sheriff came out. I gave it to them, and they’re going through it for investigation.”

Lee County Sheriff’s Office said it was unable to recover the serial number to the gun. They do not know if it is evidence from a past case.

Although Ishley may not get to possess every item that sticks to his magnet, he feels his hobby is win-win.

“I’m cleaning up the water,” Ishley said.

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