Good Neighbors

Fishing Group Pulls Metal from River to Help Children with Special Needs

They banded together for a special cause - and may have broken a world record in the process.


When members of the H2O Magnet Fortunes group go fishing, they're not hoping to hook salmon or steelhead trout. They're fishing for metal. Tons of it, to be exact.

When Paul Swanson (pictured below), creator of Magnet Fortunes, was told by doctors that he could no longer fish, he started the group to keep himself busy. They've been meeting up on weekends to pull scraps out of the Spokane River for several months now.

"I got bored," Swanson told KXLY-TV . "Doctor pretty much said you need to change your game plan of life. Couldn't fish no more, hardly. It was hard to do, tying on the lines and stuff, so I decided to create a little magnet fishing love here in Spokane."

By using normal fishing rods with magnets attached instead of hooks, Swanson and his crew have pulled cellphones, manhole covers, even an antique pistol, out of the river. They recently had a recycling company measure their haul, and found out they've pulled out a little over 11,000 pounds of metal.

Check out a video of Swanson's crew pulling a scooter from the river:

Aside from doing their part to help clear the river of debris, the H2O Magnet Fortunes group has another reason for keeping their collection going. They plan to donate all of the funds they raise from selling the metal scraps to SOAR, an organization that provides services to kids with autism and special needs.

"They go around in home and also office therapy for special needs children," Swanson said about SOAR.

"I have a special needs son that needs their services and they've been my angel in the corner."- Paul Swanson

Typically, Pacific Steel and Recycling gives $80 per ton for prepared iron, but when they found out about the group's cause, they decided to double that amount. The group recently sent a check for $888 to SOAR.

Adding to the excitement, Swanson has reached out to Guinness World Records - he thinks the group set a world record for the most steel pulled by a magnet fishing club.

Swanson shared a heartfelt post to Facebook, thanking his fellow fishermen for helping to make his project happen.

"Thank you to my guys for trusting my vision and working your butts off to make this happen. You guys rock! Thank you for opening up and sharing your personal struggles and challenges and helping me build a supportive community."

He said that while the crew will likely be taking some time off during the winter, they'll be back at the river next year, bigger and stronger.

You can contribute to SOAR via PayPal , or sign up to volunteer on their website.

(Source: images & video Paul Swanson Facebook )

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