Father-Son Bonds Over a Different Kind of Fishing


Father-Son Bonds Over a Different Kind of Fishing

Written by Sarah Himes, MRWA Office Manager

During the 2022 Muskegon River Trash Bash, we had the pleasure of meeting a father-son duo who bonded over fishing… But! This is not your typical bait, fishing pool, and hook scenario – they’re magnet fishing.

“A few year’s ago a buddy of mine got me interested,” explained Xan. “I showed my dad a couple of youtube videos about magnet fishing, and my mother overheard – and bought us some magnets”.

Cal’s (left) and Xan’s (right) most recent find in the Grand River near Michigan State University’s campus.

From handguns and mortars to motorcycles and knives – Xan and Cal Lowing have had quite an adventure with this exciting activity.

“I remember pulling up a WWI German hand grenade from the Grand River,” said Cal. “That thing could have gone off at any time”. 

“He just threw it into our bucket thinking it was just a large doorknob,” laughed Xan. “I said that’s ‘not a doorknob!’. We also find crazy items like mopeds and, once, a Honda motorcycle”.

There is some debate on when magnet fishing came about, but – we know its popularity greatly spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. The Lowings were one of the families who became magnetized to the adventurous activity before it became a fad.

Since obtaining their first magnets, Xan and Cal have grown into it by increasing the strength of their magnets and expanding their search for metal well beyond their hometown. This included exploring the Muskegon River for the 2022 Muskegon River Trash Bash. Venture Dulow was their team name and venturing is exactly what they do. 

During last year’s Trash Bash, they collected a large haul of metallic items in the Muskegon Lake area – including a very sharp and large wire reel. These are items that could potentially cut up feet, tangle fishing lines, damage the bottoms of boats, and harm this fragile ecosystem. 

Xan and Cal have been showcasing their findings on social media to raise awareness about the dangers beneath the surface and what to do when something shocking is found.

“If you find a weapon that could potentially be used again – report it to your local law enforcement through their non-emergency line,” said Cal. “Especially, if there is a visual serial number on it”.  

“Vehicles are the same,” mentioned Xan, “they have vin numbers, and belong to someone. These items could have been dumped into the water intentionally, or could have been used in a robbery… or something even worse.”

Despite discovering weapons while magnet fishing, when it comes to introducing smaller children to the hobby, Cal recommends using a smaller magnet and a good pair of gloves. This will help prevent pulling in items that could cause a potential threat. Just like with any activity, parents should use caution. “Tetanus… you have to be careful about the rusted, metal objects,” Cal sternly mentioned. “Wear heavy-duty gloves, make sure you’re not on private property, follow the rules and laws depending on the city you’re in… and, have fun! You’re pulling stuff out of the waterways that could be polluting it.”

So, if you’re up for trying a new approach for this year’s Muskegon River Trash Bash, or just looking for another way to bond with the family – why not try magnet fishing?

To check out what Xan and Cal are doing next, head over to Xan Lowing’s Facebook here (Xan Dulow) and Cal Lowing’s YouTube page.

Are you interested in participating in this year’s Muskegon River Trash Bash? Click here.