Over a balmy winter weekend in South Miami-Dade, Florida, a young boy and his grandfather set out to fish along a canal. What they reeled in weren’t fish, but holy mackerel were they a catch.
Duane Smith was shocked when his grandson Allen Cadwalader pulled in two .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifles while magnet fishing, the Miami Herald reported.
Smith and Cadwalader went out with magnetic rods after viewing a YouTube video on it, and decided to drop lines in the C-102 canal.
“We ended up with two pounds of scrap metal and 40 pounds of gun,” Smith told the Miami Herald, adding, “I figured, since it was our first time, this was beginner’s luck.”
But luck struck twice, and the pair pulled up a second rifle one drop after the first.
“The Barretts had so much mass,” Smith noted. “The magnet went straight to them.”
Smith, 61, who formerly served with Army infantry, said that he was interested in the firearms’ lower recievers, where serial numbers are typically located. He immediately called police.
“Whoever did this is not your run-of-the-mill criminal,” said Smith. “It looked like it was something that someone would want to come back for.”
The guns are currently being processed at a local forensics lab.
This was far from the first time people have gone “magnet fishing” and found old weapons.
This YouTube video shows the discovery of an old Nazi MG-42 machine gun from World War II.
“For me a very exciting video!” said MjrCarnyx - WW2 Metal Detecting, who posted the video, which had more than 280,000 views, in 2019. “As you can see we had a few epic days with the guys from Dutch WW2 Magnet Hunters. It was absolutely unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough for taking me along. I really do hope you enjoy!”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.