A magnet fisher who caught a grenade in the Kennet and Avon Canal was given the kit he used as a Christmas present.
Friends Tony Scott and Elliot Bromfield were using the equipment – which is similar to metal detecting but in water – when they pulled up the object.
Elliot, who is ex-army, said he knew it was a World War Two hand grenade and they called the police immediately.
Tony, who was “shaking”, said the bomb squad had to take away his present in order to safely removed the grenade.
“The magnet was a Christmas present and it was the first time that I’ve used it and about the fifth throw into the water,” he said.
“Unfortunately the bomb squad had to cut the rope off and take my magnet away, but still, better to be safe.”
The friends had been plunging the magnet into the canal near the bridge on Bathwick Hill on Sunday when they pulled up the hand grenade.
“We were fishing and the next minute we pull up a grenade,” Tony said
“I was shaking once we pulled it up, it was really quite scary.”
Elliot added: “We’ve come to this part of the canal a few times before and only pulled up old tools and stuff and this time it turned out to be a live grenade.”
The friends took a quick photo before gently lowering it back into the water as the safest place until the army bomb disposal team arrived.
A main road in the centre of Bath was closed while bomb disposal officers removed the grenade and took it away to perform a controlled explosion.
They later told Tony and Elliot that it had been “live”.