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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Experience and a positive attitude are a beach hunters best friends

Experience and having a positive attitude always trumps naysaying and negativity, especially when it comes to the hobby of metal detecting.
Unfortunately, the more experienced you are the more heat you often catch from less experienced people. 
As I am predominantly a beach and water hunter now, I rely on the countless hours I have spent pounding beaches through the years to keep me one step ahead of less experienced beach hunters.
A positive attitude also insures I am not distracted or concerned about who is finding what and where.
If I hear about a nice find recovered by another beach hunter, Im happy for them. 
I could not imagine doubting the find or fretting over where the lucky finder must have recovered it.
I often use other people's good fortune as motivation, as I believe what one beach hunter can do another beach hunter certainly can do.
This is the reason I include photos of cool finds in many of my blog posts, hopefully they are used by other beach hunters as motivation.
This truly is a great hobby and I always have an eye towards future hunts and possible recoveries. 
Now imagine if the naysayer  types put as much effort into actually going out with a positive attitude gaining experience at the beach, instead of hanging out on detecting forums swimming in that famous river in Africa  (Denial) 
Never under estimate the importance of experience and a positive beach hunting attitude.
They will get you from searching sites to recovering good finds faster than any piece of metal detecting equipment you can buy.
If you've been following my blog a while, you may have picked up on a word I often use when explaining how I was able to return home with whatever it is I was searching for.
The word I often use in blogs is "knew" as in I knew the beach hunting situation or knew where or how to search and find something. 
Knowing from experience is one of the perks of putting the time in at the beach, also positive beach hunters get positive results. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Elliptical shaped search coils for beach hunting

I often spend the majority of my beach hunting time searching tourist beaches for jewelry. 
One of my favorite metal detectors of choice for jewelry hunting at tourist beaches is the Minelab CTX 3030
I sometimes prefer to use a 10 X 5 elliptical shaped search coil with my CTX 3030 in really trashy areas.
The main reasons I use an elliptical shaped search coil at trashy sites, are iron and rejected target masking.
Both iron and other non ferrous ( iron) rejected objects can put a damper on a beach jewelry hunt when using a VLF metal detector with a little discrimination.
After your metal detector detects a target, you are not going to detect another target until your threshold kicks back in. 
A great reason not to swing your metal detector like a golf club or a scythe along the beach. 
Low and slow search coil sweeps help with target recovery speed, the time it takes your metal detector to recover from detecting one target to the next target. 
Add an elliptical search coil and you can often detect much closer to a piece of iron or a rejected target than you would if you used a round shaped search coil of the same size.
You can also get closer to rocks on the beach, or to the face of a cut on a beach.
I always search cuts I know have already been heavily searched, making sure my elliptical search coil kisses the bottom of the cut.
Inside the water is another good place to use an elliptical shape search coil, especially close to shore where it is often hilly fluffy sand.
Searching over a ridged or hilly bottom using a round shaped search coil, sometimes causes chatter or false signals and obviously effects target depth crossing higher over the valleys.
Land hunters searching over plowed fields know exactly what I'm talking about. 
You can sweep an elliptical shaped search coil over, down and up hilly or heavily rippled ocean bottoms. 
These are just a few of the advantages to using an elliptical shaped search coil for beach hunters.
This 0.6 ounce chunk of platinum was recovered close to iron obstacles inside the water at one of my favorite water hunting sites. 

I use the underwater obstacles as jewelry traps, knowing other water hunters cannot detect as close to then as I can. 
An elliptical search coil is probably not going to be as deep as a similar size round search coil, but sometimes target depth is not everything to a beach hunter, especially to people who search trashy, rocky or cut beaches. 
Maneuverability can be just as good an asset as target depth at the beach, but you never hear the word maneuverability mentioned a lot in beach hunting circles.
If you can't get to a gold ring, you are going to leave it for another beach hunter who can.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A time and a place

So often beach and water hunting is about using something that suits the time and place.
That is why much of the stuff I put out in books or blogs has to do with doing different things, using different stuff and beach hunting on the fly.
I do just about anything and everything to make sure I do not return home empty handed from the beach.
If there is one thing that is a constant about my beach hunting, it is probably the Minelab metal detectors I use.
I love my Minelabs for beach hunting, although I do try other brands for beach hunting but always end up selling them not long after.
I love my different size search coils and I even have an excuse for the wife as to why I need them lol 
I often use discrimination and go home with gold instead of crusty pennies from tourist beaches, I sometimes dig it all when I know the time is right. 
You will never hear me saying do one thing or use one piece of equipment for every type of beach hunting. 
I'm a finds man and know better, you search to suit the beach and use the equipment to suit the conditions.
Kick butt and take no prisoners when you go beach hunting, because when you do well you rarely have a chance to duplicate your success the next day.
Beaches change in a hurry, a cut on the beach can disappear on the next high tide, a productive hole in the water can also fill in on the next high tide. 
I believe I often go home with gold because I do the opposite to other beach and water hunters, some of those things I have mentioned in today's blog.
If you put ten beach hunters in a room and asked them if they hunt in discrimination or all metal, or what metal detector or size search coil was the best at the beach it would be a fifty fifty split. 
I would be the guy checking all the boxes as I go out of my way to avoid being set in my ways doing or using just the one thing to find treasure at the beach.
It's all good when it comes to beach or water hunting, there is a time and a place for anything as long as it gets the job done.
Back in my old bottle digging days on the way to a river in Lincolnshire England, a friend asked me where I was going to search along the tidal river bank. 
My reply was I don't know until we get there, the river will show me. 
I do the same thing to this day, by letting the beach show me where and how to search when I get there.
Last Sunday was a typical hunt for me, arriving at a beach I had checked out a few days earlier intending to search it one way, but doing the opposite type of search after arriving and reading the beach. 
Even changing metal detector search coils back in the beachside parking lot to help better search the area.
No great shakes in the finds department, an 18K diamond cocktail ring and a stainless steel wedding band, but better than going home empty handed. 

I put the large 14 X 9 search coil on to help detect any deep targets along the towel line, an area often rearranged on the lower beach every day by beach cleaning tractors at tourist beaches. 
You could say it was the right time and place to improvise using a large search coil and a little discrimination.
No doubt this area will look totally different the next time I visit it, then I will do what is best to suit the time and rearranged place.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Shades of grey, the beach hunters version

Todays blog entry is about my two favorite shaded discrimination patterns on the Minelab CTX 3030
Simplicity is often the name of the game when it comes to beach or water hunting with a metal detector.
That is why I like using the Minelab CTX 3030 at the beach,  it is an easy metal detector to use for beach or water hunting.
The mistake a lot of people make is believing you have to use all the bells and whistles on a metal detector, especially one like the CTX 3030
In reality there are plenty of things on the CTX 3030 than can slow or bog you down if you choose to use them at the beach.
I'm a bare bones beach hunter, and I only use what I need to on the CTX 3030 when searching the sites I hunt on a regular basis.
Surprisingly, the only real thing you need to hit the beach running with a CTX 3030 is the preset Beach Mode. 
Rely on the Minelab engineers and the manual at first, then modify or tweak the Beach Mode discrimination pattern or settings after you get comfortable using the metal detector.
In this short YouTube video you can see my trashy tourist type beach discrimination pattern.

Apologies for the audio, I left my wind buffing microphone at home and I just wanted to show where the towel was at this beach.
I also show my preferred discrimination pattern ( Preset Pattern 2) when searching sites that may contain older finds. 
A simple press of the Detect button is all it takes to toggle between the two Detect screen discrimination patterns.
Simple stuff using a simple to use waterproof metal detector for beach or water hunting. 
I prefer using my modified preset beach mode with a liberal amount of discrimination when dry sanding, especially along the notoriously trashy towel line. 
Digging everything is not an option at many beaches, and in these times of increased competition for finds, digging everything in trashy areas just in case you miss one good find will insure you have a higher trash to good finds ratio.
Alternatively, one thin line of grey along the bottom of my CTX 3030 screen is all I need to get rid of the majority of small iron when searching for old stuff at the beach or inland.
I believe some famous person once said, ask not what your metal detector can do for you, but what you can do for your metal detector.
I have plenty of practical beach and water hunting advice for CTX 3030 users in my two CTX 3030 books.
Both of my CTX 3030 beach and water hunting books are available on my website, amazon, Ebay or from your local metal detector dealer. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Full moon beach and water hunting zones

The full moon is upon us and that means I am out raiding Davy Jones locker, taking advantage of extreme high and low tides.
I always do well searching full moon tides, both high and low tides because I search areas other beach and water hunters often choose to ignore during a full moon.
A beach hunter who turns up to detect at the beach two hours before low tide, is not likely to search the high tide line which is often higher up the beach than normal, even though the high tide line may well be the best place to search at the beach.
A water hunter is not likely to search the very shallow water close to shore, they will head out to deeper water which is further away from shore than normal, even though the very shallow water may be the best water hunting area.
The majority of beach and water hunters are often going to robotically search the lower beach or waist deep water, because that is what they normally do.
It does not matter that the beach looks totally different than it normal does because of the full moon, when you are set in your ways you are set in your ways.
If you search heavily hunted tourist beaches, you can take advantage of knowing what the competition is likely to do at heavily hunted tourist beaches.
Yesterday I searched a beach at low tide and I saw three other people metal detecting in the area.
One person was on the lower beach, two water hunters were way offshore, perhaps looking for stuff lost by swimmers so far off shore.
I hit the place the other water hunters would normally have searched, but instead of being waist to chest deep, I was shin to thigh deep.
Coins were coming up fast and furious until eventually out popped a couple of shiny yellow round shaped objects which I happily put in my good finds pouch pocket.
I never saw the wet sander stopping to dig very often and the two water hunters were way down the beach so I assume I chose the right area to search.
Unfortunately the beach was busy so I could not search the previous full moon high tide, but I would if I could have.
Looks can be deceptive at the beach during the full moon, especially if you search the same areas all the time.
Full moon low tide wet sand, could well be shin to knee water the rest of the month.
Alternatively, shin to knee deep water during a full moon low tide could be waist to chest deep water the rest of the month.
Read a full moon beach with an eye towards what it looks like the rest of the month and check out those high tide lines higher up the beach. 
Here is over a quarter of a pound of full moon water hunting gold, from three full moon hunts back in 2013 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sand replenishment projects and beach hunting opportunities

Every so often in Florida, the city decides to waste a few million dollars dumping truck loads of sand on the beach.

The Florida tourism board loves wide sandy beaches, but they rarely stay that way for long and trucked in sand is often washed away within months, sometimes a few weeks depending on the season. 
Beach hunters see sand replenishment projects and wipe sites from their usual beach hunting rounds, but sometimes they miss opportunities by not bothering to search replenished beaches. 
If the sand being trucked and put onto the beach comes from an inland site, it could be trucked in from an old swim area. 
I know one Treasure Coast of Florida sand replenishment project trucked in sand from an inland beach around Orlando and many old silver US coins were recovered by beach hunters.
If sand is pumped onto the beach from an offshore dredging operation, you never know what could get thrown up onto the beach.
There are many well documented cases of dredge pipes being put over previously unknown shipwrecks, leading to beach hunters detecting old coins and artifacts at freshly replenished beaches.
A recent Palm Beach sand replenishment project attracted fossil collectors from all over the states searching for old sharks teeth, after the dredge pipes were placed in an ancient offshore shark breeding ground. 
And finally if your a tourist beach jewelry hunter, all those other beach hunters avoiding replenished beaches like the plague mean less beach hunting competition. 
The new sand may actually help you at trashy beach sites, as all the old trash is under several feet of sand.
You deal with less trash and less competition searching for jewelry when a tourist type beach is replenished with tons of sand, see how I find a silver or gold cloud in every beach hunting situation?
I have listed three different scenarios that often happen when a beach is widened.
So the next time you see people complaining on metal detecting forums about beaches being ruined by city beach projects, get yourself out there because the beach hunting conditions may have improved.
You never know? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Old silver and wet ground

This old piece of silver was recovered on Oak Island several years ago, it is a silver sugar or salt spoon handle from the 1700s. 
Check out the owners monogram on the front and Philadelphia silversmiths name on the back, it must have been a luxury item to own back in the day. 

I remember the morning I recovered this piece of colonial silver, it was raining cats and dogs in Nova Scotia.
Although filming of " The Curse of Oak Island" show was canceled for the day, treasure hunting was not.
I rain suited up and hit an area of the island with one of the hardest working people on Oak Island, you know who you are buddy!
Two hardcore treasure hunters ready to take advantage of the heavy rain and the opportunity the soaking wet Oak Island ground presented.
Deep coins and artifacts like this spoon handle can be detected easier in wet ground, as long as the area is not heavily mineralized or iron infested. 
Iron has a halo effect and may overwhelm a smaller conductive target in the same area. 
This is the reason I use large coils in areas containing less iron and smaller search coils in trashy iron infested areas. 
I credit the rain soaked ground that morning on Oak Island in helping me to detect the silver spoon handle, it made the deeply buried piece of silver stand out from the wet ground.
I used the same theory In England last year, searching a boggy area of a pasture I figured had probably not been searched by other people.
This superb 1604 James 1 st of Scotland silver shilling was my reward for getting muddy with my  CTX 3030.

Although both of these old pieces of silver were very deep targets, I knew the lack of iron in both areas gave me the chance of recovering something good using a large search coil in very wet inland areas.
On less mineralized lower beaches, try using large search coils in non trashy areas.
Use smaller search coils on trashy tourist type lower beaches to avoid iron masking. 
You can often take what you learn from beach hunting and put it to good use inland, especially when you have the right tools for the job.
This is also another reason why I prefer to use waterproof metal detectors and search coils, you never know when you can take advantage of an opportunity from mother nature.