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Monday, July 21, 2014

A few thoughts on metal detector depth and sensitivity

When I try a new metal detector, I am always asked if it is deeper than the metal detector I normally use.
Is the Excalibur deeper than the Sovereign, is the CTX 3030 deeper than an Excalibur, is my SDC 2300 deeper than my CTX 3030, and so on.
I rarely try or buy a new metal detector with depth in mind,  unless it is my GPX 5000 and the answer is hell yes!
Being able to tune my metal detector's to enhance their sensitivity to small shallow targets is always more important to me than being able to detect large targets deeper. 
Using my preferred metal detectors, I know I do not have to trade small targets over large deeper targets, they have a happy medium for jewelry and coin hunter's.
I recently had a chance to test a metal detector I wanted to buy for the longest time, but I was very disappointed after testing it on a variety of small size targets.
I am a jewelry and coin hunter, so it is very important for me to be able to detect a thin gold wedding band, or a small silver coin within the first 6 to 8 inches of sand.
Using a metal detector that could not detect small gold and silver targets is not going to happen for me, no matter how deep that same metal detector can detect larger targets.
The metal detector I tried is no longer on my wish list, luckily I was in a position to try one out instead of finding out the hard way after buying one.
The large majority of jewelry and coins I consider to be my best finds, were all recovered within the first 6 to 8 inches of sand.
Having the ability to detect a wide variety of relatively shallow jewelry and coins on the beach, is much more important to me than worrying if I have the deepest metal detector.
If you cannot find jewelry and coins within the first 6 to 8 inches of sand, forget about finding deeper targets.
Metal detector that are hot on small shallow finds, are normally just as hot on deeper targets.
I spend a lot of my metal detecting time searching tourist beaches, literally trying to find treasure in amongst the trash.
If I get skunked, I never walk off a beach thinking gold or silver jewelry must be deeper and I need a deeper metal detector or larger search coil.
I would be more inclined to question my metal detecting pace and sweep speed, than metal detector depth as the reason why I did not find anything. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Old beach entrances

Although I find my fair share of bling on the beaches of south Florida, I really enjoy finding old coins.
These old US coins were found a couple of years ago on the beach opposite an old beach walkway.

The beach was eroded back to the dune line, and I found these coins in an area I had discovered several years earlier.
I run across interesting beach sites because I try many different beaches every year. 
The more beaches you try, the more chances you have of finding long forgotten beach entrances.
Just like todays beach entrances, old beach entrances are great places to find lots of coins and jewelry.
Many old beach entrances were closed to make way for beachside construction, houses, condos or hotel development.
Old beach entrances from the days before beach and water hunting became a popular hobby like it is today.
When you find old beach entrances, you may have to wait until some form of beach erosion occurs before you can find old gold and silver.
That is exactly what happened to me a couple of years ago, when Davy Jones locker opened up at an old beach entrance I had been keeping an eye on for several years.
I still have the old gold rings in the bank safety deposit box, to remind me why I like old beach entrances.
Beach hunters who go to the same beaches all the time, are highly unlikely to run across long forgotten beach entrances.
I have discovered many interesting beach sites through research, sometimes in unexpected ways.
Old aerial photos of  beaches are an excellent way of finding old beach entrances.
You can spot early parking lots, paths, or walkways leading to the beach on old aerial photos.
Pay close attention to buildings or houses that used to be located opposite the beach, people would have used the beach directly opposite.
Look for gravel roads or tracks leading to the beach, compare old and new aerial shots of the same beach.
Many times old beach entrances are several blocks from the site of modern beach entrances.
Old inlets and fishing piers can often be seen on vintage photos or postcards, many inlets change through the years due to coastal storms.
Whether you do the leg work, or the research,  old beach entrances and their old coins and jewelry await beach hunters when they open up.
 Finding them is the easy part, having the patience to wait for the wind and waves to open up the area is the hard part. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gold the hard way

I went out in the middle of the night on Friday trying to take advantage of a full moon low tide on a local beach.
I figured why not, after finding quite a few pieces of silver jewelry in the wet sand on my previous hunts. 
My strategy was a little different on this night hunt, I normally use a Minelab CTX 3030 or Excalibur to  help me avoid digging ferrous or other junk targets.
This time I took my new waterproof pulse induction metal detector, the Minelab SDC 2300 to dig all targets. 
I planned to hit the water at first light, and see if I could find some gold jewelry on the lower beach at this popular little area.  
Not wanting to be a "Box hunter" I like to mix things up from time to time, so digging all ferrous and non ferrous targets on a tourist beach was a nice change of pace.
These two pieces of14K gold jewelry were my reward for digging a target every sweep of my search coil, sometimes two or three targets per sweep. 

I was hoping to find a gold chain with my new pulse induction metal detector, but it was not to be.  Im pretty sure if my search coil had passed over one I would have detected it. 
After the hard work of digging all targets on the lower beach in the dark, I figured I would have an easier time in the water with my CTX 3030, even though the tide changed fast and the surf was rough.
Maybe I fell into the "Its all in the water" trap" as all I found in the water was two silver rings, a junk chain and a junk ring before calling it quits using minimal discrimination. 
The high amount of non ferrous junk ( pennies) would probably have discouraged other beach hunters from recovering so many of them on the lower beach. 
I really believe the two pieces of gold jewelry were being masked in the carpet of junk targets on the beach. 
It just goes to show how much gold is on the lower beach, and of course what you have to do to find it. 
Being a beach and water hunter, it is not important to me where the gold comes from, as long as I can recover it. 
Maybe if I only water hunted, these two pieces of gold along with many others from the past would still be waiting to be found. 
Trying different search techniques, different metal detectors and search coils, can and often does lead to recovering gold at the beach. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trash finds on heavily hunted beaches

Never under estimate the importance of the humble aluminum pull tab, or crusty penny when beach or shallow water hunting.
I live in an area where beaches are hammered day and night by full time beach and water hunters, but it surprises me just how many pull tabs and clad coins you can still find following other people metal detecting.
When several people are metal detecting in the same area, I use pull tabs and clad coins as motivational finds.
With so many people using the same few makes and models of waterproof metal detector,  I always know the pull tab or coin I just recovered could easily have been a piece of jewelry.
No doubt some beach or water hunters would decide to move to another area if all they are finding is pulltabs and pennies, but not me.
Pull tabs and coins recovered in areas with visible signs of metal detecting activity are very motivational to me.
One of the waterproof metal detectors I use is a very popular make and model, I know if someone was using it correctly they would never pass on scooping the signal from an aluminum pulltab.
That aluminum pulltab ( potential piece of gold) was either missed or recovered and thrown back down again by a sloppy hunter.
Targets left as decoys are normally found on the surface close to dug holes, and are easily identifiable.  
I was water hunting in an area that two water hunters had just searched on the morning I found this 14K gold diamond eternity band. 

One of the water hunters had dug a few targets closer to shore and I wanted to see if the area    had more targets. 
I took out quite a few pull tabs, bottle caps and pennies in one small area, before seeing this expensive diamond ring in my scoop. 
The other water hunter probably got tired of digging lightweight trash targets in the shallower water, moving away from the pull tabs and corroded bottle caps. 
Never give too much credit to other beach and shallow water hunters, especially on heavily hunted tourist beaches, the competition may not be as competent and you think they are.
They may not be covering the ground very well,  have their search coils raised too high above the sand, or they could be using a ridiculously high level of discrimination to reject trash targets.
That aluminum pull tab or crusty penny you just recovered, may turn or to be a good sign on a heavily hunted beach.
A sign that gold or silver is still in the area, you just have to see what other targets were missed in the same area.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My favorite and top secret jewelry hunting site

Yesterday I visited my favorite modern jewelry hunting spot, just to check it out and see what is going on in the area. 
My favorite jewelry hunting site is not in a glitzy area filled with night clubs, or packed with rows of sun beds and tourists, just a small ordinary looking beach that holds a secret past. 
Continuing yesterday's blog theme, I keep the location a secret because I am waiting for Davy Jones locker to open up again without having to worry about self made competition. 
The last time this spot opened up was back in 2012, when I recovered some killer jewelry finds without seeing another beach or water hunter for miles around. 
Killer jewelry finds, like this heavy 18K gold mans ring with two diamonds and a 5 carat emerald. 

This piece of jewelry along with many others, was recovered after hurricane Sandy had moved up and past the Florida coastline in late 2012, helping move sand around, filling my finds pouch with old gold and silver. 
I found many fantastic pieces of gold jewelry over a two day period at my top secret jewelry hunting site. 
Perhaps, I would have found more modern gold jewelry, but my first instinct after the high surf was to drive north in search of Spanish treasure on the famous Treasure Coast of Florida. 
My favorite jewelry hunting spot was discovered by pure accident back in 2006, trying different beaches instead of following the detecting crowd to much larger and popular tourist beaches. 
One morning I found two large links to a diamond encrusted gold bracelet in a place you would not expect to find anything.
Returning to the same site after beach erosion a year later, I recovered an antique gold Scottish masons ring with a 3/4 carat diamond and many old Us silver coins.
Obviously, the site had a secret past and I discovered what the history of the beach was after researching the area at the local library. 
Back in 2012, my research proved to be golden with all the gold jewelry that came off this site, including another three links of the same diamond bracelet that originally alerted me to the site.
Yesterday morning was just a trip down memory lane, although I did find a marked sterling Tiffany pendant in the water before lightning canceled my water hunting plans.
You can be sure I will be watching and waiting for any high surf that may effect my favorite jewelry hunting site. 
I hope this blog inspires you to try different beaches and hopefully find a special site that you can call your own. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

3 simple ways to increase the amount of jewelry you find.

Here are a few topics that are covered in my "Hardcore Beach Hunting" book, these three simple things will help you to find jewelry, and keep finding jewelry.

Sometimes it is not the metal detector, metal detecting techniques or beach reading skills that make a difference.
It is the things you overlook that can put a dent in the amount of jewelry you can recover at the beach with your metal detector.

1.  Avoid small talk

If you use a metal detector on the beach or in the water during the day, you are going to get bombarded with questions.
Every minute you spend explaining what you are doing, how you are doing it, or talking about what you have found and where, is a minute of wasted jewelry hunting time.
It is not just inquisitive tourists that will eat into your treasure hunting time, other beach and water hunters can also put a serious dent in your jewelry hunting prospects.
I avoid all contact with other beach and water hunters, not to keep the beach spot on the down low, but to avoid wasting my valuable jewelry hunting time chatting.
Once another beach or water hunter takes the headphones off and makes a bee line straight for you, your going to be talking instead of metal detecting. 

2. TMI

Showing complete strangers the jewelry you have just found on the beach, can come back to bite you in the jewelry hunting butt, especially on a heavily hunted beach.
The nice strangers on the beach that you shared your moment of jewelry hunting joy with, will no doubt want to talk to the next person with a metal detector they see on the same beach.
A strangers tale of jewelry found, will motivate the competition to hang around, as well as giving them a heads up on the place you recovered jewelry.
Always try to keep your emotions in check and keep a poker face when you find a nice piece of jewelry.  If you shout out " Goooooold" like a Mexican World Cup soccer commentator, you are asking for unwanted attention.
Loose lips sink ships, they can also sink your chances of finding more jewelry.

3. Hunting in packs

I saw 5 people water hunting as a group yesterday, meaning they only had a 20% chance of recovering jewelry, due to liking metal detecting in the water with their buddies.
The more people you go beach or water hunting with, the more your chances of finding jewelry fall.
Plus you have the added whammy of all your hunting buddies knowing the exact location you recover any jewelry, assuming you are the one who finds it ?
I know quite a few full time beach and water hunters  who love having detecting partners, 
50 % of the possible jewelry finds is ok with them.
Call me greedy, but I still prefer to go home with100% of the jewelry when I go beach or water hunting.
I also like being able to return to productive sites, without having to worry about being beaten to the site by all the people who also know about the productive site.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The sand is not always more golden

Many beach and water hunters make the mistake of thinking other people have a much easier time of metal detecting than they do.  
I have found out through experience that another beach can appear more golden until you get there, kind of like that grass is always greener saying.
In my opinion, is always better to master your own beaches and concentrate on what you can find on your local beaches, than get involved in who is finding what and where.
A good friend of mine recently told me I am the only person he knows that never asks where anyone has found anything.
My friend is correct, I am not bothered who has found what and where, I concentrate only on what I can recover on the beaches that I metal detect at.
I often hear people say that because I live in Florida, I only find the things I do because of the location, yeh right!
They are also some of the most heavily hunted ( Day and night) beaches in the world, with large metal detecting clubs located all over Florida.
Hard work and determination are the two main reasons I can still overcome heavy competition, this beach found1836 gold coin is a reminder of that.

I searched thirteen straight evenings from 8 until midnight on a beach with eroded sand dunes, before finally being rewarded for my determination.
Of course after finding the gold coin, I spend another nine evenings after work searching the same area. 
No matter where the beach is, you still have to find what you are looking for, even in the face of stiff competition from other beach and water hunters.
That is where confidence in your own metal detecting and beach reading skills, will help you to still find on a regular basis.
When you hone your metal detecting skills and become a top dog on your own beaches, it is always possible to kick butt at other beaches.
Never worry about what other people are finding, where or how, all that really matters is what you are finding and how you are finding it.
Use other people's big finds as motivation,  not to run to the site the big find has already been recovered from,  but to reassure you that anything is possible.
A motivated treasure hunter is far more likely to recover gold and silver, than a treasure hunter who always believes they are in the wrong location.
As any professional treasure salvager worth their sea salt will tell you ,  "Treasure is where you find it" !