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Sunday, August 12, 2018

No area is ever cleaned out

I recently searched a site I knew had been hit hard and often, but I still managed to winkle a few good finds out of the area.
Most of the good finds came out of holes with at least one piece of iron in the same hole.
No matter what non ferrous targets you are searching for, if there is iron resting close to good targets you will struggle to detect the good target because of the iron. 
On this occasion I heard the mixed signals from multiple targets and relied on my ears.
VDI screens on metal detectors are not much help if you haven’t had experience interpreting multiple targets under your search coil.
The most eye opening test you can do a VLF ( Very low frequency) metal detector is the iron nail test. 
For this simple test to see how iron masking works, place a gold ring or silver coin on the ground next to an iron nail.
Sweep your search coil over the top of the test targets and see how far away from the iron nail the gold ring or silver coin has to be placed before you can detect the good target.
Experiment with different size nails and you will see just how easy it is for a person to mistakenly believe an area is cleaned out. 
The sweeping direction across the test targets and the size of the nail come into play, also the size of the search coil and how fast it is swept.
Put all those factors together and you can see why a search area considered “ Hunted out” is never really hunted out if you know how iron masking works. 
You just have to work harder and smarter to detect targets and rely on your ears to winkle out good finds waiting to be detected.
Check out any metal detecting forum and the number one question asked today is what numbers?
In reality a better question is what signal,tone or pitch as these are the things that are important when you have multiple ferrous and non ferrous targets under your search coil. 
Eyes on the ground ears at attention, just because a site is heavily hunted or referred to as “Cleaned out” it does not mean you cannot winkle out a good find or two.





Sunday, August 5, 2018

Show and tell ?

As any avid beach hunter will tell you, it is a heck of a feeling pulling a really nice find out of your scoop basket.
The thrill of the find and holding something special you just recovered, but do you share news of the discovery?
I have not posted any recently recovered Spanish treasure coins, artifacts or modern mega bling for several years now.
The main reason being to protect the locations finds were recovered, giving me a chance to continue recovering other good stuff from the same areas.
Another reason for not posting finds was being followed by people assuming I was leaving the house to go metal detecting.
One local beach hunter followed me through a McDonalds drive thru another followed me to the ice rink dropping my youngest off for a 6 am coaching lesson.
It was also no coincidence that two out of town beach hunters showed up within thirty minutes of me searching sites for over a month.
I’m pretty sure either my cell phone or vehicle was being tracked, definitely no coincidence.
I consider these unfortunate events as payback for posting good finds on social media the day I recovered them and lazy beach hunters doing what they do best, chasing down other beach hunters.
Posting finds on social media is a double edged sword, it feels good to share your success and inspire others but it can come back to bite you in the treasure hunting butt if you are not careful.
There are simple ways to take the heat off yourself if you like posting and inspiring other beach hunters.
Avoid going into too many details of traveling to the beach and where you always like to park.
That makes it easy for people trying to track you down, once they know your parking habits it does not take long to deduce where you are finding stuff.
Detailing the search area next to the lifeguard tower etc is asking for metal detecting company at tourist beaches.
Of course naming the beach will put you on all the local beach hunters radar, I only name a beach when I want people to go there lol 
Posting photos of eroded (cut) beaches you are searching will always guarantee you have company the same day or the morning after you post the photos.
Time delay your posts, wait a month or two or better still an end of summer or year finds post.
You can still show the finds you are proud of detecting and recovering, but you are less likely to get followed immediately. 
After all these years of pounding beaches and plundering Davy Jones locker I still remain an elusive sight at the beach, giving Bigfoot a run for the hide and seek championship. 
Which reminds me I have to work on not breaking out the gold dance! 
I prefer my finds pouch pocket to glow and swell than to show and tell. 











Saturday, July 28, 2018

Searching iron infested areas.

I search a lot of iron infested trashy sites, areas where digging every single piece of iron just in case I miss something good is just not possible.
In order to have success at iron infested areas you have to use a little discrimination, a small search coil, trust in your metal detector and most importantly trust in your ears.
You may be surprised just how much small iron can be rejected using a minimal amount of discrimination.
Searching small areas slowly from at least two different directions is the best plan of attack, using a slow methodical sweep speed.
No matter how good you think you have searched an area it is possible to miss good targets       only searching an area from one single direction.
If you have a VDI screen on your metal detector avoid digging shallow depth gauge targets, both ferrous and non ferrous targets as they have a high probability of being surface junk.
Assuming you are not interested in older iron objects, look for non ferrous targets at depth.
Screen or no screen, listen for feint audio responses from deeply buried non ferrous targets.
Slowly wiggling your search coil over an iffy barely audible target often helps to enhance a deep non ferrous target audio response.
Surface iron and the halo effect of deeper corroding iron help mask non ferrous targets in iron infested areas.
A metal detector will often respond to the corroded iron leaching into the matrix the iron was trapped in. 
Small search coils help with target recovery speed if you are using a metal detector not known for a fast target recovery speed.
Target recovery speed is metal detecting lingo for the time it takes your metal detector to detect another target after detecting the last target detected.
The reason for searching across a target rich area from two different directions is to hopefully detect a good target previously over powered by a trash target when your search coil crossed over both targets from the other direction.
You can winkle good targets from areas that at first seem impossible to detect, especially from areas that have previously been searched by hunters using large search coils.
A small size search coil rocks an iron infested area providing openings for methodical hunters, an elliptical shape search coil also helps in areas with known elongated iron obstacles such as pipes.
Sometimes a garden rake or a magnet can be used to clear small surface iron away from a site, or you can just let the beach cleaning tractor do the easy work? 
Coins and jewelry in the sand are moved around free of charge at popular beach sites every day, a diamond ring moved a few inches from a corroding bottle cap can make all the difference to a beach hunter. 
Of course the main things that will open up iron infested sites are time spent reading your metal detector manual and time spent testing targets so you know how to use your metal detector and know what to listen for.
Take my word for it, the best targets are often hidden in plain sight making them the easiest things to detect if you have a plan to detect them.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Flow breakers

Beach treasure hunters often have to rely on the movement of sand in order to be successful, being able to read a beach is often about knowing where the stuff you are searching for has probably moved to.
Some things on beaches obstruct the natural flow of sand, I call them " Flow breakers" objects like boulders, pilings, lifeguard stands, anything that sand is moved around during coastal storms or periods of high surf.
Standing on the beach next to a large rock or iron piling you can often see the lines where the sand has been pushed around the obstruction.
Any coins or jewelry lost at that section of beach you are standing on would have moved with the sand around the sand flow breaking obstacle on the beach.
The larger the sand flow breaker and the busier the beach, the more stuff you can detect around the obstacle that interrupted the natural flow of sand on the beach.
I have always had success searching above large boulders, rocks, pilings etc on the beach and for good reason. 
Jewelry, coins and other metal objects wash up and around obstacles but they often get trapped by the obstacle on the way back down the beach. 
This makes the upper beach side of sand flow breaking obstacles great places to find stuff after periods of high surf, assuming the high surf made it past the obstacle.
Jewelry and coins tend to be found in a straight-ish line below the obstacle towards the water, after being pulled back down around the obstacle.
The obstacle that diverted the natural flow of sand will dictate how you go about searching the area, I prefer using a small search coil and getting closer to metal obstructions.
Before walking away from any sand flow breaker on the beach I like to do a spiral search pattern around the obstacle to make sure I don't miss anything pushed or deposited away from the obstacle.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hidden in plain sight

This year I have found some pretty cool things in the most unexpected areas and I have crossed two things off my metal detecting bucket list.
What this year has taught me is to never overlook anywhere just because I have more success in other areas I know to be more productive.
I go on about beginners luck and trying to think like a newbie to perhaps get some beginners luck.
People new to metal detecting with few beach reading skills are less inclined to head directly to a good looking spot before turning on their metal detector.
An experienced beach hunter may think a beach hunting newbie is wasting their time searching a certain area but I never do, you can detect and recover something of value anywhere on the beach.
On a recent shallow water hunt I was not detecting any targets, two newbies on the lower beach were detecting and digging their butts off in an area I would not have bothered to search.
After seeing the two newbies walking away from the area I quickly went to the spot they were busy digging targets at, its a pity they were not using deeper metal detectors because the good stuff was deeper down in the mushy sand.
Earlier in the year a similar thing happened way up in the dry sand at the top of the beach, you just never know unless you get outside your comfort zone by searching iffy looking sites.
It is surprised to know what good stuff is hidden in plain sight, if you just give areas a once over.
Hey even if you do not find anything in an area you would ignore 99% of the time, at least you can say you have ruled it out.
In fact beach hunting is often about covering ground and ruling areas out, when I consider the beaches to be sanded-in or not looking good, I spend my time wisely trying areas I know darn well are not going to be productive.
But.... every once in a while you are proven wrong and detect something awesome.
Something that makes you wish you had searched the area before or sooner, which has happened to me  a few times this year.
Are you overlooking areas like everyone else?



Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good or bad beach hunting signs?

On a recent search at a heavily hunted tourist beach I saw both good and bad beach hunting signs. 
Little signs that at first may not appear significant, but they can and often do have an outcome on your beach hunts.
The beach I went looking for tourist jewelry at is searched 24/7 by beach and water hunters at night using headlamps, but you can still find gold if you know what you are doing.
I am an area searcher, meaning I look for an area of the beach I believe has the signs to be productive, instead of trying to cover the whole beach relying on luck.
One of the ways I know I have found a promising area to pound is by the coins I detect.
Coins coming out the sand can tell you a lot about an area, especially at a heavily hunted tourist beach.
For example a US quarter, checking out the condition of it and determining if it is a “Fresh drop” or not.  
A quarter is a sizable target and if more than one unrelated quarter is detected in an area it tells me to hang around. If undetected large denomination coins are in an area what else is there? 
You would have to be a very sloppy beach hunter to miss several easy to detect quarters in an area.
Nickels are always a good sign in numbers because they sound good and respond with gold like numbers on all metal detectors with VDI screens. 
The cent isn’t just a nuisance target when detected in high numbers. Two or three humble US cents can easily mask a solitaire diamond ring, even when you sweep a search coil very slowly across the area.
Swap that diamond ring out for a large 10K class ring and I double dare the average beach or water to hear the gold ring between the stinking Lincoln cent. 
The same applies to three or four unrelated dimes in an area, they mask good targets.
Whenever I find a quarter, nickel, dime or cent, I need another coin in the area to help me identify if they are fresh dropped recent losses or unrelated coins.
The condition of different coins in an area help me to do that, an obvious pocket spill is not as good as coins I deem to be lost over time.
Even the grouping of coins in an area tell you something, quarters and nickels detected in close proximity get my toes tingling ! 
They would not be in an area at a heavily hunted tourist beach if the area had been searched thoroughly.
My last two tourist beach hunts in areas with quarters and dimes have coughed up gold, instead of walking in a straight line away from the area like others do, I spiraled and pounded and eventually found gold.
Coins detected at tourist beaches can and often do tell a story if you connect the dots.
The odd coin can be a bad sign, but when they have friends in the same area they are often a sign of good things to come.



Saturday, July 7, 2018

What and where in the comfort zone

I have been in the beach hunting comfort zone for a very long time, thanks to metal detecting equipment choices I made a very long time ago.
Without doubt one of the most difficult decisions anyone getting into beach hunting must eventually get right is what gear are you going to use.
More to the point what metal detector are you comfortable using and relying on to get the job done.
Im a big fan of using Minelab metal detectors because I feel comfortable using them and I can rely on them to detect the stuff I am searching for at the beaches I search.
The two things I mainly search for are small silver Spanish treasure coins on remote shipwreck beaches and fine gold jewelry at modern tourist beaches, so I use metal detectors that can detect both of these type of metals at saltwater beaches. 
Although I say Im in the beach hunting comfort zone when it comes to the metal detectors I use, I do try and test other metal detectors when I get an opportunity.
When I meet other people metal detecting at the beach I always try to get a sense of how and why they are using their metal detector.
Old timers like myself tend to stay loyal to one or two metal detectors that are tried and trusted, happy and content in the beach hunting comfort zone knowing if its out there Im detecting it!
Here is the beef in todays beach hunting sandwich, if you know a veteran local beach hunter known for finds instead of subscribers and detecting forum posts, you may want to check out what metal detector they use.
The best responses from people I meet at the beach as to why they are using a certain metal detector always begin with I feel comfortable using it and its the right fit for me.
Im still trying to get used to it and Im still trying to get past the learning curve are red flags, especially from people who have been beach hunting a while and should know better.
If your new to beach hunting, research is the key to choosing a metal detector you will be comfortable using.
Why you choose to use a type of metal detector should always be because of the what and where from your research.