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Monday, July 27, 2015

Dont sweat the little stuff

When I go to the beach with a metal detector, I go to relax, have fun and hopefully find something cool. 
I do not worry about sanded in conditions, tide times, who is already metal detecting or who may show up to metal detect. 
Internet metal detecting forums are jammed packed with questions from people asking if their metal detector is good enough, am I getting enough depth, where should I search. 
The answers to those and many other questions usually turn out to be irrelivent in the real world of beach and water hunting. 
Sure you can worry about the compactness of the sand,  targets out of reach, or a whole number of other things beyond your control, but they are not probably going to make a difference. 
In my opinion, you are going to find what you are find with the metal detector you are using at the place you are searching. 
I am a firm believer that when it is your time it is your time, the little stuff is not going to make a whole lot of difference. 
In my books I refer to "Beginners luck" and explain why it is important to try and think like a person new to the hobby. 
All excited and jacked up ready to hit the beach in search of treasure, with no misguided things learned like the best time to search the beach or best metal detector to use. 
Newbies grab their new metal detector, hit the beach regardless of the tides and conditions and often recover some pretty amazing finds. 
Unfortunately,  people new to the hobby often get away from the things that created that early success, by sweating the little stuff. 
Tide times, metal detector depth,  other beach hunters, just a few examples of stuff that really did not matter when they first started beach hunting. 
For example low tides, sand composition, surf height, movement of coins on the lower beach, all mean nothing if that information holds you back.
The less things you think about to deter you from going to the beach with your metal detector the more stuff you will find.
Do not get me wrong, it is good to know certain beach dynamics, but it is not a code more like a set a guidelines as Jack Sparrow would say. 
I would rather spend two, three or four hours at the beach having fun and returning home with gold, than spend eight hours returning home empty handed following the code. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Moving and shaking

I have recovered more than my fair share of really nice finds at the beach, from Spanish treasure to design name jewelry. 
This time last year I was picking this Tiffany & Co platinum ring with a 1.5 carat rock out of my scoop basket. 

I was very surprised to see this sparkly beauty glistening in the sun, it was probably the last place I would expect to find such an expensive diamond ring. 
That is the beauty of beach and water hunting, you never know what you will see in your scoop. 
If you search a lot of different beaches, you will recover a wide variety of jewelry and coins. 
Recently I have been scouting new locations to go beach and water hunting, and I have several very interesting places to search when I have the time. 
I have no idea what I am going to find, but that makes me want to search these new sites even more. 
The last three times I have gone metal detecting I have recovered gold at new sites, places I have never searched before. 
I have no doubt, adding these and other new sites to my list will lead to many more nice surprises in my scoop basket. 
In my opinion, the more you move around the more you will be shaking your scoop basket looking for gold inside. 
The more targets you dig at the beach, the more chances you have of recovering a really good find. 
Yesterday I hit a beach that obviously had not seen a metal detector recently, but a mile down the road I saw 5 guys water hunting and two people wet sanding at the same site. 
The weekend is the perfect time to reevaluate your beach hunting strategy. 
Do you want to fight the detecting crowd looking for scraps with few signals at the main beach, or take a chance on another beach with probably more targets to scoop. 
I base my beach and water hunting plans on searching a site with lots of targets, not lots of different people metal detecting. 





Monday, July 20, 2015

Cutting through trash targets at the beach

Over the weekend I had a chance to search the yard of the second oldest house in Lauderdale by the sea, the house was built in 1924 by the same guy who built the fishing pier. 
I met the owner of the house on Friday afternoon and I had a quick search of the property using my Minelab CTX 3030 and an 11 inch search coil.  The large vacant lot next to the beach was very trashy, with plenty of bottle caps and ring pulls visible on the surface. 
I decided to put a smaller search coil on my CTX 3030 the following morning when I would methodically search the yard 
Straight away the smaller 10 X 5 search coil made a difference, with target separation and target recovery speed.  
I recovered about a dozen coins from the 1930s and a really nice old english silver shilling, the young queen Victoria head dates the silver coin to the mid 1800s. 


The owner was thrilled when I placed the old silver coin in his hand, along with the rest of the coins. 
Most of the old coins came out of one area of the yard, so the next day I went even smaller with my choice of  search coil.
On Sunday morning I pulled several more 1930s coins from the same area using the 6-inch CTX 3030 smart coil. 
Early this morning before work, I snagged a couple more old coins after raking the sandy soil near the sidewalk. 
My searches with the 11 and 17 inch size search coils were really tough in this trashy yard, but it was worth a try in less trashy areas of the yard. 
After reading todays blog I hope you can understand why I love small search coils on trashy beach sites.
This yard close to the beach with sandy soil, reminded me of many trashy beach sites that I recover gold at. 
It goes to show how target separation and recovery speed make a difference, and how your choice of search coil to suit the site is so important. 
Large search coils work best on beaches with less trash,  small search coils work best on beaches with large amounts of trash. 
This also highlights one of advantages of using a metal detector like the CTX 3030 when searching trashy tourist beaches, you can change search coils. 
In my opinion, the hardest jewelry to find is the shallow jewelry on trashy tourist beaches.  
Bottle caps and corroding iron, can keep coins and jewelry hidden really well at the beach.  
I rely on that trash to hide jewelry and coins at many of my favorite jewelry hunting sites, until I can get a chance to go to the beach with my metal detector.   



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Broken rings and open earrings

On my last couple of water hunts I have found quite a few pieces of broken jewelry, several pieces at a heavily hunted beach while searching for a lost ring. 
Gold rings with open cracks in the band, or open gold earrings will respond like a bottle cap on VLF metal detectors, even when using a minimum amount of discrimination. 
A less experienced beach or water hunter, may decide the piece of jewelry has not got a two way repeatable response and decide to pass on scooping the broken signal.
This 1932 18K gold masonic ring with a 3/4 carat diamond is one  of my favorite "Bottle cap" signals, which I obviously stopped to scoop up a few years ago.  

I recently went water hunting at the beach I recovered this old beauty, it is a place that I rarely walk away from without recovering old  jewelry or coins.
I hardly ever see other people metal detecting at this place, and even fewer people in the water swimming. It is just a great place to find old jewelry and coins from when the beach used to be popular. 
Because most of the stuff I recover here is old, targets are usually deeper and tend to be encrusted in coral. 
I never did clean this ring all the way up, just in case I broke it and I like it the way it is. 
It is very easy to get set in your ways when you first start metal detecting, especially when you do start finding jewelry and coins. 
You could say that you learn to differentiate between trash and treasure, but many good targets can often mimic bad targets, especially if they are encrusted in sand or coral.
Gold class rings have plenty of nooks and crannies around the embossing for coral or sand to become attached to after spending a long time in the water or on the lower beach. 
That is exactly what I thought this masonic ring was before the coral dropped off after a long soak in lemon juice. 
Try not to get too wrapped up with basing your scooping decisions on hearing a two way repeatable signal.
Remember, even the best means of discrimination is only accurate to a certain depth. 
If you have a display screen with a depth indicator,  scoop a few more of those iffy signals showing deep readings. 
They could be broken rings, open or unusual shaped earrings, or bottle caps, but it is always  nice to know for sure.
 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Its not how much beach you cover, its how you cover the beach

I live around some of the most heavily hunted beaches in the US and this morning was no exception.
My last two water hunts total 5 hours and I recovered 6 pieces of gold jewelry and 13 pieces of silver jewelry. 
Sunday morning I recovered two 14K gold bands and an 18K gold band and I saw at least 10 other people metal detecting, in and out of the water. 


There are many big name beaches in south Florida, places you will see loads of people beach and water hunting every day of the year. 
In the water today, just after I placed the third gold ring in my finds pouch I was thinking what little ground I had covered and how much beach the competition had covered. 
Looking up from time to time, I noticed the competition doing a lot of walking but not a lot of scooping.
I was hitting enough targets to keep me anchored in one area, my gold to clad coin ratio was about one piece of gold jewelry for every ten coins recovered. 
Many of the coins were greenies, meaning they had been in the ocean a while, obviously missed several times over on a heavily hunted beach. 
I do not like metal detecting at very heavily hunted beaches, but this beach was on my rotation plan and I had not been there for a while. 
It would have been easier to return to the site I recovered three pieces of gold at on Wednesday, but when I cover a place I cover a place and I would rather move onto the next beach. 
That really is the point of todays blog, covering an area slowly and methodically. 
In my opinion,  the less ground you cover at tourist beaches the better.  Going back to the 10 people I saw metal detecting today, I probably searched slower, covered less ground and dug more targets than the all other guys metal detecting in the water. 
I prefer to put the detecting in metal detecting, otherwise it becomes metal walking.  
Are you detecting and scooping, or walking to some imaginary place you will recover gold because everyone else is searching there. 
Sometimes, the best jewelry hunting spot is the place you decide to stop and search. 




Monday, July 6, 2015

Travelling to beach or water hunt tips

There is nothing worse than traveling to go metal detecting and not being able to take full advantage of the trip. 
Things that can put a damper on a beach or water hunting trip, are battery packs, shafts and recovery tools. 
If you are traveling to detect overseas it pays to have a AA battery pack, if you can use one with your metal detector.  If not, make sure you have the necessary electrical plug for your rechargable metal detector battery pack.  
I use Minelab metal detectors, which are easy to break down or fold up when traveling to go beach or water hunting. 
If you use an Excalibur,  invest in either a chest or hip mount kit, or a travel shaft that can easily be broken down to fit in a suitcase. 
When traveling by air, I put my CTX 3030 shaft in my suitcase and carry the rest of the CTX 3030 in my backpack.  
I also carry a copy of the CTX 3030 (or my book) with me so I can explain to anyone inspecting my backpack what it is. 
A metal detector that fits into a backpack draws less attention to you when you stay at places with private beaches or when visiting ports of call on cruises.  
Walking through a hotel lobby with a metal detector on long straight shaft with an extra large search coil is asking to get questioned. 
When you do get to your destination, you need to be able to recover targets on the beach or in the water.
An aluminum travel scoop does the job, or you can take a stainless steel scoop basket and buy a wooden handle when you get to your destination. 
I like to always be prepared to travel and detect way ahead of time,  my beach and water hunting travel kit is stored away ready to use. 
My travel to beach or water hunt kit, consists of a three piece travel shaft for the Excalibur, AA battery pack, hard sole dive boots, nylon finds pouch, worldwide electrical adapter, spare seals for my CTX 3030 and SDC 2300 and a two piece aluminum travel scoop. 
Always rinse off and store any travel shaft or travel scoop broken down, there is nothing worse than preparing to travel, but finding out your travel shaft or scoop has become locked or seized up.
A couple of other spare parts that can save a detecting trip, are an extra search coil nut and bolt, and arm cuff strap.
Wrap any part of your metal detector put in your suitcase well, especially your main shaft.  
My wife laughs when I pack my suitcase, my clothes are just in the suitcase to protect my metal detecting gear. 
The more prepared you are to travel and metal detect, the easier it is to return home with some great finds. 




Monday, June 29, 2015

Going the extra yard

Yesterday I got a chance to go metal detecting at a popular tourist beach in Palm Beach county Florida. 
This place is hit hard by many beach and water hunters, yesterday I saw several people already metal detecting when I arrived. 
The skies were getting darker and I knew I was probably going to have to leave the beach when a thunder storm rolled onshore. 
My strategy was to search an area at the tourist beach that is hunted the least, an obvious turn around area. 
Often beach and water hunters use the same turn around markers at tourist beaches, lifeguard towers, fishing piers or just the end of a line of sun beds laid out on the beach. 
What is the point of going past the crowded area, right? 
After entering the water with my Minelab Excalibur,  just a few yards past one of those obvious turn around points I started to recover coins and jewelry. 
I found a silver ring in the first 10 minutes which is always a good sign. A heavy platinum ring was recovered not far away from the silver ring and before leaving I recovered an 18K gold ring. 
All the coins in the area, also told me that other beach and water hunters did not like to detect very far past the crowded area at this beach. 
My platinum and gold rings were not found because I was following other people using inferior equipment or metal detecting techniques, just bad search patterns. 
Not all pople using the beach like to be in crowded areas at the beach, some people like to relax away from crowded sections of the beach. 
They lose jewelry and that jewelry stays in the area until an enterprising beach or water hunter goes the extra yard with their metal detector. 
When you have competition at the beach for jewelry and coins, you have to sometimes search or cover areas you probably would prefer not to.
Sometimes other hunters in the area squeeze you into searching an area you would rather not be at. In my case yesterday, two people were already searching the area I would have chosen to search first. 
Searching the less crowded section of a tourist beach might not seem like a good idea, but they are often the less heavily searched areas at tourist beaches with obvious turn around points or empty spaces between busier stretches of the beach.