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Friday, January 24, 2020

Expanding the search

If you've been following this blog for a while you may have already picked up that I do things a little differently to the majority of beach hunters. 
One of those things I do differently is trying new or different sites, you wont catch me going to the same one or two beaches all the time because I actually enjoy trying out new sites.
Id hate to be that guy posting photos of one or two beaches every day and moaning about sanded-in conditions and finds droughts.
You have to try new search areas if you want to recover what you are searching for on a regular basis.
When you avoid going to the same one or two sites you learn a lot more beach and site reading skills because you are  exposed to more metal detecting situations. 
This week I tried three areas I have never searched before, only one had potential and I will keep an eye out for the conditions I believe will allow me to be more successful there.
Today I will try another site Ive passed on my travels but I never stopped to check it out, sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling and I hope it pays off.
'It is so tempting when you have success at one site to keep returning and hoping you find something else, but it is important to understand why you were successful at that site instead of blindly returning in the hope of detecting something else good.
There is always a logical reason why you detected and recovered a find and believe me it is not because you kept blindly hammering away at the same site regardless of the conditions.  
Site reading and searching skills you pick up along the way help you be a more all around beach hunter, especially when you metal detecting time is not confined to only one or two sites. 
Here are a few pieces of lead from a recent treasure coast beach hunt at a site Id never been to before, these type of recoveries tell me I have a chance of detecting old coins and other artifacts in that area.



Hey it beats going to the same site all the regular searchers hit every time they go metal detecting.
You'll never know what is possible unless you expand your searches, you'll get skunked a few times but when you do discover a hot site you have the place all to yourselves.
Having a wide variety of sites to search leads to a wide variety of finds and very full and interesting display cases, something to think about if you are ready to metal detecting this weekend.
   


              Available at www.garydrayton.com 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Spot the difference

One of the many advantages of not looking at a metal detector screen while searching is being able to see subtle differences in the terrain you are walking over. 
You carry and use a metal detector but there are plenty of non metallic finds you can eyeball while metal detecting, some can be more valuable than the metal objects you are searching for.
I love spotting coins, jewelry or artifacts that I am searching for hiding in plain sight, such as these pieces of Florida Ais native american pottery sherds, recovered on a recent Spanish treasure hunt. 



Anything that stands out from the natural search surroundings when metal detecting should be picked up and investigated, assuming you are not walking around looking at the darn metal detector screen waiting for numbers to appear.  
Several years ago I searched an eroded section of a well known Spanish 1715 fleet shipwreck beach, with a 6ft cut running for several hundred yards along the beach.
I was following a local guy who had his eyes locked on his display screen, he didn't notice the large rim of a piece of 1715 fleet silver plate protruding from the wall of sand we were both following. 
Low hanging treasure fruit for someone metal detecting and watching for anything out of the ordinary in the search area, I often pull pieces of old pottery, glass and even fossils out of cuts on eroded beaches. 
Look for anything out of place in the search area, for example straight lines in rocky areas, different colors or shapes or textures. 
If something catches your eye pick it up and put it in your finds pouch for further inspection.
If you find out its nothing when you get home throw it away, but Im sure you will have more pleasant surprises playing it safe and stopping to pick up unusual objects.
Pottery sherds are excellent signs of previous activity in an area, broken glass and pieces of clay pipe can also help date a site and lead you to what you are really hoping to find with your metal detector.
Im a Spanish treasure hunter at heart and I still hunt by ear only relying on signal interpretation to influence my digging decisions. 
When you hunt by ear your eyes are free to focus on what is really important to a person using a metal detector, site reading skills! 
The quote "Cant see the forest for the trees" comes to mind, especially if you are searching for old coins and artifacts. 
Keep your eyes on the ground if you don't want to leave cool finds behind for the next person following with a metal detector not interested in target ID numbers. 


                                       

            Available at www.garydrayton.com 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Weekend warriors get ready to rumble

If you work for a living and own a metal detector, Thursday or Friday is when you start to think about where and when you are going to go metal detecting over the weekend.
Where and when are you going to search as well as putting work in your rear view mirror for a couple of days.
There is no use fretting over who has been searching areas while you were working your butt off all week, who you are potentially following or who is already searching the site when you get there. 
All that matters is how you search the sites you choose when you make it to the beach over the weekend.
That is why I am and always have been a methodical son of a beach using a metal detector, Im used to following and finding stuff behind other beach hunters over the weekend.
I figured if I had to be a weekend warrior I was going to use every trick in the book to be successful on the only two days I was free too metal detect.
So here are a couple of those weekend warrior tricks I used to detect coins, jewelry and artifacts following people lucky enough to go metal detecting during the week. 

Work on timing

At tourist type beaches, avoid hitting the beach early Saturday morning because you are way too early to take advantage of weekend crowds at tourist beaches. 
The whole point of hitting a busy beach over a weekend is to find stuff lost during the busiest two days of the beach week.
Try searching Saturday evening or even better Sunday evening, all it takes is patience and a little will power. 
You will have more success searching after the weekend beach crowds than before the expected beach crowds. 
Now you know why It does not matter how many people you see metal detecting at a tourist beach on a Saturday morning, they are in the same boat as you searching the beach before anything has been lost. 
Other good times to start your weekend searches off are Saturday evening or Sunday morning if you don't have the opportunity to search on a Sunday afternoon or evening. 
You can also add Monday evening into the mix is its a three day holiday weekend, when beaches are even more crowded if the weather is nice. 
Please don't get me started on going metal detecting two hours before low tide advice, it sounds like something I would invent to get people to stay home instead of metal detecting my local beaches lol. 
Holding off going metal detecting so you have more lower beach to search may have been option years ago but more people are searching for Bobby Dazzlers at the beach now.
Perhaps time your weekend searches to coincide with the magic four hour low tide mark, when you know other beach hunters are still waiting at home. 

ROI 

It really is about return on investment being a weekend warrior, maximizing your chances of recovering coins, jewelry or artifacts over the only two days you get to swing your metal detector search coil.
No matter if you search tourist type beaches or remote shipwreck beaches, it is better to find something worth your valuable weekend metal detecting time. 
During the work week come up with a plan to be successful, for example check beach surf projections to help you decide what beaches will have favorable search conditions.
Check out beach webcams to hopefully show you where people are using the beach or what  the lower beach looks like in real time.
Always think about the percentages, how many people do you think you are competing against for the available metal detecting finds at any given search site.
Perhaps you increase your chances of success choosing a site that fewer or no people search.
For example a beach always mentioned on blogs or detecting forums is going to be heavily hunted, so try searching somewhere else knowing exactly where the competition is heading at the weekend.
Preparation and foresight are often the keys to being a successful weekend warrior, oh and don't forget to charge your metal detector batteries!

For many more weekend warrior tips visit my website books page and invest in my "Hardcore beach hunting" or "Guide to searching heavily hunted beaches" books.  



                    

 Available at www.garydrayton.com 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Minelab metal detectors and beach hunting


If you are heading to a beach to treasure hunt it is important to have the right kind of metal detector, especially if you are going to search a saltwater beach.
Your metal detector must be able to handle the salt at a saltwater beach, otherwise expect a lot of chatter from your metal detector on the lower beach.
I always use Minelab metal detectors so I never have to worry about false signals, chatter or any other erratic behavior from my metal detector.
From the entry level Minelab metal detectors to the metal detectors designed for gold prospectors, all Minelab metal detectors are basically turn on and go with excellent performance on saltwater beaches.
The Minelab metal detector that is best for you should always be budget friendly and detect the things you intend to search for at the sites you intend to search.
Entry hobby level Minelabs like the Gofind 44 & Gofind 66 work just fine on the beach including on the wet sand, they perform better near saltwater than many metal detectors costing hundreds of dollars more.
These fold up fit in a back pack Minelabs are travel friendly and good for people who just want to have a little beach hunting fun on vacation.
The newly released Vanquish is a step up from the Gofind series, also with the performance of metal detectors costing much more, like any other Minelab it isn't effected by salt on the lower beach.
These entry level Minelabs are not waterproof, but the search coils are and you can submerge the lower shafts.
Next in line is the fully waterproof Minelab Equinox 800 and 600, the only real difference between the models being a gold mode.
The waterproof and lightweight Minelab equinox is probably the best selling metal detector on the market, with its multi IQ technology you get serious bang for your beach hunting buck with the Equinox.
There are several different size search coils available for the Minelab Equinox and you can use any type of headphones or the wireless module if you do not want to use headphones. 
If you want a deeper depth rated metal detector designed for scuba detecting, the legendary Minelab Excalibur is the perfect piece of treasure hunting equipment.
I have found everything from roman coins on English farmland and US civil war relics in the south, to modern jewelry at the beach using a Minelab Excalibur.
Headphones and search coils are hardwired on the Minelab Excalibur, but if you really wanted to you can have inline cable waterproof connectors added or the search coil changed.
The waterproof Equinox and CTX 3030 have replaced the need for me to use the Excalibur on inland sites in the rain, but to this day I still use an Excalibur for beach and deep water hunting.
If you are not going to be dive detecting the mack daddy of beach hunting metal detectors is the Minelab CTX 3030, the Minelab I use the most.
The Minelab CTX 3030 is not as budget friendly as the other metal detectors mentioned but its worth every penny if you can afford one.
There is a wide range of CTX 3030 search coils available for different beach or water hunting scenarios, you can also use any headphones.
If you like bells and whistles on your metal detector just in case you need them the CTX 3030 has plenty.
In my opinion the Minelab CTX 3030 is the full monty for beach hunters, highly customizable and hard to beat wether you like to dig all metals or use a little discrimination on trashy sites. 
There are also several Minelab metal detectors you can use at the beach that are designed for gold hunting.
The water proof SDC 2300, the Goldmonster,  GPX 5000, GPZ 7000 and discontinued Minelabs like the Xterra, Sovereign series, Explorer and Safari which can still do a fine job.
Whatever type of metal detecting you do, you'll find a Minelab metal detector is probably your best choice.
Ive tried many different brands of metal detectors at the beach, but in my opinion you can't beat a Minelab.



Heres one of my better water hunting finds from 2019, an 18 K gold Versace chain weighing a whopping 3 ounces and valued at a cool US $12.000.00   
This gold chain was part of a 5 ounce haul of gold jewelry recovered over two beach and shallow water hunts, the beach certainly had my money that weekend!
The Minelab Excalibur 1000 metal detector I used to find this chunk of gold is 16 years old and it just goes to show you can still git r done with the older Minelabs too.
The Minelab slogan is performance is everything, I agree!

     



                                     Available at www.garydrayton.com 






Sunday, December 22, 2019

Spanish treasure

Don't get me wrong I really like finding expensive jewelry at tourist beaches, but my favorite thing to do is pound the Treasure coast of Florida searching for Spanish treasure.
For anyone not familiar with the Treasure Coast, the area got its name because of the Spanish treasure fleet that wrecked along the coast in a hurricane over three hundred years ago in 1715.
Many of the wreck locations just off shore are well known, but there are also several other older Spanish galleons that wrecked along the coast covering the beaches in gold, silver and precious jewels.
The best time to search for Spanish treasure is any day and any hour you fancy heading to the beach with a metal detector, although the majority of would be Spanish treasure hunters wait for favorable conditions.
Recent strong winds and high surf have been hitting the Treasure Coast, potentially putting Spanish treasure on the beach or flushing treasure out of eroding dunes.
The majority of would be treasure hunters I have met recently told me the same thing, its  sanded-in and not worth searching yet, being the pirate I am I agree whole heartedly!
Mr positivity is not going to be put off by a lack of cuts (erosion) at Treasure Coast beaches, I don't need anyones beach ratings to tell me if its worth going metal detecting on the Treasure Coast.
In my opinion there is always something to find somewhere if you grab your metal detector and step outside the beach hunting box 
You are not going to find anything if you are not out there searching for it or as I like to say if you don't go you'll never know.
Sanded-in beach conditions mean you simply have to work smarter not harder and of course get out there to give yourself a chance to recover your find of a lifetime.
Here are a few cool saves from a recent Treasure Coast beach hunt, a large late 1600s early 1700s gold band, a heavy silver pestle, rat tail spoon handle and the base of a Chinese K'ang hsi cup.





I also recovered several musket balls, and a couple of musket flint holders, Spanish treasure hunting using the Minelab CTX 3030 and my eyes! 
I cannot stress how important it is to just rely on your gut feeling and get out there, waiting around for second hand beach reports and day or two old photos of beaches on blogs and detecting sites just means you missed an opportunity.
You will not get any day or two old beach reports from me, just photos of treasure finds and sound advice from someone who walks the walk. 
When the wind is a blowing and the surf is crashing, beaches get arranged and what you searching for is often put within reach if you know your local beaches. 
Site and beach reading skills pay off big time when you search where other people can't be bothered to search.
I will end todays blog with a question to my fellow Spanish treasure beach hunters, are you looking for cuts on the beach or Spanish treasure?

                           


 Available on my website at www.garydrayton.com



Saturday, December 7, 2019

The "Eyes" have it this weekend

Metal detectors are very much like cars, you can own a Ferrari or a Kia but they both do the same thing getting you from point A to point B.
"Influencers" will always tout the latest and greatest metal detectors as the reason why they found something good, but in reality you can find what you are searching for no matter what metal detector you use.
I look at a metal detector as a tool, a piece of equipment that is only as good as the sites I take it to and use it at.
I don't find what I am searching for because of the metal detector, I find what I am searching for because of site selection and site reading skills.
Don't get me wrong I always prefer to use metal detectors with a Minelab logo on them, but that is because I know they are the best at detecting small silver and gold at sites I use them at.
When I can detect and recover small pieces of silver and gold I know darn well I can detect and recover big pieces of silver and gold. 
Towards the end of 2019 I intend to post a few of those big gold and silver finds, the rewards of knowing how to select, read and plunder sites.
Im still very much all eyes when it comes to metal detecting, instead of walking around for hours on end hoping a new metal detector will change my fortunes. 
A new metal detector search coil has more chance of increasing your odds of recovering what you are searching for than a new metal detector most of the time, especially when you know why you are using a different size search coil.
Site selection and site reading skills are the keys to treasure hunting success no matter what you are search for or what metal detector you take to help you detect what you hope to recover.
As I type this blog I guarantee if I went to my local beaches I would see the same people searching the same place they search every weekend, but using different metal detectors lol 
No matter what the beach conditions, some people search the same place every time they go metal detecting because they or someone they know about found something there previously.
The new metal detector will not make a difference to a ground hog day treasure hunter, but a change of site or search area can and will make a difference.
My eyes tell me where and how to search an area, lessons learned from taking note of my surroundings and situational awareness. 
When I recover something good I am searching for I want to know why I recovered it, taking note of the area and area conditions, evaluating the condition of the object and assessing the potential for more of the same type of recoveries in the surrounding area.
This is important if you have to search the same general areas, you have to know why you found something in an area you have previously searched, why was the object detectable now but not before?
Nine times out of ten your success has more to do with site conditions or search technique, followed by your choice of search coil not metal detector.
I know exactly where I will be searching this weekend thanks to my twin optical scanners (Eyes) and an amazing invention, the camera! 
I simply checked out a few beach cams and saw things at one beach that tell me I have an above average chance of detecting what I am searching for.
The eyes have it if you know what you are searching for, I'll probably take my 15 year old Minelab Excalibur with me to help me detect what I know is likely waiting to be detected.
Choose a site for a reason, look for areas possibly holding what you hope to detect at that site and potentially go home with what you are searching for.
There is a lot of looking and learning from recoveries involved in metal detecting, rely on look instead of luck!




 available at www.garydrayton.com





Saturday, November 2, 2019

How to get your hands on more Bobby Dazzlers

One of the perks of beach hunting is the beautiful sight of freshly uncovered platinum, gold or silver in the sand. 
You also can't beat the look of diamonds reflecting in the sunlight or a gold chain draped over the edge of your scoop basket.
If you haven't experienced the thrill of holding a nice piece of recovered jewelry in your hand or you have and you want more, there are two things you need to work on to be a good jewelry hunter at the beach.
Site selection and small gold hunting skills help you become a proficient jewelry  hunter. 


Being able to read the beach and the conditions present allows you to make the very most of your metal detecting time at the beach.
If you believe you have to be the first person at the beach or the conditions have to be just right to find something, you are following the wrong blogger or metal detecting forum. 
If you believe you need the latest and greatest metal detector or biggest and baddest search coil in order to find Bobby Dazzlers at the beach you are also going to be disappointed. 
You need a decent metal detector that can detect a wide variety of small sized targets at the beach.
I go out of my way to make sure I can detect small pieces of micro jewelry, for example ear ring studs, tiny pendants, beads, very thin chains or belly button jewelry.
When you use a metal detector capable of detecting small gold the big Bobby Dazzlers are a piece of cake to find.
The next time you see a nice solitaire diamond engagement ring, check out how little platinum or gold is actually in the band attached too the prongs holding the big diamond.
Imagine that diamond ring lost at the beach and that is the circle of precious metal you are hoping to detect, do you think you are going to detect it?
Gold chains are another example of hard targets to detect at the beach no matter what type metal detector or search coil you use, it takes skill to consistently detect gold chains.
A metal detector often only sees the individual gold link or gold clasp on the gold chain, just like the diamond ring example if you can detect small targets you stand a chance of finding them. 
Work on reading the beach and finding small gold, instead of waiting around for better beach conditions or walking miles on the beach hoping you stumble across a big ring or chain.
Being able to read a beach isn't about waiting for high surf to cut and erode beaches, its about being able to know where you are more likely to find jewelry, coins or artifacts on the day you decide to go beach hunting.
The potentially best areas within the site are easy to spot if you know what to look for, if you don't I have a beach reading book on my website that will help you get way ahead of the learning curve.
From experience I can tell you that turning your metal detector into a money maker means never having to worry about getting metal detecting permission from the significant other!
Work on site selection and detecting tiny metal targets and I have no doubt you will get more Bobby Dazzlers in your hands. 

    

Available at www.garydrayton.com