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Sunday, March 10, 2019

The edge of detection range

I often talk about how the majority of my best beach and water hunting finds were recovered within the first six inches of sand, but I do detect and recover many cracking finds on the edge of detection range.
The edge of detection range varies with the type of metal detector and the size search coil being used, also the matrix the detected target has been detected in.
A slow methodical approach to beach hunting will help you to detect targets on the edge of your metal detector depth range, giving you a chance to actually hear an often "Iffy" target response at depth.
The slower you sweep your search coil the better a deep target on the edge of detection range will respond.
Keeping your search coil close to the sand will insure you have a chance of detecting "Deepies" in the first place. 
If you swing a 10 inch search coil four inches above the sand you will only detect targets six inches below the sand, every inch you swing your coil above the sand is one inch less you are able to detect metals below the deck.
Walking and sweeping slow and low along the beach is the only way to experience the thrill of pulling up valuable targets from the edge of detection range. 
If you search tourist beaches the big mamma jammer gold rings you are searching for are probably going to be recovered from deeper layers of sand. 
At shipwreck beaches old coins and artifacts are often way down in older layers of sand, shell or rocks.
These two old Spanish buckles from the 1700s were recovered two full moons apart using a pulse induction metal detector at a Treasure Coast beach, the signal responses from both artifacts were a break in my metal detector threshold. 
Check out the hand file marks on the one buckle and the pin still attached to the other, I love me some Spanish buckles!

A slight drop or break in a metal detector back ground noise can easily be a deep target, a slight tick of a signal from one direction can also be a deep target.
Whatever the deep target you are not going to hear it unless you are traveling across the beach slowly and sweeping your search coil low and slow.
Targets on the edge of detection range they are often difficult for a discriminating VLF metal detector to identify, the better the VLF metal detector the better the discrimination features.
Unfortunately most VLF metal detectors will classify a target on the edge of detection as junk, giving wonky FE/CO number readouts, bouncy target cursors or other incorrect VDI target IDs on popular VLF metal detectors. 
There are many things to learn about beach hunting, understanding how targets on the edge of detection range respond and what they could possibly be comes with experience.
The first step towards being able to detect high value "Deepies" is always getting to know your metal detector really well, using good search techniques and being able to identify easy to detect targets.
Once using your favorite metal detector and identifying targets within detection range becomes second nature, you'll be better prepared to understand the nuances of targets on the edge of detection range.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Average is good enough at the beach

I always have the word average on my mind when I step onto a beach with a metal detector, especially at heavily hunted beaches I know are hit hard and often.
Recently I searched a local tourist that had five guys searching it with metal detectors, two pairs and a single guy.
I regularly see people searching with hunting buddies, or fifty percenters as I like to call them as that is what you end up finding if you take someone with you metal detecting.
Pirate Gary prefers going home with 100% of whatever is it is Im searching for at the sites I choose.
Most people would be discouraged after paying for parking, walking down to the beach and seeing people already searching the beach, but I always play the percentages when searching for lost jewelry.
I figure the average person into metal detecting will go to the same place every time they hit a local beach, the average person losing jewelry will not have a clue where they lost it and the average piece of jewelry will be recovered 3-6 inches deep from the sand.
Like rain man Raymond in a Las Vegas casino my mind is going over all the averages and figuring out how to put myself in the best place to recover what Im searching for.
Any so called competition already searching the site helps decide where you are now going to search, surprisingly putting you in a place you perhaps wouldn't have chosen to search first but often putting you in position to find something good.
If that was the competitions first choice of search area it is often many other peoples first choice to search using metal detectors.
Once detecting I go for the easy stuff, jewelry I know from experience I don't have to dig half way to china to recover.
My average beach hunt is 2-4 hours so I cut out wasting time digging junk, concentrating on recovering targets that are two way repeatable signals.
The average chance of recovering one good find after digging 100 iffy signals is not very good, does it happen sure but I am at the beach to make the most of my average beach hunting time.
I have more chance of getting to something good digging two way repeatable targets.
The average size search coil I prefer to use on my metal detector insure I have an average chance of recovering a wide variety of sized targets at average depths.
See how this word "Average" keeps popping up? but I assure you there is nothing average about the finds you can recover playing the averages at the beach using a metal detector.
The law of averages is an often overlooked factor to a beach hunter, but in my opinion its a factor that works when dealing with the dynamics of beach hunting.
Tides, beach conditions, weather, people (depositors) and competition, all make the beach bank an interesting place to find something anywhere at any time.
Average days during average conditions in average areas are when you find above average finds when you think outside the beach hunting box.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Bogged down at the beach

I love getting bogged down detecting and retrieving the same type of target in one area, scooping things that drive you nuts to the point of knowing its probably the next thing your going to see in your scoop basket or spoil pile as you drop a spade full of dirt.
It takes will power to stay searching in an area that is littered with one particular target, for example corroding pennies, pull tabs, bottle caps or small iron. 
This year Ive posted a few finds from recent beach hunts, if you follow my posts you may have noticed I often post multiple Spanish silver treasure coins from shipwreck beaches or multiple gold rings from tourist beaches.
One reason for some of my gold jewelry hunting success this year is staying the course at nuisance target rich areas, getting bogged down digging unwanted junk until I found what I am searching for.
If an area is frustrating to search because of pull tabs, bottle caps or pennies, you can be sure nine out of ten regular regular beach hunters skimp over the same area.
Im the 1% that puts up with the pain of knowing the next target is probably going to be the same thing.
The reason I allow myself to be bogged down is because of the natural sifting, sorting and placement of objects in tidal areas. 
Objects of the same size, shape and density often end up in the same area at beaches, especially on the lower beach and inside the water. 
If what you are searching for at the beach has the same size, shape or density as a ring pull, crusty coin, lead fishing weight,  or squashed tin can then you have a chance of detecting what you'd really like to find in the same area. 
Ive seen things in the bottom of my scoop this year that I expected to be another ring pull, another corroding coin or another tin can, instead they were spectacular finds followed by the statement thank god I didn't walk away. 
When you know what goodies your sites are capable of producing, don't let nuisance targets fool you.
If you use and rely on a metal detector VDI screen, remember its just a potentiometer and it can be fooled just like you can before you look in your scoop basket.
I love getting bogged down digging at my favorite sites because sometimes its really nice being wrong no matter how experienced you are, another squashed beer can perhaps not?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Performance is everything

For a beach treasure hunter there is no better time to go metal detecting than after beach erosion has taken place, a prime beach hunting opportunity if you have the equipment to take advantage of the situation.
Leaving home with excellent beach hunting conditions ahead is when you grab your go to metal detector, when your choice of metal detector is put to the test.
Over the years I have been able turn metal detecting finds into metal detecting equipment, insuring I have the right metal detector to detect the different types of treasure I search for.
Searching for old coins and artifacts at shipwreck sites or modern jewelry at tourist beaches, I use a metal detector that gives me the best chance of detecting what I am searching for at the chosen site.
After recent high surf gave me an opportunity to search a cut (Eroded) Treasure Coast beach, I relied on my trusty Minelab CTX 3030 to sniff out three hundred year old silver treasure coins at a Spanish 1715 fleet wreck beach.
Five silver reales and three musket balls, some of these finds were detected following other people already searching the heavily hunted site.

This just goes to show that you don't have to be the first person searching the beach to be successful.
When the sand hits the fan I know I can rely on my Minelab CTX 3030,  just like I can using other Minelab metal detectors in my beach hunting arsenal.
Performance is everything when duking it out with the competition at heavily hunted beaches, never having to worry about saltwater or black sand effecting your metal detector is always a huge advantage.
You cannot detect what you cannot hear using a chattery metal detector and a prime beach hunting situation just isn't the place to find out you are using under performing equipment.
When the wind is howling and the waves are whipping I don't have to think twice about what metal detector is going beach hunting with me.
When searching eroded beaches and expecting a little competition, I leave nothing to chance by taking a metal detector I can rely on to perform the best.
Another one of my favorite metal detectors is the Minelab Excalibur, my go to choice for water hunting at tourist beaches searching for modern jewelry.
When beaches are eroded the sand along with coins and jewelry are washed into the water, after the waves subside you can get the goodies washed into the water opposite.
Performance is everything in the water too, these four pieces of gold jewelry along with several pieces of silver and junk jewelry were recovered using my trusty Excalibur.

Beach & water hunting happiness is knowing when the conditions are favorable for finding, you don't have to worry about your choice of metal detector being up to the challenge.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Shifting sands

While showing a friend a nice diamond ring recently I was reminded how coin and jewelry hunting at the beach is a game of inches. 
Several years ago I was searching a local tourist beach when a distraught young lady asked me if I could find a really nice diamond ring she had the misfortune to lose in the same area the previous day. 
The lady was laying in the wet sand when an incoming wave washed the ring off her finger, after quickly stepping on the ring to stop it from being dragged down into the water another wave washed over the area and the ring was lost. 
After taking the time of day and the previous tide times into consideration I performed a methodical search of the slope on the lower beach, but to my surprise I could not detect the $5000.00 diamond engagement ring. 
The lady thanked me for trying to recover the ring on the lower beach, an approximately one hour tight pattern search of the wet sand and the shallow water opposite the area.
I was told no worries as the ring was bought the previous day on a credit card and her fiancé had already filed an insurance claim before returning to Europe later that day.
I was given a detailed description of the ring and I was gutted they had to fly back to Europe without their engagement ring, but at least they were going to get their money back.
The only explanations I could think of for not being able to recover the ring was perhaps another beach hunter had detected the ring or really high surf from the previous high tide has washed the ring into deeper water.
Three weeks later after getting a sweet signal I pulled the diamond engagement ring out of the sand in the exact spot where I had first tried to detect the bobby dazzler.
I now believe the lady pushed the ring deeper into the wet sand when the ring was stepped  on to prevent the next wave from washing it away, more sand was probably pushed over the area with the rough surf from the following high tide.
Add foot traffic from the many tourists walking along the wet sand at this popular beach and it is easy to understand how quickly a lost ring can disappear.
You may have to wait several tide cycles like I did for lost jewelry to come into detection range.
I have had similar experiences at shipwreck beaches searching for Spanish treasure coins and artifacts, nothing one day but the next day in the very same area I recover treasure.
All it takes is one or two inches of sand to be washed away from an area for the beach bank to be open for business.
Get in the habit of using permanent objects at the beach as sand level markers, especially objects on the lower beach such as pilings or large rocks.
You can gauge how much sand is on the lower beach and how much has to be taken away to improve your chances of recovering coins, jewelry or artifacts lost in the area.
The first thing I look for when checking out a beach I haven't searched in a while is my sand level markers because they tell me how far away my search coil is from deeper and firmer layers of sand more likely to trap valuable targets in place.
Sand higher up on beach markers normally only contain lost items washed into the area, more sand than good materials.
If you are a beach hunter, when its your time to find something good it is almost always when you are sweeping your search coil over less sand. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Hitting the beach or the keyboard

Its that time of the year when beach hunters looks back at finds from the previous year and set goals or expectations for the new year.
Beach hunters who post finds on metal detecting forums and blogs usually show year end totals and first finds of the new year, Im not into metal detecting forums but I will browse this time of the year to see what people in areas I search have recovered.
This is a perfect lead into one of todays basic beach hunting principles, the less time you spend taking and downloading photos/videos and posting on metal detecting forums and social media sites the more chance you have of going to the beach and actually finding something good using your metal detector.
You may have noticed I posted fewer blogs last year, the reason was because I spent so much time using my metal detector instead of a keyboard.
I also cut back on making and posting youtube videos as it was too time consuming for me, I found myself spending a lot of time editing, posting and replying to comments.
I could have been at the beach finding gold in the time I spent going over the previous hunt, also it was really tough editing out shots of the background that gave away some of my favorite beach and water hunting sites.
Post finds on metal detecting forums, reply to comments and you will see how easy it is to miss the big beach hunting picture that you only find stuff when you are at the beach.
Every type of metal detector, search coil and target ID numbers question takes time to respond to if you like posting your metal detecting finds online.
The same applies to cranky old bloggers and forum members posting smack about me, I love it as every sentence wasted on me at the keyboard is time they could have spent metal detecting and finding stuff at the beach.
Talking about wasted time and beach hunting opportunities, don't get caught out waiting for second hand beach reports a round about way of waiting for good beach hunting conditions.
Good beach hunting window of opportunities are often only open one or two tide cycles, reading about them probably means you already missed the opportunity.
Surf projections and tide tables will almost inevitably cause you to miss valuable finds, in my opinion it is what it is when you get to the beach to search with your metal detector.
Wait for low tide or higher surf to erode beaches and someone like me who does not follow outdated beach hunting forum or blogger advice will have beaten you to what you hope to find.
In my opinion the best use of a keyboard for a beach or water hunter is to research new areas to search because the next best thing to metal detecting is finding new places to metal detect.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New years metal detecting resolutions

In probably my last blog of the year I have to say 2018 was a fantastic year for metal detecting, I rarely had a chance to blog because I was so busy metal detecting.
I was lucky enough to spend a large chunk of 2018 in some pretty amazing locations searching for lost treasures and you will see what I recovered over the next few months if you are a fan of History channel treasure hunting shows. 
Im heading into 2019 on fumes but it was an incredible year and a heck of a ride, I wouldn't change a thing. 
Every year you spend metal detecting you learn something new that can be put to good use down the road, unless you do the same things at the same places all the time.
This year I learned not to jump to conclusions by ignoring sites within a site because experience told me I should.
Eight or nine times out of ten I can read a site within minutes of walking onto and searching the site, so it is tempting to rely on previous experiences and just hit sexy looking search areas.
After this years experiences I will make a point of not letting my ego get in the way and start hitting the other ten to twenty percent of ugly sites within a site that experience tells me to ignore. 
Another new years resolution I know I can keep because of the success I've had this year is to dig more iron on trashy sites. 
Some of my best finds this year have come from iron infested areas I only got lucky at because I took out more iron than I normally would have.
In 2018 I was reminded of the value of using smaller size search coils in areas known to be productive, it is so tempting to believe there must be something deeper but more often that is not the case.
The value of using a small size search coil on a productive site is being able to winkle out another good shallow target, by either searching the area from a different direction or simply using less discrimination.
Harder to detect targets are not always deeper targets, they can be shallow targets.
It was not at all smooth sailing this year but I intend to learn from the miscalculations I made in 2018, hey even I get distracted ooh look its a monkey!
Another lesson learned this year is the value of using reliable metal detecting equipment, when the going got tough my metal detector and pin-pointer took a beating.
I took metal detecting equipment into locations that are really tough sites to search, lesson learned travel with reliable equipment you are familiar with.  
My advise for the new year is to learn from the soon to be old year, use and adapt what worked for you and avoid the things that did not work out so well for you. 
Look forward to a good treasure hunting year, a year you will surely learn something from. 
Experiment, experience, have fun and a happy lucky new year!