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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Storm beach hunting tips

Here are a few beach hunting tips for people who live in areas effected by hurricanes, tropical storms or other strong coastal storms.
My number one rule of searching on beaches after storms is safety first, especially in areas with downed power lines or flooding as no amount of treasure is worth getting injured for or worse !
You can often find good stuff many weeks or even months after major beach erosion has taken place.
Assuming you can get to a beach it is best to be prepared for anything by taking extra clothing, snacks, water and don’t forget the spare metal detector batteries.
If you have a back up metal detector with s different size search coil, take it just in case you need it.
After a storm had impacted a coastline you should expect the best and plan for an excellent beach hunting situation.
If the beach hunting conditions are excellent you want to take advantage of them for as long as you possibly can, believe me I wish I would have stayed longer on several memorable searches after major storms.
One thing I also do is stay put when I am finding what I am searching for or at least detecting targets associated with the targets I hope to find.
The grass often looks greener but I never take a chance by leaving a potentially good area, as sometimes all you have is one or two incoming tides worth of time to clean a good eroded stretch of beach out.
I also stay the heck off social media sites and metal detecting forums, you won’t catch me posting photos of beach erosion and alerting other pirates to a good site I have discovered and in the process of searching.
I remember several occasions when I did not find anything good on the first day of searching an eroded beach but the next day came away with several great finds.
Good stuff washed off the beach often washes back in on the next high tides when a beach generally begins to fill in.
My preferred method of searching a “Cut” eroded beach is to go for the easy to detect shallow non ferrous targets first then dig everything on a second sweep of the cut if I deem it necessary.
In other words use a little discrimination searching for high value targets then go for any high value targets masked by the removed junk on the second search.
Searching eroded beaches is all about making the most of the short window of opportunity Mother Nature presents to a beach hunter.
When the wind and waves subside check out the shallow water close to shore for good stuff washed into the water from the beach.
You may get lucky and discover holes or troughs inside the water caused by the surf pounding the coastline from different angles.
Remember safety first, bring extra gear and make the most of the beach and shallow water hunting opportunities.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Weekend beach hunting tips

Here are a few tips from my “Hardcore Beach Hunting” book to hopefully help you to find what you are searching for this holiday weekend.


Avoid racing to the beach early Saturday morning if you are trying to take advantage of weekend crowds at the beach.  
I know it’s tempting if you are a weekend warrior but patience is a virtue when you are dealing with tourist type beaches.
Head to the beach on Saturday afternoon or evening or better still wait until Sunday before you go metal detecting. Sunday evening would be the best time to search after two busy days of beach activity.

Traveling to detect

If you live within reach of several beaches but you only have a few hours to metal detect, hit the nearest crowded beach instead of traveling long distances to detect big name beaches. 
You cannot find jewelry and coins sitting behind a steering wheel unless they belong to you. 

Be ready for anything 

Spare batteries, a search coil, digging tool or metal detector will insure equipment failures do not ruin your chances of finding something good this weekend.
I think like Noah and take two of everything, just in case it goes pear shaped or I end up staying longer than expected.

Plan ahead 

I always plan to hit two beach hunting sites with two different intended parking spots.
If the site I had planned to search first does not look very promising I can quickly move on to the back up site.
I also keep an eye on local beach cams towards the end of the week to help me identify crowded sections of the beach. 
If I have to search on the Saturday at least I know where people may have lost jewelry before the weekend.

What competition?

If the site is already being searched take the area not being searched or follow the other searcher or searchers. 
You never know what the beach hunting gods have in store for you. 
I have recovered so much good stuff following other people using metal detectors or from areas I perhaps would not have chosen to. 

Don’t miss the forest for the trees

The weekend is a great time to see where people crowd or congregate on the beach and in the water close to shore.
 More than likely you can see where to search the next time you hit the same beach.
People watching is one of my favorite site reading skills, I see what groups are more likely to lose what and where. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The 10K gold cut off line

10 K gold is the reason why I barely use any discrimination on my metal detectors when beach or shallow water hunting.
You may be surprised to know the low metal detector discrimination setting that jewelry made of 10K gold is not detected at.
My books are full of 18K gold ring keepers dripping in diamonds I have recovered from the beach and Davy Jones locker, but it’s the 10K gold that moves the scrap gold scales and helps fund the pirate lifestyle. 
Often the largest gold rings and gold chains are made of 10K gold, so you better make sure you are not using too much metal detector discrimination.
In my opinion bottle caps are the main reason beach hunters walk over large 10K gold jewelry without detecting it, if you raise your discrimination level to reject bottle caps at trashy beach sites you will probably miss a lot of 10K gold jewelry.
Use a metal detector discrimination level that helps break up the audio response from a bottle cap but a setting that does not totally reject the bottle cap audio response.
A pesky nuisance target like a bottle cap will be easier to identify when detected and you will not have to worry about missing 10K jewelry.
A couple of years ago I recovered nine ounces of gold over a two day period at a local beach after beach erosion, many of the 10K gold pieces of jewelry were heavily encrusted in sand.
Encrusted 10K gold jewelry is easily missed if you raise your metal detector discrimination setting or rejected certain VDI screen numbers to avoid bottle caps.
When I test a VLF metal detector I always want to see where the different cut off lines for gold jewelry are, 10K gold is always the first gold to be rejected followed by 14K and 18K gold if you try rejecting aluminum pull tabs.
I actually like hearing trash targets at the beach because I can yell the difference between good and bad targets, but if you cannot hear the bad targets you are surely not going to hear good targets.
At trashy tourist type beaches use the minimum amount of discrimination you need to identify bottle caps, any more and you can kiss 10K gold jewelry goodbye no matter how large it may be.
When you find the sweet bottle cap discrimination spot you will find the big gold.
Telling the difference between a bottle cap and a gold chain helps you avoid having to dig bottle caps, telling the difference between a pull tab and a gold ring in five feet of water comes with experience.
In case your wondering, I hear the difference between the shape of the pull tab and the gold ring.
Lay off the discrimination even in trashy areas by using just enough to help you avoid missing 10K gold, often the gold jewelry with the higher amount of alloys in the mix when it’s made into something bigger.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ghost signals

I often hear people new to metal detecting refer to “Ghost signals” when experiencing false metal detector signals.
An unexplainable beep that suddenly disappears when they try to detect the source of the signal again.
Some so called ghost signals can be put down to the ground being searched. 
For example, searching over seaweed on the beach with pods full of salt water or transitioning from the wet to dry sand. 
These type of false signals are easily recognizable, but most false signal issues are metal detector related and they are easy to eliminate. 
There are a couple of easy ways to deal with distracting false metal detector signals, secure loose flapping cable and lower your metal detector sensitivity. 
In my opinion a loose search coil cable is the number one reason for false signals. Every time a flapping loose search coil cable hits your metal detector shaft it is going to create a false signal. 
An easy remedy is to wrap your search coil cable around and down the shaft then secure your cable to the shaft using electrical tape or Velcro ties.
Avoid using plastic zip ties as they may cut into your search coil cable over time if you have them tied too tight. 
The number two cause of false signals is running too high a metal detector sensitivity setting, especially for beach and water hunters.
The best sensitivity setting for your metal detector is the point of smooth operation just below the setting that produces chatter.
The recommended sensitivity settings for a variety of different ground conditions is usually in your metal detector manual.
Many recommended settings in your metal detector manual are safe settings but they make good starting out points, try raising the setting first until you experience a little chatter then incrementally lower the sensitivity until your metal detector runs smoothly with little to no chirping or false signals.
The old dimmed car headlights seeing better through the fog analogy works well for metal detectors too.
Between a secured search coil cable and a smooth operating metal detector sensitivity setting, so called ghost signals will not be a factor. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Where and what for ?

The question I am asked more than any other question is what metal detector should I use and my reply is always the same.
It depends where are you going to use it and what are you hoping to detect.
The where and what should always be the deciding factors when it comes to choosing a metal detector.
I predominantly search saltwater beaches so I use waterproof metal detectors that can handle salt at saltwater beaches.
It’s also about being in the comfort zone, being comfortable using the metal detector and knowing it can detect what I am searching for.
The two secrets to a happy union between user and metal detector are ease of use and ability to detect the targets you are searching for.
For example, I search for Spanish treasure and modern tourist bling so I need a metal detector that is capable of detecting small silver and gold targets. 
The climate I search in is often sweltering hot and humid with plenty of tropical downpours so I need to use a waterproof well balanced metal detector. 
Taking everything into account, choosing a metal detector comes down to figuring out where and what for. 
Metal detectors are very much like any other purchase ranging from affordable to pricey, you just have to decide what features you really need within your budget.
It’s not about what metal detector someone else is using searching for something you are unlikely to find, it’s about the right metal detector for you in the places you will likely use it.
Remember your metal detector is the tool you use to detect what your are searching for, always use the right tool for the job. 
As you get into metal detecting you will see what accessories you need to help make the job even easier, but your choice of metal detector will always be the main thing to consider.
Research metal detectors intended for use at the sites you are likely to search and narrow it down to what you plan to search for.
Remember where and what for !

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.