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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sensitivity and beach hunting

In my opinion, the wet sand is the real proving ground for metal detectors or search coils intended for beach hunting, you can add waterproof pin-pointers to that list too.
Salt levels change daily at beaches and black sand can show up after beach erosion or rough surf churns up the lower beach. 
Tweaking a VLF metal detector sensitivity or PI metal detector gain to suit the beach conditions is important, the reason I never turn my sensitivity control or gain  to a certain level and forget it.
I see that advice passed around on metal detecting forums, set your metal detector sensitivity to a certain position and off you go. 
That is ok as long as you are going to check and adjust the sensitivity level at some point to suit the ground you are covering. 
At saltwater beaches you need to adjust the sensitivity on your VLF metal detector to suit the salt levels present at the time you start metal detecting.
Not the same sensitivity level you used last time at the beach or the level you use all the time at the beach. 
The whole point of having a sensitivity control is to be able to adjust it so your metal detector is running smoothly and detecting a wide variety of targets at various depths.
Depending on the beach, you may be able to run hotter or it may be better to back off the sensitivity. 
My advice is to find a starting point, start searching and then tweak the sensitivity. 
Increase it to a level that causes a little chatter then back it down to where it runs smoothly.
If you are running noisy at the level you first chose, back off the sensitivity.
Find the slightly chattery level and then the best or most comfortable operating level. 
Too much chatter or too many false signals will cause you to miss good targets.
Lowering your threshold volume a little usually helps to smooth out and compliment a well adjusted sensitivity level. 
Don't be afraid to use Auto sensitivity if you have it and it allows you to run smoother. 
Sometimes it is better to detect all targets instead of missing targets because you are running too hot. 
Just because you are using a VLF metal detector it does not guarantee you have an advantage using discrimination, if you are losing depth or missing shallow targets because of sensitivity setting issues.
Get in the habit of adjusting your metal detector sensitivity control to suit the conditions you are about to search.
Remember just like driving a car, low dipped highlights in the fog are better than using full beams. Saltwater beach example, a lowered sensitivity level will help you to see through black sand and detect targets.
High car beams in open areas, allow you to see greater distance ahead. 
Beach example, a higher sensitivity level will help you to cut through the sand and detect deeper targets. 
Your metal detector sensitivity control should never be a set and forget control unless you run in Auto, as conditions always change. 
Set your sensitivity to suit the real time conditions at beaches as they change from day to day and sometimes from one tide to another tide. 
Are you setting and forgetting your sensitivity control, or are you maximizing your metal detectors sensitivity to detect small shallow targets and detect large targets at depth? 
In other words, are you leaving stuff behind for the next beach hunter because you do not take advantage of one of your metal detectors best assets. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Beach hunting "L" plates

I remember back in England having to have a big red L for learner sticker on my car when I was first learning to drive.
When you first start beach and shallow water hunting you don't need an L plate as experienced beach hunters can easily spot a beginner from a distance.
I often see people new to beach hunting, but I don't look down my nose at them or mistakenly believe they are not competition.
They often have more chance of detecting something good than a seasoned beach or water hunter. 
The reason why is because they have not restricted themselves yet, got set in their beach hunting ways.
A seasoned beach or water hunter is more likely to head to one spot and search it the same way they always do. 
A beginner will search different areas, try different things and often dig unexpected items. 
Some of those recoveries are going to be good targets in unexpected beach or water hunting scenarios. 
In my opinion, the guy in the white sneakers and socks using a land detector up in the dry sand, has just as much chance of finding something good as the guy searching in the water dressed like a navy seal. 
Who the heck says you have to search a certain area or a certain way to detect good stuff at the beach, lost is lost at the beach and what you are searching for is often never where you think it is. 
If jewelry and coins are always found where you expect them to be, they would probably be referred to as waiting stuff not lost stuff.  
Sounds strange, but plenty of beach and water hunters return to the exact same places expecting to recover something else long after they recovered an initial find.
The reason I can return to certain beaches and see the same guys in the same areas doing the exact same thing I saw them doing the last time I searched those beaches. 
There is such a thing as being a local beach hunter, but same site same way same day same time hunting is just plain crazy.
Although, it is good knowing where other beach and water hunters will be while I am searching a different place filling my finds pouch. 
Hands up how many people reading this blog watch other people searching a completely different area and think they are wasting valuable detecting time doing that.
I'm the opposite, when I see a newbie searching a much different area to where I am searching I always wonder what they found.
I will often replicate what I saw a newbie doing at the beach, because they are often doing something 99% of other beach or water hunters would not "Waste" their time doing.
Although I have a lot of experience beach and water hunting I will never take my beach and water hunting L plates off.
Here are a few things people new to beach metal detecting often don't do which helps them to have beginners luck.
They do not read tide charts, have a favorite site, need to use the most expensive metal detector or the same metal detector everyone else is using, they are not hung up about competition, they are content with what they find and they are often having more fun than you! 
Beginners luck is often the best kind of luck, the very reason beginners have so much of it.
Throw caution and beach hunting misconceptions to the wind, have you ever though how would a beginner search the same beach and find something good? 
Beginners find good stuff experienced beach hunters ignore, so avoid taking your beach hunting L plates off.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Local beach hunters

Local beach hunters are hard to beat, especially at heavily hunted beaches.
If you have to travel to detect a beach, you can be sure someone has searched that beach for years with a metal detector and knows the beach like the back of their hand.
Local beach hunters have a heck of an advantage over people who either travel to detect the same beaches or people who have just got into beach hunting.
I rely on local beach knowledge a lot, knowing what areas look good and what areas I have recovered good stuff at in the past.
There are beaches I travel to that I know better than locals who have only been searching them a year or two.
The conditions present and what a beach looked like at when I recovered a good find are very important memories to me. 
Over the years I have seen my local beaches change dramatically, after hurricanes have ripped them apart and after the city has dumped tons of sand back on them to make them higher and wider. 
Every so often a window of opportunity opens up at a local beach and I get to put my knowledge of local beaches to good use.
It may take months or several years before I see something I know is a good sign, that is the point of today's blog knowing where and why a local beach is open for business. 
A week ago I found good stuff at a beach that I have not recovered anything good at in a long time. 
Two years to be exact, but I never stopped checking the area out and took advantage of an opening.
A good friend of mine once described shipwreck salvage guys as sand movers, they are just moving sand. 
Unfortunately beach hunters have to wait for sand to move, but it does move eventually.
Behind many of my best finds there is a reason why they ended up in my finds pouch, it almost always has to do with knowledge of a local beach and previous experiences in the area.
Local beach knowledge is not just about knowing where you are likely to find stuff, it involves knowing what conditions change the beach.
Long term studying of surf and wind directions at your local beaches will help you to figure out when sand will move.
Just a few hours of constant surf from the right direction may change a beach for the better.
Much higher surf hitting the beach from a different direction may actually sand in the beach more.
You have to learn what type of surf improves conditions on your local beaches. 
I often use beaches similar to ones I search to gauge beach or water hunting conditions, checking beach cams.
If I see one beach is losing sand, I know other similar angled beaches are losing sand.
Using beach cams saves me from having to waste time traveling to check beaches out.
The better you know your local beaches the easier they are to search. 
Local beach hunters stay on top of the best sites at the beach. 
A few years ago, I made a three hour round trip drive to a beach after seeing a cut on a beach webcam.
Twelve pieces of gold jewelry in a five hour beach hunt and three more pieces of gold the next morning, putting knowledge of that beach and previous hunts there to good use.
Oh and finding a gold pendant with my name on was pretty cool too. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Surprisingly easy places to find gold at the beach

With the weekend fast approaching here are a few surprisingly easy places to find gold at the beach.

Lifeguard tower steps 

Early morning beach hunters should always check around lifeguard tower steps, sometimes you don't need a metal detector to find good stuff.
After hours skinny dippers often take their jewelry and clothes off before hitting the water.
I have found watches, sunglasses, cell phones, wallets and gold chains just waiting to be picked up off lifeguard tower steps.
The area in front of the steps on the beach and in the water is also a great place to find gold.
Remember these type of areas are off limits during the daytime, so you are often the first person searching these type areas.

Beachside showers

Another great after hours area to search is around the beach showers, I have found everything from gold chains and bracelets to diamond ear rings around shower stands and hose pipes.
People do all the things that shake jewelry loose when showering off before leaving the beach.
I sometimes use a waterproof pin-pointer around the outskirts or edges of the shower area. 
Also check out drain covers many of the grids or screens just lift up, yeh I know I need serious help lol 

Gay areas

I can assure you gay gold is just as heavy, shiny and beautiful as straight gold. 
You can use other beach hunters intolerant views to your advantage if your local beach has an area popular with gays.
Gay marriage now means more wedding bands lost at the beach, and if you want to see fine jewelry a gay beach is the perfect place to see some serious bling.
If you see a pair of Union Jack speedos, that's me scooping up gold at places other beach and water hunters use as turn around points. 

Beach aerobics areas

Many swanky beach side hotels hold aerobics or fitness classes on the beach.
If you see a guy with Union Jack speedos and a CTX 3030 in their hand, yup that's me again looking for expensive jewelry shaken off to the oldies.

Concession stands 

You would think and rightfully so that you would find a lot of coins around concession stands on the beach, but you can also find gold.
Hands go in pockets to pay for stuff and gold taken off at the beach and put in pockets for safe keeping is pulled out and lost.
I have found a lot of gold chains and wedding rings around concession stands on the beach.

Sand castles and deep holes 

Hands up how many beach hunters have been asked to find a gold ring lost by someone playing with their kids at the beach.
Put your down now please, and never pass a large sand castle or dug hole you come across at beach without detecting around it. 
I should add not to search it while the people are still using it and at least attempt to fill any dangerous hole people may break an ankle stepping in.
I've had my share of nice diamond engagement rings around sand castles and dug holes, kiddy bling too at some beaches. 

If you don't be creative and search areas other people ignore at the beach, you leave easy beach hunting gold behind for others.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The 10K gold drop out point

If you notch out unwanted junk targets you better be careful you don't unknowingly notch out gold. 
10K gold is always the first gold to go when you turn up your metal detector discrimination to a certain level. 
This is why I always test any new metal detector or search coil combo with a variety of 10 K gold jewelry.
I prefer using a little metal detector discrimination at the beach, but not close to the level that 10 K gold drops out.
My fellow beach treasure hunters would probably assume I go after 18k gold at ritzy tourist resort areas, but they would be wrong.
I search a wide variety of beaches, resulting in a wide variety of jewelry that is either scrapped, returned or head to my Khaleesi mother of dragons jewelry box.
10K and 14K gold moves the scrap gold scales much faster, as big gold rings and chains needs to be made stronger by the addition of more alloys in the gold mix.
I have found several large 10 K gold rings weighting an ounce, and at least two 1.5 ounce beasties.
It does not matter how big a gold ring is if you've notched it out because your tired of scooping pennies, bottle caps or god forbid aluminum ring pulls lol 
Because I test my metal detectors and search coils with a variety of test targets at the beach, I know where 10K drops out.
I suggest you do the same with your metal detecting equipment of choice, sometimes it can be a real eye opener what one incremental turn of a control knob or press of a discrimination button can do to a beach hunt.
Are you leaving big gold rings behind for other beach or water hunters ? 
A couple of weeks ago I followed and detected behind two guys swinging extra large search coils on a Florida beach, I recovered a 0.6 ounce 10K gold wedding band in their tracks.
They were not sloppy beach hunters wildly swinging, quite the opposite so my guess is they were using just a tad too much discrimination. 
Better check yourself before you wreck yourself with notching and discriminating out junk targets st the beach, just in case you leave stuff like this behind.

Find your metal detector 10K drop out point if you are a discriminating beach hunter and get under it to avoid missing 10K gold.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Site and target specific

The title of today's blog is my usual reply to people who ask me what is the best metal detector to buy for beach hunting.
The best metal detector to use is the one that suits the sites you search and best detects what you are searching for, period! 
Once you get used to these two cold hard facts about beach metal detecting, you can choose the appropriate beach treasure hunting tools and find some return on your investment. 
I have used the same type of equipment for a very long, which I know like the back of my hand.
There are a few more metal detectors designed for beach and water hunting, but I have yet to test and find anything better than the metal detectors I use.
Trust and comfort are two words you also don't hear a lot about when it comes to your beach hunting equipment.
Trusting if what you are searching for is in the area your metal detector will detect it and you just feel comfortable using your metal detector of choice.
When perfect beach hunting opportunities come along or I am are going on a metal detecting trip, I always know treasure hunting equipment is coming with me.
Owning and using site and target specific equipment means you are always ready to be successful at the beach.
At heavily hunted beaches, people using site and target specific equipment usually have a heck of an advantage.
Shiny new metal detectors and pizza box size search coils don't always translate into more jewelry and coins.
I often use different equipment to search different sites, especially when searching for specific targets.
Using site and target specific tools, also refers to beach hunting accessories. 
For example, I use a waterproof pin-pointer and carry a long flat head screw driver for winkling out jewelry or coins on coral ledges.
These lead musket and bucky balls came off a beach with a little 1830s Seminole indian war history.
I was using an old discontinued metal detector and 5 inch search coil, the best equipment for the site.

In closing, make sure you are using beach or water hunting equipment for the reasons in this blog title, not because everyone else is using something so it must be good.
Beach hunting equipment is only good if you are using it because of the sites you search and the targets you hope to detect. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Finding a needle in a haystack

Recently I found a thin sewing needle while detecting with the Minelab CTX 3030 and 11 inch search coil, pretty damn impressive if I do say so myself.
A few years ago I found a sewing needle on a Treasure Coast beach, which is probably more difficult than finding a needle in a proverbial haystack. 
The two finds spoke volumes for the metal detector I was using and the way I had it set up.
Of course sweep speed and search technique played into it, but setting up and knowing what your metal detector is telling you is the key to detecting little stuff at the beach.
Everyone likes and wants the big stuff, but if your not detecting small stuff you probably have not got your metal detector set up correctly. 
I'm a firm believer that detecting small thin targets at the beach is important.
Anyone can detect a coin or a chunky gold wedding band, not everyone can find a thin platinum or gold engagement ring.
I find a good mix of jewelry every year, gold chains, rings and bracelets of all shapes and sizes.
This uncut emerald wrapped in a thin gold wire bale was scooped out of rough water several years ago, talk about firing on all water hunting cylinders.

If you detect diamond stud ear rings, tiny ear ring backs and small segments of fishing trace wire on a regular basis, welcome to the micro target beach and water hunting club.
One of the main reasons I use a mask and snorkel when water hunting is to help me recover tiny targets that fall through the 1/4 inch slots in my scoop basket. 
I carry a waterproof pin-pointer when beach hunting to help me recover detected tiny targets faster. 
Detecting small stuff at the beach has it advantages, small thin bands often hold the best diamonds !

Here are a few ways I detect and continue to detect small stuff at the beach.

1. Using the best equipment for the beaches I search.
2. Moving and sweeping my search coil slow low and level.
3. Using the bare minimum amount of Ferrous (Iron) rejection.
4. Searching small areas of the beach methodically and thoroughly. 
5. Relying on my ears, instead of a metal detector screen readout.
6. Never assuming good stuff can only be found at certain areas.
7. Relying on beach and people reading skills.
8. Testing and adding equipment that makes a difference at the sites I search.
9. Thinking like a beginner, free of any beach hunting restrictions.
10. Not giving away the locations I recover good stuff at.