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Friday, December 2, 2016

Discrimination by use of a metal detector target depth indicator

I had a chance to do a little metal detecting on a recent overseas business trip and I relied heavily on my metal detector target depth read out while searching for old coins and artifacts.
It is amazing how many pesky bottle caps and pull tabs you find in off the beaten track sites. 
Often out of the way places you would least expect to recover the same modern junk I find on Florida beaches.
If the situation calls for it, I will discriminate by target depth when searching for modern gold jewelry at tourist type beaches, especially during heavily sanded-in beach and water hunting conditions.
Discriminating by target depth is probably a technique more known to people who search for old coins in trashy inland parks than to beach hunters. 
The basic premise is that you can avoid digging shallow junk targets by only stopping to dig targets with deep target depth readings. 
Old coins are not usually going to be shallow targets in a park, a trained ear can easily help pick out the tone of a silver coin in areas with large numbers of shallower modern coins.
At a sanded in tourist type beach, gold is found at deeper depths than common beach found clad coins. 
Gold being denser or heavier, sinks into fluffy loose sand much faster and deeper than clad coins. 
This helps explain why many beach hunters return home with lightweight junk targets during sanded in conditions, instead of gold.
I'm not much into returning home with chump change, which is why I often like to use a metal detector with a screen and target depth indicator at tourist beaches. 
I prefer to leave the junk and get the gold before the competition. 
Yes I know it's beach hunting heresy, but in my opinion you do not have to dig it all to have a successful beach hunt.
When you know gold is highly likely to be detected deeper than clad coins and pull tabs, don't dig any target registering near the surface, unless of course it sounds like gold. 
The time you waste digging obvious non gold targets eventually starts to eat into your precious beach hunting time.  
The more obvious surface junk you waste time digging, the further you will find yourself away from recovering gold as you run out of metal detecting time.
Back to my recent couple of short hunts during my recent trip, I used six inches as the likely modern finds cut off target depth. 
Every older coin or artifact I recovered had a target depth reading of nine to twelve inches, well beyond the modern finds cut off depth.
The next time you know you are digging shallow junk during sanded in tourist beach conditions, use that experience of yours to resist the temptation to stop and dig surface junk. 
Check out your target depth display and move a step closer to recovering gold. 
This is just an " Outside the box" technique that helps you adapt to a specific situation. 



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Versatility

In these days of increased beach and water hunting competition, using versatile metal detecting equipment can be a big advantage. 
Surprisingly, you do not often hear or see the word versatility used in connection to beach or water hunting.
During a metal detecting lesson last weekend, I told my client not to worry about two beach hunters who showed up to search the same place we were searching. 
I believe I said, don't worry they are not competition because of the metal detectors they are using.
For good reason, as their single frequency VLF metal detectors would have ruled water hunting and searching the wet sand close to the water. 
It would have been really difficult to detect targets even after dumbing down the type of single frequency metal detector they had in the sand. 
I prefer to use multi frequency VLF metal detectors that can handle a variety of conditions and allow me to change search coils to a variety of different beach or water hunting situations. 
When you cannot search an area of the beach because of your metal detector or your search coil is not suited to search the area, you can be sure someone else can! 
Using versatile equipment also applies to beach hunting recovery tools, you could be using a scoop that is holding you back by increasing the amount of time you spend recovering targets.
It may also be wearing you down if the scoop is not very ergonomic. 
Choose a versatile scoop you can use on the beach or in the water, to compliment a versatile metal detector. 
The longer you spend beach or water hunting, the more you realize versatile metal detecting equipment will work for you, not against you. 
This is another example of a certain amount of beach hunting competition maybe not being real competition to you.
Just because you see a lot of people metal detecting at the beach, it does not mean you cannot find anything. 




Monday, November 21, 2016

Planning for a successful jewelry hunt

So much of beach jewelry hunting is about planning and having the right search strategy, knowing before you go to you give yourself the best shot at recovering jewelry.
Although I only had a four hour jewelry hunt this weekend, I made sure the jewelry hunting scales were tipped in my favor by planning ahead of the trip to the beach.
The three following things were the main reasons I went over the 20 ounce gold jewelry mark for 2016, working on a hunch using the right search techniques and equipment for the task.

1. Recon 

The beach I chose to search, was spotted the previous week and looked promising. 
I actually spent the last fifteen minutes of a previous jewelry hunt testing the area.
The high amount of quarters and nickels in the area told me the place had not been searched for a while, so I eagerly awaited returning to the site.
I had a back up site ready, but it was not needed as this site was still ready for cherry picking.
Recon and trying a site on a hunch often works if you can break the habit of going to the same jewelry hunting sites every week. 

2. Search strategy 

If the site was still loaded with clad coins, I planned to cherry pick the low and really high tones with one of my favorite VLF metal detectors. 
By having a selective target recovery plan, I could cover the area trying to pick out the obvious gold or silver targets.
Instead of wasting time digging clad coins and junk targets, I intended to use my experience to go for gold.
Sure, I could miss a good target being masked by a larger target, but hey I found four gold and seven pieces of silver jewelry. 
I prefer to go for what I can detect in my allotted metal detecting time, and not worry about what I may be leaving behind. 
I only had four hours to hunt this weekend so I maximized my jewelry hunting time to try bring home my share of jewelry, which turned out to be three gold rings, one platinum and 18K band, three silver rings and two silver bracelets. 

3. Horses for courses 

Using a metal detector with good audio responses to the stuff you are searching for makes perfect jewelry hunting sense.
The majority of gold jewelry responds with a low tone on my Minelab CTX 3030, silver has a high tone, the same tones I am used to on my Minelab Excalibur and Sovereign.  
After years of using my favorite metal detectors I can hear the differences between common beach found clad coins and gold or silver rings, heck I can even tell the difference between an aluminum pull tab and a gold ring.
In horse racing lingo, I choose the horse for the course by using the equipment that is going to detect the stuff I am searching for.
Here is a link to a video, explaining the way I set up one of the metal detectors I use for "Cherry picking" gold and silver jewelry at the beach. 


Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekend warrior jewelry hunting tips

I continue to find gold at heavily hunted Florida tourist beaches, even though my beach hunting time has been limited to only searching over weekends this year. 
The next piece of gold I recover will push me past the 20 ounces of gold jewelry mark for 2016.
So here are three weekend warrior tips I will share that hopefully will put more jewelry in your finds pouch.

1. Weekend warrior tip number one is to play the beach or water hunting percentages. Search where the gold and silver is, not where every other beach or water hunter is. 
If you automatically run to the where everyone else searches on a Saturday morning, divide the number of searchers by the amount of jewelry you think was probably lost in that area over the previous week. 
That will probably be your share of any loot in the area, so do you still think it's a good idea to join the detecting crowd ? 

2.  Go for the easy stuff, don't worry about what you may be missing. 
The wiser you use your allotted beach or water hunting time, the better. 
Avoid digging everything just in case you miss one piece of jewelry.  
Many beach and water hunters blame a lack of finds on beach conditions or their choice of metal detector, but often they are just not getting to the jewelry before others. 
Time wasted sloppily trying to cover too much of the beach, or digging junk targets are often the main reasons for a lack of recovered jewelry. 

3. Know your depositors, where they use and lose at the beach. 
I pride myself on my people reading skills, knowing where I am likely to recover lost jewelry at the beach. 
If you doing the same thing at the same site all the time you are selling yourself short, unless you know why your doing it.
Try going to the beach and sitting down watching people before you turn your metal detector on. 
You will be amazed how much jewelry hunting information you can gather just by watching people using the beaches you like to search.
Check out where parents are playing with young kids, where the old folks are chatting or where the centers of main activity are.
After watching people at the beach, it sure makes you wonder why so many beach and water hunters are set in their ways. 
When you step out the beach and water hunting box, you can even have success at the most heavily hunted beaches. 
This was a water hunting sight from last weekend, good luck my fellow weekend warriors ! 





Monday, November 14, 2016

Full moon beach and water hunting

One of the best times for beach or water hunting is during low tide on a full moon. 
You will have more lower beach to search and you will be able to search areas in the water that are normally out of reach. 
I look for two things during the full moon, rocky areas exposed on the lower beach and deep areas further out in the water containing a high amount of coins. 
Rocky areas can be difficult to search and recover targets from when they are inside the water, a full moon low tide often exposes rocky areas making them more workable.
I've talked about collection areas, deep pockets of water where coins and jewelry are washed into, when you can get to these type of areas during a full moon low tide you can clean up.
This weekend I was able to get to an offshore area thanks to the super moon low tide and I recovered gold and silver jewelry.
Here is a video of one of those finds, a large silver chain and cross 
https://youtu.be/TQpl8cLkmTc
There were many rocks, shells and clumps of coral in the deep offshore pocket of water, which is always a good sign for a jewelry hunter.
It is not just full moon low tides that are helpful, the high tides can also help fill your finds pouch.
Higher than normal high tides push jewelry and coins way up onto the beach, on narrow beaches that can lead to beach erosion.
In my beach and water hunting books I always stress the importance of not tying yourself to searching one area of the beach. 
For example, just searching along the wet sand, or on the dry sand or only water hunting.
Full moon tides open up a variety of opportunities to beach and water hunters, so it helps if you do not short change yourself by thinking jewelry or coins can only be found in one area at the beach.
On this occasion an offshore pocket of normally inaccessible deeper water yielded gold but it could just have easily been a different full moon opportunity. 
The beach is constantly changing, during the full moon phase the beach bank is open for longer business hours! 




Friday, November 11, 2016

Using your beach hunting time wisely

During a beach jewelry hunting lesson yesterday, I was able gave a client a few observations about reading the competition as three Excalibur users were already busy searching the beach I had chosen for the lesson. 
The Excalibur users in action helped me explain a few important things about jewelry hunting at tourist beaches.
One person had their search coil a good five to six inches above the sand, another quickly walked down the beach like they were taking part in a Benny Hill video. 
The third person was digging holes in the sand wide and deep enough to say hello to Skippy the bush kangaroo.
In other words, loss of target depth, poor ground coverage and using the wrong search mode or poor target recovery skills. 
In this video I show some of the basic Minelab Excalibur settings I prefer to use when searching for jewelry at the beach. 
https://youtu.be/dNZul_8v3uQ
I always use the Excaliburs best discrimination features to help me detect both shallow and deeply buried targets.
The discrimination search mode is often the best search mode to use at a tourist type beach, helping you to spend more time digging good non ferrous (iron) targets.
In my opinion, time is money in beach jewelry hunting, especially if you are a weekend warrior or your beach hunting time is limited.
I pointed out to my client that searching with the coil on the sand or as close to the sand as possible, will help maximize target depth. 
Stepping forward only after slowly sweeping the coil twice will help a beach jewelry hunter to thoroughly cover an area.
Lastly, using the Excalibur disc mode will help prevent a beach jewelry hunter from wasting valuable detecting time struggling to recover every scrap of metal junk at the beach. 
Although the Excalibur pinpoint search mode may be a tad deeper than the disc mode, don't forget ferrous junk can also be detected a little deeper too.
For example, if you can detect good targets using an Excalibur 10 inch search coil up to 10 inches, why would you dig every piece of junk in all metal mode just in case a good target is in that extra inch or maybe two gained by running in pinpoint mode.
Gold is not always just out of discrimination range, I believe more gold is missed through bad search techniques and not being able to get to it before the jewelry hunting competition because of time spent digging ferrous junk.  



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Collection areas at the beach

My last jewelry hunt was a productive one, finding a total of eight rings, five earrings and two pendants.
Only three gold rings, but thats an above average gold to silver or junk ring ratio.
Expect to find at least five or six silver or junk rings for every gold ring you find at a tourist beach.
The reason I chose the site, was because I had seen this eroded stretch of beach while filming previous videos in the area.
My guess is high surf probably prevented people from searching inside the water opposite the cut. 
In a previous video I said how the water opposite the cut could be the place to search when the surf settled down.
From experience, I can tell you that if a cut beach is void of targets, inside the water is usually  the place to search.
In my three hour shallow water hunt I could not take a sweep of my search coil without detecting a target. 
This is one of my favorite shallow water hunting situations, a collection area where coins and jewelry have been washed into.
This type of collection area is often more productive to a jewelry hunter than a coin line at the beach, as an eroded stretch of beach will often have an area with a ton of targets.
Jewelry hunting is often about learning how to find the site within the site, and knowing how to take advantage of that site by hammering it hard!
A few weeks ago I detected a similar collection area with stacks of lead fishing weights and came away with several gold rings, including an old gold and silver coin ring.
This video shows some of the finds that came out of the recently discovered collection area.
https://youtu.be/OPsQAsTgVLQ
Target rich areas are not always at the busiest beaches, you may run across an old beach entrance or site that used to be busy back in the day but is not now.
I like to learn and know the history of the beaches I search,  for example where beachside parking lots or hotels used to be, joining the detecting crowd fighting for sloppy seconds at heavily hunted sites is not my cup of tea.
When you find a productive collection area, search it for as long as you possibly can because you usually have a short jewelry hunting window.
The next day I checked the area out, increased overnight surf had covered the area with a thick carpet of sand. 
In my opinion, jewelry hunters should go home with aching arms from digging targets, not tired legs from trying to cover heavily hunted areas before the competition. 
Digging not walking, it should be obvious what action puts more gold in your finds pouch.