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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! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Parachuting diamond rings at tourist beaches

Anyone using a metal detector can find gold wedding bands, silver chains or coins at a tourist beaches but not everyone can find diamond rings, especially solitaire diamond rings.
Id even go as far as to say it takes skill to find diamond rings with a metal detector, even at the most crowded tourist beaches around the world. 
Solitaire diamond rings or rings with diamonds complimenting large rocks are often not that big of a target to detect using a metal detector.
Expensive platinum or gold rings are usually constructed in the style of a thin band with prongs holding the center piece diamond in place, because of this design diamond rings tend to "Parachute" when lost in sand.
The shape of large diamonds often result in the band of the ring settling vertically under the diamond or diamonds, a thing I first noticed when beach hunting at night using a head lamp. 
I often saw the flash of the diamond before detecting diamond rings and pulled several really nice diamond rings trapped vertically in the wet sand and my parachuting diamond ring theory was born.
My slow methodical beach hunting style always gives me a chance of detecting big ticket diamond rings instead of walking over them, this $10.000.00 platinum Tiffany ring with a 1.5 carat diamond is proof of that. 

Diamond rings are just like coins on edge, they are difficult targets to detect without using a slow and low search coil sweeping technique.
If you have been beach hunting for any length of time and you struggle to detect diamond rings and gold chains, you don't need a different metal detector you need a change of search technique.
In my opinion you have to go small in order to find big, covering smaller areas using a smaller search coil will change your fortunes when it comes to finding diamond rings.
You can't rely on luck when trying to winkle out small targets in the sand, you have to rely on the way you cover the ground and the way you sweep your search coil over the ground.
Metal detecting at the beach is popular now and every beach hunter wants to cover prime jewelry hunting areas before the competition at tourist beaches, leaving difficult to detect but expensive targets behind for savvy methodical jewelry hunters looking for platinum and gold parachutes.
Get yourself to the beach and see what others are missing!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Tools of the trade

The first time I thought about buying a metal detector was many moons ago after picking up coins while searching tidal river banks in England, but I changed my mind because I figured Im finding coins why bother right? 
I kind of looked at metal detectors and metal detecting in general as cheating and figured it took more skill to eye ball coins instead of using a machine to detect them.
Coins were easy to spot as I searched for old bottles and clay pipes along river banks, using my "Twin optical scanners" first to read the river banks looking for the right layer holding goodies and secondly to spot the things I was searching for.
Fast forward to today and I still rely on my eyes first search strategy to put me position to use a metal detector, my metal detector is just the tool I use to winkle out coins, jewelry or artifacts from an area I believe may be productive.
My long handled beach scoop and pin-pointer are target recovery tools I use now I can detect metal objects not visible on the surface. 
I still look at my metal detector, scoop and pin-pointer as tools of the trade and like any trade it is the craftsmanship and work ethic that makes the difference between doing a good job or a poor job.
The point of todays blog is to look at your metal detecting equipment as tools that help you to recover what you expect or hope your site reading skills have put you in position to detect.
If you buy a certain metal detector because you believe the reason you are not finding coins, jewelry or artifacts is you are using the wrong metal detector, you need to work on your site reading skills.
Don't get me wrong, the type of metal detector you use can make a big difference in any kind of metal detecting, but only when you know why it can make a significant difference. 
Site reading skills come with experience and they are the ultimate learning on the job experience for anyone swinging a metal detector.
Im lucky I found a 1790 gold coin digging for bottles in England, or Id possibly still be walking around with a rake and a plastic bag instead of a metal detector, scoop and finds pouch. 
Research your local area, learn what conditions have to be present to find stuff and use the tools of the trade to detect what you are hoping to recover, preferably in that order!
Its not how many hours you spend pounding the beach, its where you spend your time that makes a difference. 
In my opinion, site reading and observational skills are the building blocks of this great hobby.
If you need help reading the beach I have a book on my website called "How to read the beach & water" that will show you what to look for. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I love firm bottoms !

Now I have your attention, if you are a beach or water hunter it is important to understand the relationship between a firm bottom and success with your metal detector.
I’m always looking for a firm or hard bottom when I hit the beach because I know the harder the sand I am walking over is the more chance I have of finding something good.
When coins or jewelry are lost at the beach, they eventually sink deeper until they hit a deep layer they cannot penetrate.
Coins, jewelry and artifacts always find a base layer where they remain until some lucky beach or water hunter comes along with a metal detector to rescue them.
Many tourist beaches are heavily hunted now, but more people swinging metal detectors does not always decrease your chances of being successful if you can read a beach and know where the best potential sites are within a site.
Firm sand or packed shell under foot is a good sign, so too is coral or coquina exposed on the lower beach or inside the water.
Ripple troughs and other areas on the beach carved out by unusual onshore wave action are often firmer under foot than surrounding areas. 
Rocky areas on lower beaches or shallow water hunting sites are always the dogs danglies when it comes to detecting coins, jewelry or artifacts, they are impenetrable collection areas.
You need a certain set of target recovery skills to recover targets from these type of areas also a variety of target recovery tools.
If you carry a flat head screwdriver, needle nose pliers and a mask and snorkel, you probably already know what I mean about searching for hard bottoms.
Some of my best beach and water hunts occured because I found a firm or hard bottom stacked with targets that could not sink any further. 
If an area of the beach is tough digging it’s worth digging, if it’s almost impossible to detect and recover targets in it’s worth detecting and recovering target in! 
Do you go to the beach to cover as much ground as possible or find the best ground to cover? 
Searching for a firm or hard bottom will help you detect and recover the most targets. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Interested in metal detecting ?

If the title of today’s blog is exactly what you are interesting in doing I have a few words of advise for you before jumping into the proverbial deep end.
Metal detecting is a fantastic hobby but it is not as easy as it looks, it’s not about going out and buying an expensive metal detector and location location location.
It’s more about researching areas potentially hiding what you intend searching for, learning to use a metal detector correctly, site reading and site selection skills.
I always tell people to read the best metal detecting book in the world, unfortunately I didn’t write it as that book is the instructional manual that comes with the metal detector you choose to use.
Read it, read it again and read it until you know how to set your metal detector to suit the search site, when you fully understand the manual you will know how to make incremental control settings that make a difference.
Local research is easy, head to that building called the local library, they have books full of old photos  and you can look at the old photos and go follow up those leads with your metal detector and find lots of good stuff lol
Site reading and observational skills come in time, they lead to site selection skills and an increase in good metal detecting finds.
You can now hit the ground running although I always  recommend walking slowly as you metal detect.
Metal detecting has been very good to me, heck it’s my profession now but I guess it’s better than working for a living lol
Build on good foundations and I can tell you that you will find what you are searching for, it’s not about covering ground everyone else covers and swinging a detector for hours hoping to get lucky.
Remember research, metal detector knowledge and basic techniques lead to success at metal detecting. Success breeds familiarity with site conditions needed to have success locating stuff and before you know it the metal detector and digging equipment are tools
You are the key to success at metal detecting, the more you learn the less you have to rely on your metal detector.
I hope you are even more interested in metal detecting now, get yourself a metal detector read the all important book and find places to use your research to the max.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Minelabs for beach hunting

Here are a few opinions on which Minelab metal detector is best for beach and water hunting, I can’t believe Minelab users are now spoilt for choices.
In my opinion, your choice of metal detector should suit the areas you intend to search at the beach.
For scuba diving and searching deeper water the Minelab Excalibur is obviously the best option because of the 200 ft depth rating.
The Excalibur is also the best option if you are predominantly searching murky water with the control box submerged, where trying to look at a VDI screen for target IDs would be a right royal pain in the butt.
Shallow water and all other areas of the beach can be covered handily by the CTX 3030 or Equinox.
If you don’t intend getting your feet wet at the beach you can use any Minelab metal detector, although I always recommend using a waterproof metal detector at the beach.
The main difference between the CTX 3030 and the Equinox are the bells and whistles, search coil selection and of course price tag!
Coiltek make a variety of search coils to compliment the gaps in the Minelab search coil sizes on the CTX 3030, one of the reasons why I still lean heavily on my CTX 3030 as I do take advantage of the wide variety of search coil sizes available for the CTX 3030.
The Equinox is lighter and more travel friendly than the CTX 3030 which is a pro for people who travel on vacation to metal detect, Minelab is also releasing a couple of different size search coils for the Equinox soon. 
Your choice of Minelab metal detector for beach work comes down to your budget and where you are going to be using the metal detector at the beach.
I travel to metal detect, search deep sometimes murky water and I search all areas of the beach, so I use different metal detectors to suit the areas I search.
One thing I have noticed different metal detector companies doing is making lighter metal detectors that can be used on a wide variety of sites searching for different things, the CTX 3030 and Equinox are good examples of that.
So to answer the question I probably answer on a weekly basis, I do have a favorite Minelab, it’s the one best suited to detect what I am searching for at the sites I search.
For example, on an upcoming metal detecting trip to the Caribbean it is highly likely I will take my Equinox because it is easier to pack and travel with and I won’t need the extra bells and whistles on the  CTX 3030.
I metal detect for a living and I need a few different toys, for someone wanting the one Minelab metal detector for beach hunting I would recommend the CTX 3030 or Equinox depending on your budget.
If your budget does not stretch to either of those fine metal detectors, take a look at the GoFind series,  they are good bang for the buck and they work on saltwater beaches, unlike some metal detectors costing hundreds of dollars more.
Good luck my fellow and potential Minelabbers!