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Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekend beach hunting tips

My favorite weekend jewelry hunting tip is grab your metal detector and try your luck, in other words don't get too cute waiting for low tide or the beach conditions to improve. 
Experienced beach hunters and especially water hunters often outsmart themselves by over thinking the situation.
For example, experienced beach and water hunters waiting until two hours before low tide to go searching.
Detecting forums and beach hunting blogs are full of "It was two hours before low tide and I hit the beach" stories, I know because I like to see who I beat to the tourist gold and treasure coins. 
I do a lot of early morning and late night beach hunting, mainly because I have a business and a family who I like to spend time with.
As you would expect, the tides and conditions are what they are when I get to the beach and I deal with them. 
You could say I have an advantage over the competition because I get to search so many different areas on the beach and deal with so many different conditions.
In my beach hunting books I am fond of saying jewelry, coins and artifacts are not lost in the same area of the beach all the time.
Being in the right place at the right time in beach metal detecting is often about being in place to detect the find, sandy coils detect and dusty coils do not. 
If this weekend you are not sure when you are going to hit the beach, I guarantee there are people who know exactly when they are heading out the door because they worship the low tide.
This weekend hit the beach and adapt to the tide and conditions when you get there, I believe you will be in the right place more of the time when you do not put needless restrictions on yourself.  
Leave the "It was not the best tide" or "It was not the best conditions" lamenting to others, go out there and get some!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Down to the wire

It may surprise you to know that when I hit the beach with a metal detector I do not go searching for big finds, I make detecting and recovering small targets my number one priority.
There are some nice things that come in small packages metal detecting at the beach, like this emerald wrapped in a 22K gold wire. 
I am pretty sure this is a piece of Spanish treasure because of the area it was recovered, close to a known Spanish shipwreck. 

The signal from this piece of jewelry was the slightest of crab farts, but I heard it because I was searching with small targets in mind.
Sweeping slow and low is how you detect small wire type targets often missed by other people using metal detectors at the beach.
The next time you see a nice diamond engagement ring, check out the band and see how the diamond is held in place.
It is basically platinum or gold wire with prongs, unlike your typical wider and thicker platinum or gold wedding band. 
Don't get me wrong I enjoy finding wedding bands, but anyone can find these easy to detect circles of platinum, gold or silver and they are the most commonly found piece of jewelry at the beach.
I slowly hone in on the smaller thinner platinum or gold bands, making sure my metal detector is set up to detect the more expensive pieces of jewelry.
Look at diamond rings and gold chains as being the hardest two things to detect at the beach, when you start to recover them on a regular basis you have found the perfect mix of equipment and search techniques. 
When you can detect the small stuff you never have to worry about detecting the big stuff, if it is there you are going to hit on it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Bobby dazzler hunting

Although I really love searching for old coins and artifacts the odd modern bobby dazzler is always a welcome site in the scoop.
The morning I recovered this diamond encrusted gold chain and cross a few years ago, I remember thinking I was going home empty handed after a two hour predawn tourist beach raid.

Going back to my previous blog, it was a re-occuring situation I was familiar with after deciding to search a few yards in the opposite direction I started out from just in case.
I could not just leave the beach without trying my luck in the opposite direction, boy did my instincts pay off!
The old me would have probably spent another two hours searching the area, but previous experiences taught me that the chances of recovering something similar were very slim.
So off I pops down the road with a big smile on my face, until realizing my wife and girls were probably still sleeping as it was 7 am on a Saturday morning.
I swung by another beach close to home for a couple more hours knowing I had bling in my top pocket and the pressure was off. 
Walking onto the beach I saw four other people metal detecting, one in the wet sand and three in the water, I figured what the heck I would give it a go anyway and search the only area left open to me which was the thigh deep shallow water.
First signal was a beer can, second signal was a yard of 14K gold chain weighing 2.5 ounces, I put it in my top pocket and walked straight out of the water, jumped in my van and drove home with an even bigger smile on my face.

Four ounces of gold and diamonds will do that to you and I always wanted to do that, find something good and walk off the beach and not turn back lol 
That was like the Caddy shack game of golf in the lightning, except I was not going to upset the surf gods by rolling the dice one more time.
I have no regrets I cashed in and went home, Im pretty sure I read and played the beach hunting situations just right. 
Bobby dazzlers are out there my Facebook friends, you just have to mix things up and try different things and you get rewarded more times than not.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Reoccurring situations at the beach

Although I was born with a lucky horseshoe up my butt, I try not to rely on luck too much when metal detecting on the beach or inside the water.
When certain things happen on a regular basis I take note and make sure I learn from previous beach or water hunting events that led to recovering something good.
For example, detecting and recovering something good with multiple people metal detecting in the same area.
I look at why I was able to come away with a really good find with so many people searching the same area, it often has to do with ignoring the competition and sticking to my game plan.
Instead of thinking about what other people may find before me, I double down on my metal detecting and search techniques to make sure I thoroughly search the area I can detect stuff.
Sometimes I recover something good in an area I have been forced into searching because other people are searching the area I would have probably chosen to search first.
No worries, different areas often lead to good finds because they are searched less often than the better looking area you intended to search first.
The timing of a beach hunt is sometimes the reason for beach hunting success, not waiting for low tide before hitting the beach.
You may recover something in the high tide line in an area you may have chosen to ignore if it was low tide with more lower beach to search.
My metal detecting books have many photos of impressive metal detecting finds, hardly any of the stories about a good find start with I got lucky being in the right place at the right time.
The reason is because I work on putting myself in the right place to recover good stuff by knowing how to take advantage of situations that often arise at the beach.
Its not luck when you recover good stuff doing things on purpose because it is not the first time it has happened to you.
Recovering something good a few yards in the opposite direction past the point you began searching away from is a common occurrence at beach entrances, I always check a few yards beyond where I first started out searching before leaving the beach.
Finding a gold ring close to another gold ring has a perfectly logical explanation, as objects of the same size or density often settle in the same area at the beach due to tides and the natural sifting effect of the water.
Recovering something good in an area searched by a person metal detecting ahead of you, shows you have a better technique or metal detecting equipment than the other person you are following.
These examples show there are quite a few different reoccurring situations or set of circumstances that a beach or water hunter can learn from instead of relying on luck.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A bank open for business

The word bank originates from a time when people dug a hole in a bank and hid their valuables for safe keeping.
If you search shorelines hit by unusually high surf you may detect something of value buried or lost a long time ago in the eroded beach bank. 
This photo is a good example of an eroded shoreline hit by a winter storm that I had an opportunity to search last year. 

Shorelines change all the time in areas that are hit hard by coastal storms, leaving behind excellent metal detecting opportunities if you are lucky enough to search them.
They are what I call a "Twofer" treasure hunting situation, an opportunity to recover something good either flushed out of the eroded bank or something washed up and deposited against the eroded bank.
Two opportunities you can take advantage of when you know how to search an eroded river or beach bank.
I always like to search the face of any cut beach or river bank first, as you are often the first person ever to search the exposed layers, afterwards I search the from the base of the erosion to the waters edge looking for flushed out or washed in goodies.
The older the area and more history connected with the site, the more chance you have of detecting and recovering something old.
You can also recover good stuff long after the initial erosion took place if you know what to look for.
The back of the beach, river bank or dune line will often fill back in as if nothing had ever happened, but returning sand hardly ever makes it back up to the highest eroded levels. 
If you see roots dangling high up on the bank, check out the lower beach opposite at low tide.
The higher the eroded bank the better your chances are of recovering older jewelry, coins or artifacts.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Don't forget where you started

When you start heading somewhere searching with your metal detector at a beach, be sure to search in the opposite direction a little before leaving.
Treasure is often where you find it and many times I have found it just a little ways from where I first started searching, but in the opposite direction.
I have got that used to recovering good finds around starting out points that I now search a little in each direction before moving away from my starting out point. 
Im not a big fan of going for long walks on a beach, I prefer to grid an area out well instead of walking long distances hoping to stumble across coins, jewelry or artifacts.
If you saw a group of people metal detecting on a beach, I would be the one you see staying in the same search area.
One of the biggest mistakes a beach hunter can make is to assume things can only be found between point A and B in a straight line. 
For example, I often see beach hunters stop to scoop a target then continue searching along the same line, instead of spiraling around the recovery area before moving on.
I also see people walking onto a beach and almost immediately dig a first target before moving on towards where ever their intended beach turn around point is. 
The other persons initial dig site is often the place I start searching, but around not away from the site.
You could say I have the beach hunting competition show me a good place to start searching.
This is a trick I often do at Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches, heavily hunted sites that have very few targets to detect as they get hammered on a regular basis.
You can learn a lot about a beach watching the competition for ten minutes from a beach entrance. 
Where there is one thing you can find other things if you look hard enough.
I do the same at heavily hunted tourist beaches, by watching who is stopping to scoop what and where.
Nine times out of ten people will keep walking in a straight line after detecting and scooping a target.
I have recovered many pieces of Spanish silver just a few yards away from where other beach hunters had walked onto a beach or dug something in the same area but kept on walking.

Are you walking away from a good find?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Obstructions at the beach

I love searching close to obstructions on the beach as they often lead to good finds, a giant boulder, a washed up tree trunk or even a pier may be an obstruction that can lead to a good find.
Obstructions break up the natural movement of surf and sand, causing lost coins, jewelry or artifacts to end up in the slip stream of the obstruction.
Some of my best beach and water hunting finds have come out of areas with an obstruction on the beach or in the water.
I know my local beaches like the back of my hand, I also know where many obstructions are at every beach.
I use large movable pieces of iron as jewelry traps, knowing the average beach or water hunter will go around large iron objects on the beach and inside the water.
Every few weeks I will move my jewelry traps and search the place they probably stayed since the last time I moved them.
I study the way water moves across my local beaches, then search close to and around any obstructions looking to detect anything diverted by an obstruction.
At beaches where the high tide washes up to a concrete barrier (Wall or building foundation) it is very difficult to detect close to the concrete barrier.
At areas I know jewelry is lost, I will often change to a small search coil so I can detect closer to the wall.
I use my scoop to drag sand away from the base of a wall, beach hunting is not all about swinging a search coil sometimes you have to use other tools like a spade or a rake to help you ferret out good stuff close to obstructions at the beach.
Obstructions are just that to the majority of beach and water hunters, nuisances to go around. 
Obstructions on the beach and in the water help break up the natural movement of surf and sand.
In areas you are likely to recover jewelry, coins or old artifacts, obstructions become areas where the stuff you are searching for collect in numbers. 
Remember the more difficult an area of the beach is to detect, the more likely you are to find something.

There are three potential traps in this photo, the wooden bridge, tree branch and vegetation mid slope preventing stuff from being washed higher.