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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two examples of beach and water hunting outside the box

My 300 year old Spanish treasure ring is a perfect example of what is possible when you are not a box hunter.
This magnificent 22K inca gold 1715 fleet emerald ring, was recovered on a Treasure Coast beach back in the summer of 2005. 



I was one of the few people still searching for Spanish treasure coins and artifacts on the beach that summer. 
Just like today, there were many more water hunters searching tourist beaches for modern bling. 
I assume any Treasure Coast beach expert would have said their was little chance of finding anything during the sanded in summer months. 
Alternatively, here is an awesome old 18K jade ring recovered inside the water close to a rumored 1800s shipwreck in south Florida. 



Instead of beach hunting like everyone else after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I braved the raging surf close to shore at low tide to mine a productive trough. 
No doubt, all the die hard local water hunters stayed at home until the surf calmed down. 
The attached photos of two bucket list old gold rings, show you what can happen when you think outside the box.
In true Jack Sparrow style, there are no pirate rules, more like a set of guidelines. 
Never get too wrapped up in following beach and water hunting guidelines, or you may miss what you are searching for.
Talking of box hunting guidelines, I wonder how many beach and water hunters are going detecting two hours before low tide today at their usual beach?
Or bothering to go beach or water hunting, because they read or heard somewhere that the beach conditions are not very good. 
In my opinion, anywhere, anytime, anyway, is the only way to beach and water hunt. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Discrimination patterns on metal detectors with screens.

I am often contacted by people who ask me if I could send them the discrimination pattern and settings I use on the Minelab CTX 3030. 
My basic starting point for a discrimination pattern to use on a trashy tourist beach is normally a cropped down version of the preset Beach Mode.
The basic starting point for a beach where I have a chance of finding old shipwreck coins and artifacts is a blank screen, or Pattern 2 of the preset Beach Mode.
From these two basic starting point patterns, I tweak my control settings to suit the conditions present, or the size search coil and targets I am looking for. 
I have no "Gary's Beach pattern"  because I do not think it is a good idea to pass around discrimination patterns and settings to people who search very different beaches all over the world. 
Earlier in the year I was talking at at a couple of metal detecting events, I was approached by a few CTX 3030 users who showed me discrimination patterns on their CTXs, down loaded from UK and US detecting forums. 
Some of their discrimination patterns were shockingly shaded out screens for US east coast tourist beaches.  
The heavily shaded out discrimination patterns, certainly explained why these CTX 3030 users were struggling to find gold and silver jewelry. 
I edited the heavily shaded out search patterns and gave control settings advice, hopefully helping the CTX 3030 users to see the benefits of testing targets and using moderate amounts of discrimination. 
If you are using a metal detector with a screen, it is always best to try the recommended preset discrimination patterns, but to test targets and create a safety non shaded area so you do not miss valuable targets close to shaded out areas. 
The easiest way of doing that without testing targets at the beach, is to trim the preset discrimination patterns, but you cannot beat actually testing the pattern by using a variety of the targets you are searching for. 
I see two very different views of beach and shallow water hunting, those in the dig it all camp and people who prefer to use discrimination. 
In my opinion, there are many different ways of using a metal detector with a screen, that is the beauty of  using a smart metal detector. 
You make the decisions and you can change the way a metal detector with a screen is used.
Just like the screen shot below, my normal response to questions about discrimination patterns is there is no one way, just your way and what works best for you on the beaches you metal detect on. 








Monday, October 13, 2014

Learning on the job

I like to believe I am always learning and evolving as a beach treasure hunter, open to different things and not standing still. 
I just could not imagine using the same metal detector at the beach, the same way, in the same area all the time. 
Versatility and the ability to change, are hopefully two of my strongest assets as a beach and water hunter. 
Every year I come across many different situations at the beach, certain things that may cause me to rethink my beach and water hunting strategy and run with something different for a while.
It could also be after trying a new metal detector or search coil, or simply a beach I had never tried before.
If you look at photos I post on the internet, you will see photos taken in the water, on the wet sand and up on the dry sand. 
I use different metal detectors, different size search coils, and search many different beach sites. 
Every year I recover a variety of finds and this year has been no exception,  with a heathy mix of modern and old finds. 
This year I learned a couple of good tricks that allowed me to recover a few metal detecting firsts, some of these finds I will reveal towards the end of the year. 
Earlier in the year I picked up a good trick on a beach with large rocks, I was able to detect above the rocks using my a very large search coil and still recover the targets I was searching for. 
You could say I used the large search coil to find shallow targets trapped in the rocks. 
In a six week period over the summer I used small search coils to recover 6 ounces of gold jewelry from  difficult to detect areas, in places other beach and water hunters disregard. 
My internet find posts are often followed with the questions, what metal detector or search coil was you using, and where on the beach did you recover them?
Of course, I get more than my fair share of beach and water hunters crying about my finds, but that comes with the territory. 
If you do the same things over and over again, you are probably going to get the same results over and over again. 
That is not a good thing for a beach or water hunter searching for jewelry and coins, adapting and changing techniques prevent long periods of not finding anything at all. 
When is the last time you tried a different beach or water hunting technique? 






Thursday, October 9, 2014

Good foundations

Becoming a consistent jewelry or coin hunter is like building a house from the ground up. 
You cannot start building by adding the roof and interior decorations first,  you must start by creating a solid foundation to support the structure. 
Similarly, a jewelry or coin hunter must establish that foundation in technique before adding tricks or short cuts. 
In my opinion, the foundation you build is what leads to success in beach and water hunting. 
Far too many beach and water hunters look for short cuts when looking to build themselves into jewelry or coin hunters. 
You only have to look at internet metal detecting forums, to see how many people are willing to bypass building foundations to get ahead.
Wanting to know what metal detector will magically find gold without having to learn how to use it, advanced settings, hooked up with sites etc. 
There are no short cuts to jewelry or coin hunting success,  the foundation you build on is the only path to becoming a successful jewelry or coin hunter. 
When I consistently recover jewelry like these rings in this photograph,  they drive the local beach and water hunting competition nuts. 


My secret, I just stick to the basics, no short cuts or racing around trying to beat other people to over hunted beaches. 
Slow and low,  technically sound, I go to the beach to recover jewelry, not cover ground. 
Are you building solid beach and water hunting foundations, or looking for a roofer and interior decorator ? 



Monday, October 6, 2014

Site reading skills

I believe I was fortunate to get into metal detecting from a bottle and clay pipe river hunting background. 
Research and knowing how to read tidal river banks helped me to find old bottles and clay pipes in England, objects lost hundreds of years ago recovered just using my twin optical scanners. 


When I started metal detecting, listening for signals from metal objects buried in the ground with a metal detector was child's play, compared to looking for surface clues to finding bottles and clay pipes on river banks. 
It does not take long to become skilled using a metal detector, and get an ear for gold and silver targets. 
I search Florida beaches for both old and modern gold and silver objects, sometimes lead, copper and bronze artifacts on shipwreck beaches. 
As a bottle and clap pipe digger, I was always researching and looking for more sites to add to the list of sites I already hunted.  
Just like beach hunting with a metal detector, river banks were either ripe for picking or covered over with little chance of finding anything.
Sometimes, knowing when NOT to search is more important than knowing when to search. 
That is the beauty of research and site selection, you can save yourself valuable time knowing before you go, the less you rely on lady luck the more you can be Johnny on the spot.
You put yourself in position to be successful when you are a confident beach or water hunter, armed with a good metal detector and knowledge of the site you intend to search. 
Ask yourself the question, if you could not use a metal detector on a good site, would you still find what you are searching for? 
My answer would definately be yes as I would find a way to recover what I was looking for using a spade, rake and sifter. 
It would be easier using a metal detector, but not impossible without one. 
Observational and site reading skills are very important parts of beach and water hunting, they allow you to recover good targets in less time. 
You can plod around for hours hoping to get lucky at the same sites all the time, or you can learn how to read sites, follow the clues and spend the majority of your time recovering targets instead of walking. 
Site reading skills compliment your metal detecting skills, always rely on your treasure hunting smarts to put you in position to find what you are searching for. 
Work with your metal detector, not against it by taking it out for walkies on the beach like a dog on the same route every time. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Natural coin and jewelry traps

I did not have time to travel around looking for good spots on Sunday afternoon,  so I relied on the natural beach landscape to help me keep my gold streak alive. 
Large rocks or boulders on the lower beach act as coin and jewelry traps, the area in this photo is always a good place to find coins and jewelry. 

I took advantage of the area,  all I had to do was spend two hours digging as many targets as possible to give myself a chance of finding gold. 
Luckily for me, one 14K gold ring was trapped in the area along with a a handful of coins. 
Areas with rocks on the lower beach are not always the most popular places to swim, especially at high tide when a swimmer would have no place to come ashore or risk getting pushed up against the rocks. 
At low tide these kind of areas open up and you can find coins and jewelry, if they are close enough to populated areas. 
These kind of beaches are not heavily hunted, but they can be excellent areas to find coins and jewelry when busier beaches are sanded in. 
You can also find targets trapped in the sides of rocks, a small search coil is ideal for pin pointing targets in crevices and small pockets in rocks. 
A pair of needle nose pliers or a flat head screwdriver work really well for coin and jewelry extraction when metal detecting on and around rocks.  



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What do you see in this photo?

This is the view from behind my CTX 3030 on Sunday afternoon, maybe you see a shameless plug for a great Minelab metal detector, or the ocean and lower beach.
  

I saw a perfect opportunity to find gold, and I walked off this beach with three gold rings less than two hours after taking the photograph. 
I had a feeling I would find gold or silver jewelry because of that rolling surf close to shore.
If you look in the reflection on my CTX 3030 screen you can see the main part of the beach behind me.
Many people using the beach were standing inside the water getting hit by those deceivingly strong rollers. 
I hit the beach fairly late in the afternoon, and I assume by the amount of gold rings I found I timed it perfectly. 
A busy weekend of people getting hit by strong surf close to shore shaking loose jewelry and sunglasses. 
I recovered two 18K gold rings in the wet sand and one 14K gold ring in the water, an assortment of coins and several other pieces of bonus silver jewelry. 
Two different things came into play for me to find jewelry, waiting until later over the weekend to detect this beach, and knowing where jewelry was more likely to be found. 
This beach is people with straight line water hunters, who go out into deep water, search in a straight line and move onto the next beach. 
There were two people metal detecting in the dry sand when I arrived at the beach,  fortunately for me they were searching in the upper beach dry sand.
Reading the beach and water is important to both beach and water hunters, but knowing how to read people using the beach is just as important. 
When you know what to look for, you can spend more hours actually detecting targets instead of walking.
Its not how many hours you spend beach or water hunting, its what you do and recover in those hours!! 
Next weekend I am going to go beach or water hunting and I am going to find gold or silver jewelry, hopefully in a short amount of time by reading the clues to finding treasure. 
Do you still see a metal detector being held up in the air, or a valuable clue to recovering gold?