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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Always something to find

I am not a big fan of negativity in metal detecting which is why I always head out for a search believing anything is possible and I will probably find something.
In my opinion there is always something to find at any beach if you put your time in and look beyond the conditions you see. 
I chuckle reading beach blogs and detecting forum reports about poor beach hunting conditions and lack of finds, I imagine someone walking the same stretch of beach waiting for something to happen week after week. 
The best way to deal with any finds drought is to mix things up starting with a change of scenery. 
Searching in a straight line along the lower beach at the same beach everyday because you found something there a couple of years ago is not a good beach hunting strategy. 
Avoid getting in any type of beach hunting comfort zone because the more you mix things up the more you will find. 
Just trying new things is a step in the right direction, even if you do not find anything you will have tried something different and probably learned something new.
I recover jewelry, coins and artifacts in some of the weirdest places and often when I least expect to. 
One reason why I detect and recover good stuff on a regular basis is because I search a wide variety of areas and I do not assume anything other than there is always something to find somewhere.
I was recently at a metal detecting event held on a beach in Canada and saw something I love seeing in the hobby, enthusiast beginners.
Not one of those beginners asked me when or where should I go beach hunting.
No doubt the majority of those newbies are going to go beach hunting whenever and wherever, more than likely having beginners luck I hope.
Beginners are my favorite type of beach hunters, unpredictable and not set in any ways.
At a heavily hunted beach I dare say they are more competition than experienced beach hunters more likely to search a certain way all the time.
I don’t say this as a shot against experienced beach hunters, just an observation.
When you don’t know what another beach hunter is going to do, they are probably doing something right.







Monday, June 11, 2018

Pin-pointer advice for beach and shallow water hunters

I like to carry a waterproof pin-pointer when I go beach and shallow water hunting, especially when I know I am going to be searching rocky shorelines.
Most waterproof pin-pointers are only depth rated to ten feet, usually ruling out using them in deeper water searches.
I have used several different waterproof pin-pointers and the one I have been using for over a year now is the Minelab ProFind 35.
I am very impressed with the way it is detects small targets and the way it works in saltwater, something many so called waterproof pin-pointers struggle to do.
The ProFind 35 has also been put to the test in a wide variety of beach and shallow water hunting situations.
Being able to stand up to a little abuse is important to me as I often search harsh environments for metal detecting equipment, including brackish swamps, saltwater mangroves, coral reefs, compacted shell and jagged rock beaches.
My pin-pointer has been has seen serious action and been dropped on rocks, spent a couple of days on an offshore coral reef and run over by a beach cleaning tractor.
Or as I will say if I have to one day send it the Minelab repair center, normal use!
However, I am happy to say that it has taken a licking and it is still ticking
Pin-pointers are not usually associated with beach hunting, but they are a valuable accessory if you search tough terrain where recovering targets is much more difficult that detecting targets.
I have given a shout out to my Minelab banana, but there are other waterproof pin-pointers to choose from.
Read reviews and make sure the waterproof pin-pointer you choose to use can do two things, detect a small ear ring back on the highest sensitivity setting and be used in saltwater without going nuts.
Again do your homework before buying a waterproof pin-pointer as some pin-pointers advertised as waterproof behave erratically around salt the one mineral saltwater beach hunters have to deal with on a regular basis.
Remember, you have to turn the sensitivity down to use a pin-pointer in saltwater, don't worry about losing pinpointing depth after lowering the sensitivity on your pin-pointer.
If you are carrying a pin-pointer to the beach you obviously need one to help locate and recover detected targets trapped between rocks, shell or coral.
All of these type of tough beach recovery areas act as natural coin, jewelry or artifact traps, prohibiting the stuff you are searching from sinking out of metal detection range.
A waterproof pin-pointer helps you to isolate a detected target in touch to search areas, how you extract the target is up to you.


You don’t always have to walk around or past difficult to search areas, put your metal detector and scoop down, use the pin-pointer and a flat head screw driver or pair of needle nose pliers to winkle the good stuff out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Old dog, same tricks and new toys

Although I have a lot of beach and water hunting miles on my clock I don't dilly dally when it comes to trying new equipment if I believe it may possibly help me to find more and better treasures at the beach.
In other words if you see me using something on a regular basis you can be sure I like it!
My ancestry.com result came back as 99% pirate 1% scallywag so sometimes I have mixed feelings about advertising how good something is for beach or water hunting when I search heavily hunted beaches.
I figure I will still get my share, but some of the new metal detectors like the Minelab Equinox for example make it easier to get ahead faster.
Me thinks metal detector companies are actually listening and designing metal detectors that beach and water hunters have long been asking for.
The main three things or features I look for in a metal detector as a beach hunter are waterproof, balance and versatility, probably in that order.
I prefer balance over weight as a feature because even a moderately beefy metal detector can be swung for hours on end if it is well balanced. 
The Minelab CTX 3030 is a perfect example, looks can be deceiving as it is a surprising well balanced metal detector. 
I predominantly metal detected inland back in the day so I also know how important the word waterproof is in rainy old England.
Been there and done that with the covering metal detectors in plastic bags thing, ruined my share of Etracs, Explorers and Sovereigns. 
If your at the beach salt may be more of a problem for a non waterproof unit than water, no matter how far you stay away from the waters edge. 
Salt spray and sand cannot be washed off and they begin to do a number on your metal detector.
Versatility used to mean being able to change search coils to me, but now it also means being compact enough to travel on metal detecting trips.
How does a metal detector pack comes into play and it often makes a difference on what metal detector I pack to travel with.
I love my CTX 3030 but Im tired of lugging my big green suitcase all over the place, the only suitcase the upper shaft will fit in diagonally. 
We live in good beach and water hunting times as we have more waterproof, balanced and versatile metal detectors to choose from.
Heck even the non waterproof metal detectors are more compact and well balanced than in years past.
Like anything else in these techy times, you have to change with the times, try new things or get left behind.

  




Monday, May 28, 2018

Eyes on the prize

For every piece of gold I used to post I probably recovered dozens of unwanted targets before finding gold, it’s just the nature of the hobby searching for treasure amongst the trash. 
Some of my best finds have come after first getting bogged down digging unwanted targets. I fondly remember the morning I found my magnificent Spanish 1715 fleet treasure ring, what I thought to be just another crushed beer can turned out to be the ultimate Bobby Dazzler.
Just when you are tired of digging mundane junk like pull tabs, bottle caps or nails, the detecting gods answer your prayers.
That is why you never walk away from an area you have chosen to search for a reason, playing a treasure hunting hunch often pays off if you stick to the plan and keep your eyes on the prize.
I recovered many pieces of Spanish silver, copper, bronze and iron before recovering gold at the Treasure Coast beach my precious was found.
I knew if I persevered I would eventually recover gold long after other beach treasure hunters had given up mistakenly believing this beach was sanded-in for the summer.
When I search for modern platinum, gold and silver  jewelry at tourist beaches, I use the same kind of strategy by relying on knowing where I am likely to recover bling. 
At least a couple of times a year I recover gold in areas I know other beach hunters probably moved on from, the reason I will clean out areas saturated with pennies as I know they can easily mask gold. 
The next time you choose an area you feel good about, stay the course and battle through dissapointing targets because there is nothing better than seeing an unexpected Bobby Dazzler come out from amongst the unwanted stuff.
Site selection and playing hunches will pay off when you least expect it, but quite often when you know what you are searching for is probably to be found in the area.
All good things found metal detecting are worth the hard work you put in digging mundane targets before finding the good stuff. 



Saturday, May 26, 2018

Using small search coils

Several followers of this blog have pointed ou to me how I often mention large search coils but rarely mention small search coils and question if I ever use them, my answer is most definitely yes but only when the site makes a small search coil necessary.
In my opinion small search coils are like pulse induction metal detectors, very site specific and not something to be used all the time. 
Some of my favorite finds have been recovered using small five to eight inch size search coils, I just don’t think about ground coverage and target depth when I know a small size search coil is right for the site.
Several years ago I remember hammering two trashy beach sites after major beach erosion had taken place and when I say hammering I mean hammering!
One site I searched just about every night for two months straight, recovering good stuff every time I used a small search coil. 
I used the cover of night not to be seen because I used to post fresh finds on my Facebook page back in the day. 
I would often check the area out during the day and see other people metal detecting across the area but not stopping and I knew the two reasons why, iron and target masking. 
This beach was very trashy and even a ten or eleven inch search coil meant you were not going to hear any good signals in the area unless you were moving very slowly and concentrating hard. 
Both ferrous (Iron) and junky non ferrous targets in high numbers mask potentially valuable targets at trashy beach and inland sites using the ten to eleven inch size search coils most people now use on metal detectors.
Stick a small five to eight inch size search coil on your metal detector and the same site comes to life if you hunt by tones, FE - CO numbers on a metal detector VDI screen or a combination of both at the right site.
Even an elliptical shape search coil can make a difference at a trashy site, an elliptical shaped small search coil even more of a difference, bigger isn’t always better in metal detecting, especially for people who search a wide variety of sites.
Your metal detector can often be used with a higher sensitivity setting using a small search coil because it is reading less of the ground, running hotter I find the target depth differential is nominal between an eight and ten inch search coil.
Target recovery speed is increased using small search coils and you can get closer to large iron in the search area, for example iron pipes or beams on a beach. 
The next time you find yourself in a finds drought, put a small search coil on your metal detector and see how many more targets you start digging.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Taking care of your equipment

I try to take very good care of my metal detecting equipment, when I am not using it up to my neck in swamps and saltwater lol
Your metal detecting equipment is the gear you invested in for beach hunting success so it makes good treasure hunting sense to keep the tools of the trade in tip top working order.
I clean anything I use at the beach with fresh water after every use and allow my gear to dry naturally before storing it.
Leaving a metal detector to dry in the sun is not a good idea as it will eventually cause irreparable damage to electronics and cables.
So too does leaving metal detectors, search coils and pin-pointers in vehicles between beach hunts, always store your metal detecting equipment in a cool dry area.
The cleaner you keep your equipment the more chance you have of seeing a potential problem and dealing with it before it ruins your fun.
Once a month I inspect all my metal detecting equipment for wear and tear, checking the bottom of my search coil and the cable for splits or cracks.
A marine epoxy from the local hardware store can be used to fill splits of cracks on the bottom of a search coil, liquid rubber can be used to seal a damaged cable.
When you use a metal detector at a beach, sand and small pieces of shell can build up and lead to damage if you do not rinse off your equipment properly.
Metal detector shafts are prone to freezing or locking up because of sand and salt build up,  breaking down your metal detector shaft once a month helps you avoid not being able to travel with your metal detector to detect.
There is nothing worse than breaking down your metal detector excited about a metal detecting vacation and discovering you cannot separate your upper shaft from the lower rod, that usually happens just before you are preparing to travel.
Specially designed two or three piece travel scoops should be taken apart regularly as they are also prone to locking up. I have both a travel shaft and travel shaft and only use them for detecting abroad, that way I know I am good to go.
The more you clean your equipment the more you will be ready for any beach hunting situation that comes along.
I am predominantly a saltwater beach hunter, searching in tough conditions so I go the extra mile with the prevent maintenance.
From polishing metal detector shafts so they collapse easier and lubricating battery seals, to towel drying and AC storing metal detecting equipment, anything it takes to protect my investments in this great hobby.
Here are a couple of tips to help prevent damage to your metal detector and search coils. 
Use a few wraps of electrical tape in three or four places to secure your search coil cover to your search coil, plastic zip ties secured too tight lead to coil covers splitting prematurely. 
Yes you have to change the tape more often than zip ties but if you search areas with high amounts of black sand you have to flush your search coil cover out regularly anyway.
Avoid sealing your search coil cover to your search coil with adhesive silicone sealants, it only attracts more sand and shells particles. You may also unknowingly void your metal detector warranty sealing or using truck bed liner products on search coils.
Change your search coil bolt washers when you see they are worn, preventing further damage to the search coil ears.
You keep on top of things when you clean and inspect your gear, it pays to look after your stuff when you play in mud, sand and saltwater.





Wednesday, May 16, 2018

If in doubt keep it

I take everything I find at the beach home with me, as long as I can carry it off the beach because sometimes you never know what you have found until you become an experienced beach hunter.
I say experienced because over the years you become familiar with a wide variety of objects  recovered at the beach which’s makes them easier to identify and helps prevent you from discarding something potentially valuable 
Many moons ago I was into bottle and clay pipe digging along tidal river banks back in England, I still scour river banks when the opportunity arises. 
I would recover all kinds of interesting  finds scouring tidal river banks, usually taking bags of stuff home until I had a chance to clean and identify what I had found using my “ Twin optical” scanners. 
Everything from pottery chicken eggs and victorian glass christmas lights to boars tusks and fossils, you name it my dear old mums kitchen sink saw it lol
I remember stinking out the kitchen many a time removing corks from old bottles that were encased in river mud for three or four hundred years. 
One of the great things about the hobby of metal detecting is you never know what you are going to return home with, it could be a find of a lifetime if you are patient, persistent and lucky.
A ring encrusted and scratched up that at first looks to be junk, could turn out to be a bobby dazzler platinum or gold ring when cleaned up.
A blackened disc shaped object could turn out to be an old silver treasure coin after cleaning, you just never know until you gain experience at identifying objects recovered at the beach.
That goes for inland sites too, I have a really cool dinosaur egg I found while hiking in a western desert, yup the lucky horse shoe up my butt works in the desert too lol 
I believe because we spend so much time looking down at the ground spotting things that stand out becomes second nature.
A word to the wise if you look at a metal detector VDI screen instead of the ground you are moving over. 
Bag and tag anything unusual you pick up at the beach until you are able to identify what the mystery object it, another good thing about metal detecting is you are learning all the time. 
I class myself as quite knowledgable when it comes to identifying old shipwreck coins, jewelry and artifacts, if I do not know what something is I eventually find out and learn something new in the process.
If the beach conditions are bad or you cannot get to the beach, get stuck into some research on the stuff you are likely to find at your local beaches.
Shipwreck or maritime museums and exhibits are excellent places to check out possible future finds, perhaps you will recognize something you have found already.
Remember take your finds home just in case you make the mistake of leaving something good for another beach hunter who does recognize what you decided to leave behind.