I recently saw an interesting thread on a metal detecting forum about reading the beach.
From the responses given to the guy asking the question, you would think that it only takes a couple of hours to learn how to the read the beach.
Cuts, low spots and hard packed areas, about sums up the cavalier approach to most of the forum experts.
Nothing could be further from the truth, two years not two hours is a better time frame to experience a wide variety of beach and shallow water hunting conditions.
There is much more to learning how to read the beach and water than three obvious prime metal detecting situations.
Beach and water reading skills are the things you use to find treasure when the "forum experts" and local beach conditions bloggers are complaining about sanded in conditions, increased competition and lack of finds.
Beach and water reading skills should also include knowing the following;
The history of your local beaches
Productive hot spots on the beach
The people using the beach and where they congregate on the beach and in the water.
The location of any shipwrecks
The way storm surges effect the beach
The habits and hunting styles of your local metal detecting competition
The seasonal tide patterns for your area
The hours of beach tractor cleaning operations
Local beach parking hours
Your beach and water reading skills put you in position to find treasure, your basic metal detecting techniques make sure that you do not miss that treasure.
Only searching for a cut or a low spot on the beach is not reading the beach, it is missing the big treasure hunting picture.