It is always best to use some form of search pattern when beach hunting.
Just like it is always best to go home with a sore shoulder from digging lots of targets, than tired feet from doing too much walking along the beach.
Using a search pattern means you have a plan, you are not just meandering around aimlessly hoping to stumble across something good.
No amount of beach reading skills will help if you do not fully cover the areas you search on the beach.
The search pattern used should be one that allows you to leave the beach knowing that if anything worth finding was there, you would have found it.
Covering search areas methodically is always a better strategy than covering more ground.
Saturday mornings on my local beaches resemble a metal detecting horse race, as solo or pairs of beach and shallow water hunters try to cover the entire beach as fast as possible.
Most speedy beach or shallow water hunters search up and down the beach moving either north or south.
I prefer to metal detect the same area using a slower more methodical east / west directional search pattern.
I am normally still searching in the same general area I started metal detecting as the local beach and shallow water hunters leave the beach.
Sometimes it is better to try changing search patterns, instead of changing beaches.
Cover less ground correctly than more ground incorrectly, especially if you predominantly search one local beach most of the time.
Long handled scoop drag marks left behind in the sand by a methodical beach hunter, can be just as discouraging to speedy local beach hunters as going home empty handed.
Nothing is more of a compliment to your beach hunting skills than another local beach hunter walking off the beach because they know you have just searched an area.