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Monday, September 30, 2013

High tide hunting

My detecting time has been limited just recently, due to work and preparing my latest treasure hunting  book for release.  
I have only been able to detect for a few hours on the last two Sunday mornings, but each time I made it count. 
Last weekend I found a 1 ounce platinum ring, and yesterday morning I found an 18K gold ladies ring with 84 diamonds.
I had to make a decision the night before,  to search on the high tide or not.
As you can see by the ring in this photograph, I made the correct decision to go metal detecting on the beach at high tide.

I have found many gold rings searching on high tides, it is actually one of my favorite times to search on the beach.
You see far fewer beach hunters at high tide, maybe they hang on the internet metal detecting forums and think all the gold jewelry is in the water?
The best high tide jewelry hunting is always after several days of high surf,  when jewelry is pushed up onto the beach.
I also found a couple of silver ear rings and a nice pair of sunglasses washed up in the high tide line.
There were three other beach hunters at the beach I was searching, all with headlamps on in the middle of the night.
I took my Excalibur but chose to use my CTX 3030 so I could concentrate on "Cherry picking" the likely gold targets before the competition.
Using the Target ID numbers and my custom gold tone allowed me to quickly cover a couple of productive sites for gold jewelry. 

The gold and diamond ring is a good reminder that it is always time to go beach hunting.
I could have easily hit the snooze button and waited for the tide to go down and have more beach to detect.
I try hard not to be a "Box hunter" by going detecting regardless of the tides or surf height.
It keeps you on your toes and well prepared, when you do not know whether you are going to be beach or water hunting, wet sanding or dry sanding.
It also leads to discovering a variety of metal detecting finds.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Search patterns on the lower beach

You can increase your metal detecting finds on the lower beach by simply using a different search pattern. 
If you only search in a straight line along the lower beach, you are box hunting.
Just like using the same control settings on every beach, using the same search pattern will lead to missed treasure hunting opportunities. 
The size of your search coil, metal detector sensitivity level, surf washing over the wet sand, type of sand on the lower beach, will all determine the best search pattern to use.
Large search coils and straight line hunting in the splash zone will lead to false signals, especially on the end of each sweep. 
Too high a metal detector sensitivity level will also have the same negative effect on your wet sand hunt. 
Black sand and straight line searching on the lower beach is made worse by using a large search coil.
I see many local beach hunter's walking down to the lower beach and robotically searching parallel to the water.
They search in straight lines, no matter how high or fast the water is moving over the wet sand, or the size of search coil being used.
Use an East to West directional search pattern on the lower beach, when the conditions say you should.
Avoid box hunting in straight lines on the lower beach to have a chance of finding gold jewelry in the wet sand.
14K gold chain without a pendant, found in the wet sand using a search pattern better suited to the fast water rushing over the lower beach. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Researching old beach sites

Considering I am a south Florida beach and shallow water hunter, I find my fair share of silver coins.

One of the ways I put myself in position to discover older silver coins is by using the local internet property appraisers site.
Finding the oldest section of a beachside community is easy, put an address of a house in the search box and the date the house was built will be given.
Many years ago, I used to find old jewelry and coins opposite a newly constructed four story beachside condo.

I put the address of the new condo in the property appraisers site and quickly discovered that across the road from the beach was a row of small cottages built in the 1930s.
If you did not know any different, there would be no reason to walk so far away from the main beach entrance.
I use this research tool to hunt beaches where I rarely see other beach or shallow water hunters.
Try using public property records to discover potentially undetected beach or shallow water hunting sites.
Or you could just follow the local beach conditions blog, and join the crowd at the same beach everyday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

He who dares

When I found 50 pieces of gold jewelry over a three week period last year, I worked hard for the gold jewelry that came out of the water.
This superb 18K gold ring with a five carat emerald and two diamonds was one of the better water hunting finds from the haul of gold jewelry.

I also remember why I found the emerald ring, I had the minerals to get in the rough water. 
I do not normally like water hunting in really rough surf, but when I know there is a really good chance of finding gold jewelry close to shore, I hit the rough surf when it is safe to do so.
The low tide is the best opportunity for rough surf hunting on productive jewelry sites, you really do not need to go into the water very far opposite productive beach sites.
Making every water hunting move count with a good discriminating waterproof metal detector is important, rough surf is also where your target recovery skills come in to play. 
Heavy long handled stainless steel scoops, zippered finds pouches and standard size search coils help you to be an effective rough surf water hunter.  
You may be pleasantly surprised how few water hunters bother to go water hunting when the surf kicks up. 
Many beach hunters are not prepared to water hunt, using non waterproof metal detectors in the wet sand. 
Having the ability to water hunt in rough surf, opens up much more jewelry hunting real estate at low tide. 
Hit the wet sand for lighter jewelry washing up and hit inside the water close to shore for heavier jewelry in the surf zone. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Never over hunted

I have been really busy lately and today was my first real water hunt for a few weeks.
I could have gone beach hunting for Spanish treasure coins, but I decided it was time to get back into modern jewelry hunting for a three hour water hunt with my Excalibur.
No doubt, the high end resort I decided to go water hunting outside had been hammered on Saturday morning.
This one ounce platinum ring with 10 diamonds is a good reason to never assume a heavily hunted area has been really covered.

Saturday nights can be busy on beaches with nightclubs in the area, I saw many empty beer cans swirling around in the first drop off.
I would not be surprised if alcohol was a factor in this large ring coming off in the water.
Going back to my recent weekend hunting blogs,  this is what makes beaches close to nightclubs so productive.
They are sometimes replenished with jewelry more at night, than in the day time.
Many local beach and shallow water hunter's do not bother searching a heavily hunted area on a Sunday morning, when they see the same site hammered on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Discrimination at depth

I prefer to use discrimination on my metal detector because it allows me to make the most of my limited beach and shallow water hunting time on south Florida many tourist beaches.
When it comes to searching less populated Treasure Coast beaches in search of Spanish treasure, I use a different approach to discrimination. 
I use a very minimal amount of discrimination, just enough to knock out small ferrous nails if I am using my CTX 3030 
On beaches where I have a chance of find treasure coins or artifacts, I totally ignore the numbers on my display screen and the audio tones. 
The reason I do this is because targets on the edge of discrimination range often react totally different to targets within easy detection range, no matter which metal detector you are using. 
Many beach and shallow water hunters do not realize that display numbers and audio tones, while reliable at certain depths, fluctuate the deeper the target is.
For this reason it is always best to take a layered approach to metal detecting using discrimination. 
Conduct some depth tests on different common targets found on the beach and see how accurately your metal detector identifies them at depth.  
When you know how accurate your metal detector identifies targets at depth, you will know how much you can really rely on your discrimination control. 
Cherry picking choice targets is great for jewelry hunting but only to a certain depth in the sand.
If your metal detector has a target depth gauge, make a habit of checking out broken high or low tone signals at the deepest depth gauge reading.
You may be surprised like I was when this iffy signal with a maxed out depth gauge reading turned out to a raw emerald pendant. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Move it, or lose it

A good tip for people who hunt the same beaches on a regular basis is to move large ferrous objects around.  
I hunt a few beaches that have large ferrous objects on the lower beach and in the shallows, I have found more than a few pieces of gold and silver jewelry by moving large ferrous objects to one side. 
Enterprising beach and shallow water hunters who search on tourist beaches should keep a metal note of where large ferrous objects are located on the lower beach and in the shallows. 
You can use these underwater or lower beach obstructions as jewelry traps. 
Move iron pipes or rebar out of the way,  metal detect the area and reposition the ferrous obstructions back in the same place. 
Most beach and shallow water hunters will move along quickly when they receive an overload signal or an extended null in their threshold. 
Imagine how much gold and silver jewelry is lost close to large ferrous obstructions on the lower beach waiting for a treasure hunter that knows how to think outside the box. 
If you have several movable ferrous obstructions on your regular beach rotation, you have a group of jewelry traps to search. 
Iron masking is a jewelry hunters worst enemy, but you can use iron masking to your advantage on certain beaches. 
This expensive chunk of 18K gold, platinum and diamonds was found using the same technique described in todays blog. 

I recovering several nice pieces of gold and old silver coins in the same area, it was tough work moving the old ferrous railing to one side, but well worth the extra effort as you can see by the large ladies bling ring recovered. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Knowing when to hunt and when to move on

I finally got a chance to go metal detecting this morning,  but I decided it was just too dangerous to continue searching in the water. 
Black clouds were rolling in over the area and my metal detector screeched every time I saw a flash of lightning in the distance. 
No amount of gold jewelry is worth dying for, so I did the wise thing and headed home to fight another day. 
I probably would have changed my beach hunting strategy or moved on anyway, as it was very sanded in and I did not get a signal in the 20 minutes I was in the water opposite a south Florida tourist beach. 
Moving onto the lower or upper beach would have been my next move, if the lightning had not been so close.
A beach hunter that searches all three areas of the beach, the wet sand, dry sand, and water, will be able to adjust and deal with sanded in conditions much better than a beach hunter that only searches one area of the beach. 
No doubt, many people left the beach in a hurry after the rain started.  
This mass exodus of tourists from the beach during a rain storm is often an excellent opportunity to recover good targets in the dry sand. 
That is of course, if you are not a " box hunter," a person who only searches on one area of the beach.  
Using a metal detector with discrimination, allows you to be a more versatile beach hunter. 
I doubt a pulse induction metal detector user could move up onto the beach in the dry sand and be effective. 
The same applies to people who reverse hunt on the wet sand, and use perfectly good discriminating metal detectors in an all metals search mode. 
Time spent switching from an all metals search mode to a discrimination mode, in a high trash environment like the dry sand is wasted metal detecting time. 
Even a stormy cloud may have a silver, or gold lining for a beach hunter that metal detects on all areas of the beach using a good discriminating metal detector. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The best weekend metal detecting plan

I have received a few emails recently, asking my advice on the best times to go metal detecting on tourist beaches over the weekend. 
It is Friday morning, I guess now is a good time to post this blog about the subject of weekend beach and shallow water metal detecting. 
With the increased competition for metal detecting finds on most busy beaches, you cannot beat everyone to the gold. 
If you are a weekend warrior, the timing of your weekend treasure hunting is very important.
In my opinion, the best times to go metal detecting over the weekend are the following;

Friday PM    
To get the midweek fresh drops.
Saturday PM  
After a full day of weekend activity on the beach and in the water.
Sunday AM 
After a full day and nighttime activity on the beach and in the water.
Sunday PM
After 2 full days of activity on the beach and in the water.
Monday AM 
After a full weekend of activity on the beach and in the water.

Probably the worst time to go metal detecting is early tomorrow morning (Saturday AM) 
Most weekend warriors have the same idea and you are searching before the busy weekend has even started. 
The longer you can be patient and wait to go metal detecting on the weekend, the better your chances of finding gold jewelry will be. 
Here is over $7000.00 worth of gold and diamonds from the last time I planned my weekend water hunt perfectly.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Searching beach entrances

The dry and wet sand opposite beach entrances can be a gold mine, even on the most heavily hunted beaches. 
If you are lucky enough to search long beaches with multiple beach entrances, you have a good chance of finding gold by just metal detecting directly opposite each beach entrance. 
Surprisingly few beach hunters search directly opposite beach entrances,  they start walking north or south.  
The best time to search beach entrances is early in the morning, before the beach cleaning tractor has had a chance to drag the area.  
Another good time to search is after a sudden shower or a thunder storm has passed across the area.
When you observe people leaving the beach piled up with towels and bags it is not hard to imagine why people lose so many belongs before getting off the beach. 
If people are rushing off the beach to avoid the rain, the chances of finding lost cameras, keys, cell phones or jewelry increase. 
You do not need the deepest metal detector to recover valuable targets near beach entrances, you need a good discriminating metal detector. 
Dry and wet sanders opposite beach entrances are searching for fresh drops, shallow targets recently lost.   
If ten people showed up to search a popular tourist beach on a Saturday morning, I would put my money on the beach or water hunter who had the chance to search opposite the beach entrance first. 
I have found some really nice gold rings and chains on heavily hunted beaches, by ignoring the temptation to walk along beaches to the areas the local competition like to hammer. 
Rows and rows of sun beds are empty all night, the beach entrance is usually the busiest area on the beach at night time.  
If you walk onto the beach and see other hunters already metal detecting farther down the beach,  never be disheartened, look at it as a good sign! 
Think about that, the next time you turn your metal detector on and head towards where the competition are programmed to search.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Take all your metal detecting finds home

Always sort through your metal detecting finds after you arrive home from beach or shallow water hunting. 
Earlier in the year I found a piece of Spanish silver in a Treasure Coast parking lot, thrown out along with a bunch of bottle caps and iron nails by a litter bug who had previously hunted this prime Spanish 1715 fleet shipwreck beach. 
Old shipwreck artifacts and treasure coins can easily be mistaken for junk, if you are not used to finding these types of metal detecting finds. 
I have also picked up pieces of silver plate or dishes that were dug and thrown back on the beach next to sand piles by unsuspecting beach hunters. 
A few years back I remember returning home thinking I had got skunked water hunting for modern jewelry.  
After searching through my finds pouch I pulled out a small Spanish silver half reale from the early 1600s.  
I vaguely remember putting the small square shaped piece of metal in my finds pouch while water hunting. 
My old Spanish silver treasure coins are the reason why I always put everything in my finds pouch and inspect the contents after arriving home. 
To be honest, I learned the hard way many years ago when first searching the famous Treasure Coast of Florida. 
The blackened fragments I had been throwing away in the trash can before leaving the beach turned out to be pieces of silver plate of dishes.  
I only found out my mistake afterwards, when deciding to clean a few of the larger fragments with rims that I had bothered to take home. 

Putting all your finds in your finds pouch and taking all your finds home is always a good option on heavily hunted tourist beaches too. 
Throwing crusty pennies or other junk finds back down may have a blow back effect. 
You may have to dig the object again if you search the same beach, and you give another beach or water hunter incentive to stay around searching. 
I try to look at every target dug, as one less reason for the competition to have any interest in the area. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Use your best features.

It is always best to take advantage of your metal detectors best feature, which is normally the search mode. 
If you search the beach with a discriminating VLF metal detector, use the discrimination. 
Using your discriminating metal detector in the all metals mode all the time, defeats the purpose of having a discriminating metal detector. 
Reverse hunting is exactly that, metal detecting in reverse and wasting valuable metal detecting time  constantly having to stop and double check targets. 
Buy a pulse induction metal detector if you want to dig all metal targets. 
The same applies to beach and water hunters who use a pulse machine and try discriminating with a pulse induction metal detector. 
There is absolutely no way to make sure you are just skipping bobby pins by ignoring targets giving off a double blips type signal.  Large gold rings and bangle bracelets give off double blips. 
You are at a disadvantage, the minute you start searching the beach without using the best feature(s) on your metal detector. 
Some discriminating metal detectors hardly have a difference in depth between search modes.  
If I switch to the all metal mode when using my CTX 3030 or Excalibur II, it is not for added depth. 
It is to cancel the effects of iron masking, by taking out as many ferrous targets on a productive site as possible.  
I then use my CTX 3030 or Excalibur II to do what they do best, sort through the trash to find the treasure. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

The importance of site rotation

If you keep going back to the same site too many times you are going to be disappointed. 
Plus you stand a chance of giving the competition a heads up where your good spots are located on heavily hunted beaches. 
To this day I rarely hit the same spot twice in a row, I would rather search it well and know that I gave it my best shot before leaving. 
You have to resist the temptation of returning to a site too soon after finding a nice piece of jewelry. 
Rotating your productive sites will increase your chances of finding on a regular basis.
Approximately 10 productive sites should be sufficient for a person who metal detects twice a week. 
Adding more productive sites will mean you have less chance of getting "skunked" and going home empty handed.
Same time, same place, every week beach hunters are never going to be as successful at recovering good metal detecting finds as people who have variety in their treasure hunting sites.
A good variety of beach and water hunting sites leads to a good variety of metal detecting finds. 
Because of the local demographics, certain beaches will have more 10K gold finds, while other beaches will have more 18K finds. 
You may find more 10K & 14K gold jewelry finds on a beach in a working class area. 
You may find less but more expensive 18K gold jewelry at beaches with mansions or high end resorts close by. 
Rotating your beach and water hunting sites will give you a chance of finding a happy medium as a beach hunter. 
Finding gold jewelry in numbers and finding a variety of gold jewelry. 
I guess I am guilty of having too many 18K gold jewelry sites on my rotation plan.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pockets of finds on the beach

Continuing on with yesterdays blog theme, you are far more likely to discover groups of finds on the beach than in the shallow water.
When you discover a pocket of finds on the beach, try to stay searching the area for as long as possible. 
Unlike a hole in the water,  when you find a pocket of finds on the beach you do not have to worry about the tides as much and you can stay after dark. 
Try to recover all the easy shallow targets first, just in case any other beach hunters show up. 
Switch to a larger search coil and go for the deeper targets after you have recovered the easy stuff. 
Never assume that you can return to the same spot on the beach and clean it out the next day.
You may have two things working against you, the tide depending on the location and other beach hunters. 
Signs of recent digging in the sand attract the attention of other beach hunters, so does posting your recent finds too soon on the internet!! 
I only post metal detecting finds on my Facebook page after I an 100% sure that I will not be going back to the same beach for a while. 
I have been lucky enough to stumble upon little time capsules in the sand on several occasions. 
Each time I have hammered the area until I was too tired to dig anymore. 
Excellent beach hunting opportunities do not occur as often as we would like, when they do it is better to stay and metal detect than to wonder what if? 
These old coins and a gold ring were found after hurricane Sandy had passed along the Florida coastline  in late 2012. 

Probably an old beach access point long since forgotten about, as everything was found well away from the nearest beach entrance.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chain reaction

A catchy title for todays blog that best sums up what can happen after you find a gold chain or a gold ring. 
The three chains in this photograph were found within a 45 minute water hunting span a couple of years ago. 

All three chains were found within a very small area and that is the point of todays blog. 
When you find a gold ring or a gold chain, stop and make sure you completely search the area close to the original find. 
Because objects of the same density or weight often end up settling in the same area in the water, you have a chance of finding another gold ring or gold chain close by. 
Never keep walking and metal detecting along the same line after you find something good, slowly grid out the area from two different angles.
Some beach or shallow water hunters like to detect in circles from the original find point. 
I use a Minelab CTX 3030 and when it has not been possible to detect around a find spot because of people using the beach, I have used my GPS feature on beaches to mark the original FindPoint.  I return to the exact same site after hours and sometimes recover more good finds close to the point of the original find. 
The 18K gold chain and crucifix came home with me because I stopped and thoroughly searched around the initial find spot after finding the two silver chains in the water.

Never pass up a golden opportunity, when you find gold or silver, see if they have friends! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Trying new treasure hunting equipment

I use an extra large search coil in certain beach hunting situations, yesterday I tried out the new Minelab Pro swing metal detecting harness.
Although I love my extra large 17 X 13 inch search coil, there are a few aches and pains associated with swinging a heavier search coil over several hours.  
It is always good to go with what you know when it comes to metal detectors and metal detecting equipment, but I believe you have to give new things a try or get left behind.  
I have never been shy about using different makes and models of metal detectors, I think it is good to always plan ahead and upgrade if you can. 
Its no secret I am a Minelab fan, and I kind of move along the Minelab line, Sovereign GT, Excalibur II, CTX 3030, I like and still use them all in various beach and shallow water hunting situations. 
Saying that, I try not to push my choice of metal detectors and equipment on others, and you will never see me getting involved in internet metal detecting forums "Which is the best metal detector" discussions.  
If anyone wants my advice about which metal detectors to use for beach and shallow water hunting, all they have to do is contact me.  
In my opinion, it is always better to research and see what treasure hunting equipment suits your individual needs and what equipment is best for the places that you like to search. 
Having never used a metal detecting harness I was pleasantly surprised at how something so simple can make such a huge difference, I am happy I invested in one.  
Very similar to how I finally tried an open style scoop basket last year and now I cannot go back to a closed style scoop basket. 
Luckily metal detecting is very popular and we can always get a good price for used treasure hunting equipment.  
Trying new treasure hunting equipment is not such a big hit in the wallet or pocket book anymore, when you can get good money for something you wanted to see and try for yourself. 
On heavily hunted beaches and especially eroded beaches I can see a detecting harness helping a beach hunter who uses a standard or extra large search coil to be able to stay out on the beach longer. 
The longer you are out on the beach detecting, the more treasure you have a chance of finding. 
Do not be afraid to try new treasure hunting equipment, maybe you will try something that helps you to stay ahead of the competition or at the very least  something to make your  beach or shallow water hunting easier.