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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My top ten tips for success at beach and shallow water hunting in 2014

1. Stay motivated
Never stay at home waiting for people to tell you when it is a good time to go beach or water hunting. 

2. Equipment   
Research and use a metal detector you are comfortable using, not the metal detector every other beach or shallow water hunter is using. 

3. Think outside the box 
Same time, same place beach and shallow water hunters go home empty handed.  The same applies to using the same turn around points on a beach.

4.  Stick to the basics 
Great beach hunters make great water hunters, hone your metal detecting skills on land before venturing into the water. 

5.  Ignore the tides
Go beach hunting regardless, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that not all jewelry is lost in the same place on the beach. 

6. Slow down
Yes its called metal detecting not beach walking, try stopping and covering an area. 

7.  Try different areas
Most of my best finds this year came from small beaches that see far fewer people than larger popular beaches. 

8.  Ignore the competition 
Yes beaches are heavily hunted now, but there are many bad beach and shallow water hunters out there.  Never assume just because an area has been searched, it has been searched correctly.

9.  Become a balanced treasure hunter
Master all three areas of the beach, the upper beach, lower beach and shallow water.  You will find the term "Sanded in" redundant when you are balanced treasure hunter. 

10.  Remember to have fun 
The only competition you really have is yourself,  the beach changes every day increasing your chances of finding something good. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Read the clues to find jewelry in the water

I just returned from a relaxing 7 day Christmas Caribbean cruise, more family time with the wife and daughters than metal detecting.  I did get a chance to go water hunting on a stopover in St Maarten, and I took these two photographs of the beach we spent some time at. 
These two photographs are clues to reading the water with an eye towards searching for gold jewelry. 

There were more people inside the water along one stretch of the beach, but it did not look very good for metal detecting inside the water.  
You would have to rely more on luck to find fresh dropped jewelry, than water hunting skill in such sanded in conditions. 
This second photograph shows the other side of the beach, the side with less people using the water.  This quieter stretch of water was the part of the beach that interested me the most, because of the obvious visual shallow water hunting clue. 
From where I was relaxing on my sun lounger,  I could see the darker area between the last two people in the water.  Darker areas close to shore can be very productive sites, if you know how to search and recover targets from these areas. 

The darker stretch of chest to shoulder deep water had a rock / coral bottom covered in seaweed and sand. I was able to use my Minelab CTX 3030 to search for gold jewelry in this tough to metal detect area, using my dive boot and hand to fan and recover targets. 
I recovered several Eastern Caribbean coins and fishing weights, but unfortunately only the one piece of jewelry in this photograph.

A nice David Yurman silver and 14K gold cable bracelet with diamonds, the ladies bracelet retails for $1000.00 on the David Yurman website. 
The more time you spend beach and shallow water hunting, the more your beach and shallow water reading skills will increase.  You can then spot the potentially promising looking areas in the water and hopefully get rewarded with gold or silver. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reading people using the beach

The age of people using the beach is an often over looked factor, knowing how to read beach goers should be part of your beach reading skill’s. 
As part of my thinking outside the box approach to beach and water hunting, I read the beach with an eye towards certain age groups. 
I have always preferred to search beaches that are popular with an older crowd, seniors and retirees.  
Gold and silver jewelry found on these beaches tend to be better quality, and more expensive than jewelry found on beaches popular with younger crowds. 
Older people like to spend more time in the water than younger people. 
As people age their wrists, hands and fingers all get smaller, watches, bracelets and rings slip off and are easily lost.  
Younger beach goers, such as surfers, tend to wear more silver jewelry than gold jewelry.  Large crowded beaches popular with college age kids may look more appealing than a beach with a smaller crowd of older people, but looks can be deceiving.
This beautiful and expensive antique18K opal and diamond ladies gold ring was found on south Florida beach that attracts an older crowd.

I strive to make the majority of my gold finds18K or higher, you can only do this by understanding how to read the beach with an eye towards age. 
Your beach hunting finds will always be a reflection of your beach and people reading skills.  It should come as no surprise that many of my expensive modern jewelry finds are a higher grade of gold, and they come from beaches that attract older crowds.  
This quality over quantity strategy is possible by understanding how to read the beach and knowing how to read the people using the beach. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

You never know unless you go

In my opinion, far too many beach and shallow water hunters depend on internet metal detecting forums and beach report bloggers to tell them when to go treasure hunting. 
Waiting around for forum experts or bloggers to tell you when it is a good time to go metal detecting will always lead to empty find pouches. 
Lost jewelry and coins can be found anytime and anywhere on the beach, so anytime is a good time to go beach or shallow water hunting. 
I found some pretty amazing pieces of gold and platinum jewelry this year, many of my best pieces of jewelry were found during times when beach reports and forum experts were complaining about poor beach hunting conditions. 
17 ounces of gold jewelry and 2 ounces of platinum jewelry this year, not too shabby for a part time beach and shallow water hunter.
You never know what you are going to find unless you actually go beach or shallow water hunting instead of waiting around for beach conditions upgrades on the internet. 
I used to get so much grief when I posted photos of my jewelry finds on the popular US metal detecting forums, members at first puzzled about my finds then openly hostile towards me for having the audacity to find jewelry on a regular basis. 
One of the main reasons I continue to find jewelry on a regular basis is the fact that no matter what the beaches look like, I go detecting whenever I get the opportunity. 
You have to be a persistent beach or shallow water, always having a "Todays the day" positive treasure hunting attitude if you want to find jewelry on a regular basis. 
I remember many times this year being thankful that I made the effort to scout around in search of a promising beach site. 
Going home with a nice piece of jewelry, thinking to myself how lucky it was that I decided to go metal detecting regardless of what the conditions looked like. 
Here is one of those finds, a heavy gold ladies ring stacked with diamonds. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rough surf and shallow water hunting

I only ever really let the tides influence my decision to go metal detecting during times of rough surf,  otherwise I go to the beach treasure hunting regardless. 
Shallow water hunting at high tide in rough surf can be a lesson in frustration, it can also be dangerous depending on how rough the surf is. 
I still never wait until two hours before low tide, as way too many beach and shallow water hunters use that outdated method of timing.
Going shallow water hunting just an hour or two after high tide can make a big difference at heavily hunted beaches,  putting the first drop off in the water within comfortable metal detecting range.
You will have less chance of getting your scoop or metal detector yanked out of your hands in rough surf, when metal detecting in the first drop off an hour or two after high tide. 
It is always nice to be the first one at a promising site, but what is the point if you cannot recover any targets because of the crashing surf.  
Fighting to sweep your search coil, pinpoint , scoop and recover is very tiring on the high tide.
You may be ready to leave the beach exhausted just when conditions in the area close to shore start to improve. 
Rough surf hunting is a little like weekend hunting, you have to be patient and wait for the best time to go metal detecting. 
Go shallow water hunting in rough surf too soon and you risk going home empty handed. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The giant sandy conveyor belt

I often like to refer to the lower beach as the "Giant sandy conveyor belt", because coins and jewelry are constantly moved onto and off the beach. 
One of the reasons why the lower beach is so productive is that it is the main place on the beach effected by the daily tide cycles. 
Two high and two low tides help to constantly change the landscape of the lower beach, both in and out of the water. 
During times of moderate to high surf, all manner of metal objects are moved around. 
Coins and jewelry are either pushed high up onto the beach, or dragged off the lower beach and washed into the first drop off inside the water.
The " Conveyor belt" effect on coins and jewelry is the reason why the water hunter saying "It is all in the water" is an outdated jewelry hunting notion. 
It is certainly not all in the water as most water hunters would tell you, I have the dry and wet sand modern bling and old treasure coin photos in my beach hunting books to prove it. 
Expensive jewelry can be found in the dry sand, wet sand and water, so you need to be proficient at searching all three areas of the beach. 
It also helps if you own a metal detector that you can use on all three areas of the beach. 
The gold rope chain with gold locket pendant in this photo was found in the dry sand at a beach I visited after finding the other pieces of gold jewelry water hunting at my first site. 

Water hunting at one beach and dry sanding at the next beach, two very different metal detecting techniques but as you can see, two very effective techniques. 
Many beach hunters make the mistake of metal detecting on only one part of the beach. 
When you narrow your metal detecting down to only searching one part of a beach, you narrow your chances of being successful.
One of the secrets to successful coin and jewelry hunting  on the lower beach is locating the end of the giant sandy conveyor belt. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wide beach hunting

I just spent a week up in Central Florida, unfortunately more work than pleasure but I did manage to get  a couple of short beach hunts in.
The beaches in central Florida are much wider than the beaches of south florida that I am used to metal detecting on.
I know many beach hunters would automatically think a large search coil and a brisk detecting pace are the best ways of tackling a wide beach, but I have never been a big fan of speed detecting and trying to cover as much ground as possible.
On a couple of short two hour hunts I relied on my beach reading skills instead of blind luck, especially since I was pushed for time.
Walking out towards the water I got a pretty good look at the most promising looking sites, several low spots or dips in the middle of the beach.
On my first two hour hunt using my Minelab CTX 3030, I recovered one small 18K gold diamond ear ring and a couple of small pieces of silver jewelry, all good targets were found in the lowest areas on the beach. 
I dug many more targets during my second two hour hunt in the lowest area on another beach, but no gold just silver jewelry.
After searching other parts of the second wide beach without any signals, I returned to the lowest area and used a different metal detecting search pattern.
I recovered a few targets I was unable to detect using the first search pattern, this is a technique I often use on productive areas.  
It is always surprising how many targets you can still recover metal detecting over the same area from a different direction.
The CTX 3030 is a very sensitive metal detector and very good at picking up small items of jewelry, such as stud ear rings.
I found several silver ones with CZs, they could just as easily have been gold with diamonds.
Jewelry can be found almost anywhere on a wide beach, but I have found the majority of time the lowest areas on wide beaches are the most productive jewelry spots. 
Going for target separation using a standard size search coil on wide beaches can sometimes be more rewarding than using an extra large search coil for depth. 
The depth advantages of using a large search coil are often negated when a beach hunter is trying to cover a wide beach too quickly. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Recent "Sanded in" beach observations

Last Sunday I returned to the same beach that I found gold at on Thanksgiving day, this time I came away with gold and platinum jewelry even though the beach was still sanded in. 
Some people rely on lady luck when beach and shallow water hunting for jewelry, I like to rely on previously productive beach sites and my treasure hunting instincts.
It had only been a few days since I found gold in the water at this site, my instincts told me I could possibly find more jewelry after heavy surf had pushed sand around in the area. 
I had already done the hard work a few days earlier by finding the hot spot within the site, making it easy to concentrate all my efforts to detecting a smaller search area. 
Searching on the high tide was not easy, but it was better than sitting around waiting to go detecting two hours before low tide as any local water hunters in the area would surely have done.
The heavy 10K wedding band and the Platinum and 18K ladies ring are proof that when beaches look sanded in, there is always something to find when you know your local beaches and the location of previous hot spots. 
For the third straight hunt I never saw another beach or water hunter,  maybe they are waiting until someone tells them the conditions have improved? 
I worked hard for my gold and platinum jewelry in less than ideal water hunting conditions,  to find gold jewelry on a consistent basis you have to be willing to work hard.
You also have need to go to the beach with your metal detector, no matter what the tide is, or what the beach conditions are.