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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pulse or large search coil

Many beach and shallow water hunters ask me whether it is best to invest in a pulse induction metal detector or buy a larger search coil for a VLF metal detector. 
In my opinion, you are always better off basing that decision on the beaches you metal detect on. 
If you search wide open beaches or stretches of water with a low amount of trash or ferrous targets, a pulse induction metal detector should be the best choice. 
People who search on trashy beaches with moderate to high amounts of ferrous targets, may find an extra large search coil on a VLF metal detector  a better choice. 
When it comes to metal detectors and search coils, everything is about the beaches that you search on.
Using the wrong metal detector or search coil on the beach is the main reason why many beach and shallow water hunters go home empty handed. 
Metal detecting with a pulse on a trashy site and digging all targets can be just as frustrating as using a VLf metal detector on a wide open beach with a small search coil. 
You must also take into account the types of objects you are searching for, when deciding which set up is a better choice.
If you predominantly search for old shipwreck artifacts, digging all targets using a pulse induction metal detector or an all metal mode is the best plan of action. 
Modern finds, such as gold and silver jewelry are more likely to be found in trashy areas. 
A large search coil on a discriminating VLF metal detector is a better choice of treasure hunting equipment when trying recover deep jewelry on busy beach sites. 
For many beach and shallow water hunters,  a pulse induction metal detector or an extra large search coil on a VLF metal detector are very effective game changers in the right circumstances. 
It just depends what your local beaches allow you to use. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Productive sites and treasure hunting patience

Sometimes you have to wait for a productive beach site to open up again, before you can reap the rewards of treasure hunting patience. 
The hardest part of knowing any productive site is discovering the site in the first place, but once you do find an area containing old artifacts or modern jewelry it can be a future source of many metal detecting finds.
I have many, many beach and water hunting sites that I constantly keep an eye on, I am prepared to search them even if they open up for the shortest window of treasure hunting opportunity.
These gold jewelry finds from a 2 hour beach hunt are special to me, they represent a five year wait in between one beach site opening up and giving me the chance to find over 30 pieces of gold jewelry at the same site last year.

I was ready to search this old productive beach and water hunting site, after initially finding many more pieces of gold jewelry five years earlier. 
The diamond encrusted 18K gold bracelet link matches three other segments of the same bracelet found on the same site five years earlier. 
This may not  be very popular with people reading this blog who like to beach and water hunt in groups but, "Loose lips sink ships" when it comes to producing sites. 
The less people you tell about your  productive sites, the more treasure you have waiting for you at the site, instead of a large crowd of people metal detecting when you arrive at the site. 
Knowing where you are likely to find old shipwreck artifacts or modern gold jewelry is one heck of an advantage to a beach or shallow water hunter. 
Patience really is a virtue when a productive site opens up, no matter how long you have to wait for that site to open up,  it is always good to know you already have one of the keys to finding treasure. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Searching for old and modern finds

When I go to the Treasure Coast in search of Spanish treasure, I always make the drive knowing the treasure has been there for 300 years and if it is my time to find it, I will. 
Old artifacts and treasure coins are much harder to find on a beach than modern jewelry, you have to be  at the top of your game to recover older finds. 
I always feel more satisfied driving home with an old Spanish silver piece of eight than a modern gold ring, because I know the old treasure coin was much harder to find. 
Speedy fast moving beach or shallow water hunters rarely recover older finds using sloppy or hasty metal detecting techniques.
That explains why many beach and shallow water hunters have no problem recovering modern jewelry, but struggle to find older coins and artifacts.
Beach or shallow water hunters known for recovering older finds make good modern jewelry hunters.
You can still find modern jewelry using speedy metal detecting techniques, but forget about recovering older finds using the same techniques.
Older finds tend to be deeper targets, old finds in the area become the first casualty of treasure hunting haste.
Speedy hunters miss large chunks of ground, and even when a search coil passes directly over a deep target they are difficult to detect.
Deep old targets respond very differently to shallow targets, the same deep targets are often rejected when using anything other than a minimum level of discrimination.
You should always strive for balance in your metal detecting finds, even a variety in the ages of your metal detecting finds is a good beach and shallow water hunting sign. 

These metal detecting finds span several centuries, they were all found on beaches where it is possible to recover both old and modern finds. 
Take your treasure hunting time and increase your chances of finding older finds. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Site selection and reading people

When I am metal detecting on a beach or in the shallow water,  I always hope to find one piece of gold jewelry. 
When I used to post on the internet metal detecting forums the biggest complaint from the forum "experts" was that I found too many pieces of high karat gold jewelry. 
How was I able to find such high quality pieces of gold jewelry on the same beaches where forum members struggled to find a plain gold band.  
I even got accused of owning a jewelry store, which is quite ironic because after finding so much jewelry I actually thought about opening an online jewelry store lol! 
The answer is site selection, nothing puts more diamonds on your loved ones finger than site selection.
Every beach and shallow water hunter has a choice to make when selecting sites to search on crowed beaches. 
Looks can be deceiving, many beach and shallow water hunters mistakenly think crowded beach sites must contain high end gold jewelry finds, that is simply not true in areas popular with younger crowds. 
Through the years I have had a lot of success at jewelry hunting by reading people using the beach. 
A crowded beach at spring break is the last place you will see me,  I do not go jewelry hunting for toe rings and mood rings. 
I prefer to search sites that give me a chance of finding that one valuable piece of high karat jewelry I am looking for.  
Every beach has sites within the site, I guarantee the faster you learn to read the people using the beach, the more high end jewelry you will recover. 
Think about that the next time you go jewelry hunting, which people on what part of the beach are more likely to lose what you are searching for?
That is exactly how this 14K ladies eternity ring stacked with diamonds ended up in my finds pouch. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Marathon hunts

I was out of town for a few days and had a chance to do something I rarely get to do recently, which is metal detect over 3 hours.  
Between work and family time, my normal beach or water hunts rarely go above 3 hours, unless I run across a special metal detecting situation. 
Yesterday I hit several Treasure Coast beaches and spent 5 hours searching for Spanish treasure coins before finally giving in to the sanded in conditions and searching another 3 hours for modern jewelry. 
I eyeballed an olive jar shard in the high tide line at the site of an early 1600s Spanish shipwreck and unfortunately only found a handful of coins and junk jewelry searching later on a tourist beach for modern jewelry. 
My longest day ever treasure hunting was last November when I walked onto a beach at 9pm and arrived home at 9pm the following evening. 
Yesterday I forgot just how well balanced my metal detectors are,  I was using an Anderson carbon fiber shaft on my Excalibur II and my CTX 3030 already has a well balanced collapsable carbon fiber shaft. 
It is really good to know that if you do run across a situation where you want to spend a full day on the beach, you can. 
My friend was using a GPX 5000 with a detecting harness, he also was not tired at the end of day. 
A balanced metal detector is an often overlooked key metal detecting factor.  If you sitting at home nursing a sore arm or shoulder instead of metal detecting, you may miss a golden opportunity at the beach.
Custom straight shafts or a detecting harness are important metal detecting accessories during prime beach or water hunting situations. 
Marathon beach or water hunts are possible when you take the issue of the weight of your metal detecting equipment out of the treasure hunting equation. 
That also applies to your recovery tools, use a stainless steel scoop for water hunting and an aluminum scoop for beach hunting. 
A sore arm from using the wrong type of scoop can just as easily stop you from being able to metal detect on marathon hunts. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Full moon water hunting

Now is the best time to take advantage of the full moon if you are a shallow water hunter. 
During the full moon low tides it is possible to search areas offshore that we're previously only accessible to swimmers. 
Jewelry lost by swimmers out in normally deeper water is almost impossible to retrieve when first lost by the unlucky swimmer. 
Timing is everything when the full moon gives you an opportunity to search in less heavily hunted areas. 
You usually have a short 2 hour window of opportunity to retrieve as many good targets as possible. 
On tourist beaches I never waste my precious full moon low tide time digging iron, the clock is ticking as the extra high full moon high tide will make sure you are searching closer to shore than usual. 
Use a discrimination search mode to go after the non ferrous targets, you can dig all targets any other time of the month. 
Watches, chains and large gold rings usually stay within discrimination search mode range much longer. 
If you return to search the same site the next day, try using a larger search coil or switching to an all metal search mode. 
It is always better to recover the easier to find jewelry first before searching for the harder to recover jewelry. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Following other beach and shallow water hunters

There are far more full time beach and shallow water hunters than ever before on popular beaches, but that does not mean you cannot be just as effective being a part time beach and shallow water hunter. 
You just have to refine your metal detecting techniques and make the most of every treasure hunting opportunity to compete with full time beach and shallow water hunters. 
I always say just because someone has walked over an area with a metal detector, it does not mean that area has been searched correctly.
It is amazing how many good targets you can recover following sloppy beach and shallow water hunters.
When you can clearly see the lower beach has already been searched by scoop drag marks and dug holes, you still have a couple of golden opportunities. 
Most of the easy surface finds should already be gone, search slowly and concentrate on trying to recover deeper targets that were being partially masked by surface targets already recovered by previous hunters.
Always double check around any areas of disturbed sand, some beach hunters give up on disappearing signals from targets on edge. 
Get into the habit of using your foot to push the sand around a filled hole on the beach, before slowly sweeping your search coil over the disturbed patch of sand as there may also have been a more valuable target in the same hole. 
I have found far too many nice pieces of gold jewelry following other beach and shallow waters, to ever get discouraged by signs of a freshly hunted beach. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Lead is a really good sign when you are beach or shallow water hunting in an area known for older coins and jewelry. 
Some of my best beach and shallow water metal detecting finds have come from hunts were I recovered multiple lead targets first. 
I recovered a handful of early 1800s lead musket balls before finding my 1836 gold half eagle coin.

It would have been easy for me to walk away thinking the musket balls or old military uniform buttons were the best targets, but I knew there had to be some old coins in the area after finding the lead.
I knew from past experiences searching for Spanish treasure on the beaches of the Treasure Coast of Florida that lead targets are a sign of good things to come. 
A Spanish 1715 fleet silver half reale was recovered along with the lead finds in this photo. 

Last October when I found 50 pieces of gold jewelry,  I pulled an incredible amount of fishing sinkers from the two main areas I found the majority of my gold jewelry. 
A third of a 5 gallon bucket to precise, as long as the fishing sinkers were coming up I knew I still had a great chance of finding gold. 
I am well known for favoring the use of a discrimination mode when beach and shallow water hunting, but when lead starts to show I become all metal Gary.
Never walk away from an area producing a lot of lead targets, not only is lead a good gold sign it is also a sign that you are searching an area that has not been hunted recently. 
When I found several large gold class rings a few weeks ago, it was in an area popular with tourists and the large amount of easily detectable lead sinkers let me know I had run across a potential gold patch in the water.  
If you find multiple lead targets, gold is often hiding in the same area.  


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Elusive beach metal detecting finds

I recently saw a "Groundhog day" style post while lurking on an internet metal detecting forum. 
A long time water hunter was venting about never having found a gold chain in the water, the same water hunter uses a popular submersible metal detector with an extra large 15 inch search coil. 
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why you have a better chance of finding a gold chain in the water using a smaller 10 or 8-inch search coil. 
You can avoid going years without recovering certain metal detecting finds by taking a look at the finds you are recovering in numbers. 
If you always predominantly recover one size, or type of find in large numbers, you may have a problem caused by your choice of search coil or metal detector control settings.
Sometimes a combination of both may be causing the lack of variety in your metal detecting finds.
Recovering high numbers of medium to large gold weddings is nice, but it could be a warning sign that you are missing small gold. 
Changing search coils or metal detector control settings will allow you to find small gold.
Alternatively, recovering a majority of small gold targets may be a bad sign, a lack of large gold targets, such as class rings may mean you are lacking depth. 
A beach or water hunter should be able to recover gold chains (with and without pendants) and both large and small pieces of gold jewelry. 
A few years ago I used a different submersible metal detector with a 12 inch search coil for deep water jewelry hunting on tourist beaches.
I noticed my large gold and platinum band numbers increased, but ladies ring numbers declined.
I stopped using the metal detector with the hardwired 12 inch search coil, and almost immediately my ladies ring numbers increased.
Achieving variety in your metal detecting finds is not just a sign that you search different beaches. 
A variety of jewelry finds can also be a sign of a beach or water hunter using the correct size search coil and control settings to suit the beach being hunted. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ugly beach hunting

I refer to metal detecting at off the beaten track beaches as "Ugly beach hunting" 
You can discover some pretty cool metal detecting finds on the beach and in the shallow water at out of the way beaches. 
The majority of beach and shallow water hunters flock to the same beach sites every week,  many local beach hunters do not find anything but still return to the same site week after week. 
You run the risk of not finding anything on heavily hunted beaches, why not take a chance on an out of the way beach. 
You may go home empty handed more often, but once you do start to find jewelry or coins at an ugly beach site you usually have the place all to yourself. 
Of course, it is not a good idea to tell everyone about your new site after you have taken the time to find and search it thoroughly.  
I search many little out of the way beaches, places I hardly ever see another person metal detecting.
One of the reasons I spend so much time researching and hunting ugly beaches is I am not afraid to strike out. 
In my opinion, the thrill of finding an old coin or piece of gold jewelry is sweeter when your research and persistence pays off, even if it does happen less often on out of the way beaches. 
I find Spanish treasure coins,  old US relics, and modern gold jewelry far away from sites you would expect to find them. 
The more sites you search, the more variety you will have in your metal detecting finds. 
You can only go so far relying on lady luck,  go out and make your own luck if you want to find on a regular basis. 
This  $3500.00 1 carat diamond ring was found on the beach opposite a little beach entrance,  far away from the nearest condo or house. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Follow your instincts

Sometimes it is tough out there and you have to rely on your instincts to beat "Sanded in" conditions.
Last week I only had one chance to metal detect for a few hours on Sunday morning.
I have been finding gold jewelry on my recent short beach and shallow water hunting outings, but I had to rely on my instincts to keep my gold streak going on Sunday morning. 
My early morning hunt was looking like a wash out, I had not found anything on the beach in the dark at low tide and the sun was rising.
I decided my best chance of finding gold was to spend my final hour in the water.
I know my local beaches are hammered over the weekend, but sometimes it is not possible to search everywhere.
The jet ski rental site had not opened and I figured my best shot was in the water before anyone arrived to set the rental area up for business. 
The area between the jet ski rental buoys is off limits during the day time.
Both the beach and shallow water were sanded in badly, but when you are searching for "Fresh drops" sanded in conditions are not important. 
My strategy worked and my gold streak is still alive, thanks to this 18K gold grill and a handful of quarters. 

You always have a chance of finding gold or silver jewelry when easy to detect targets like quarters are in an area.
Maximize your metal detecting time by searching less hunted areas if you can.
Sometimes the obvious place to search on the beach is not always the most crowded area. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Heavy competition

The expensive 18K gold, yellow sapphire & diamond ring below is a good example of having confidence in your own metal detecting abilities. 
The story of this ring is in a couple of my books about dealing with competition for metal detecting finds.
A few years ago I was searching along the first drop off inside the water on a popular south Florida tourist beach.
Several members of a local metal detecting club walked into the water a few feet in front of me and completely cut me off, by taking away the area I was going to search. 
While the club members plowed through the water ahead of me, I methodically plodded along in the waist deep water.
The group of water hunters returned to where I was still metal detecting, and one of the group laughed at me and asked if I had found any leftovers. 
I do not normally ever show people my finds on a beach, but I made an exception this time to help wipe the smile off the club members face.
I also showed a 22K gold wedding band to make the car ride home a little more depressing for the group who were going home empty handed.
No matter how many people are metal detecting in one area, the person with the better search technique will always be more successful. 
Never let other beach or water hunters throw you off your game plan.
Just because other people have walked over the ground ahead of you, does not mean the ground has been searched correctly. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

High and dry

Local beach and shallow water hunters tend to have short memories, it is sometimes all about the moment. 
The more you get into beach and shallow water metal detecting, the more you follow the most recent beach weather and run the risk of box hunting. 
Its easy to do, the surf may be too high for water hunting and local water hunters either sit at home or hit the wet sand.  
When the surf dies down, local water hunters rush back into the water, but I do the opposite.
Rough surf equals good wet sand and high tide line jewelry hunting for several days. 
You never know how much jewelry was pushed up onto the beach during the period of rough surf, you also never know where it was deposited. 
A calm ocean is just too an attractive prospect to die hard local water hunters, which takes a lot of the competition out of the running for beach finds. 
Although you never know what your water hunting prospects are going to be after a few days of rough surf, a patient beach hunter can pick up jewelry on the lower beach many days after the surf has died down. 
The water hunters who say "It is all in the water" obviously have not seen the inside of my wife's jewelry box full of lower beach found gold jewelry.

The same applies to older areas or less metal detected beaches where full moon high tides hit the back of beaches.
Old silver coins and jewelry may be discovered almost anywhere on the beach, and sometimes many days, weeks or months after they were deposited there. 
Try not to discount a perfectly productive area of the beach all together, just because another area is suddenly more attractive.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rejecting pennies on screened metal detectors

Many beach hunters who search on busy tourist beaches turn to screened metal detectors to help find treasure amongst the trash.
I use a Minelab CTX 3030 in Florida on many of my favorite jewelry hunting sites.
People who do not like screened metal detectors, rightly say that rejecting pennies will result in missed gold, especially low karat gold jewelry with high amounts of alloys in the gold mix.
There is a simple solution to rejecting pennies without missing gold using a screened metal detector.
Do not block edit discrimination patterns and use your ears!!!!! 
When you know the FE - CO numbers of a penny, there really is no need to manually edit a discrimination pattern. 
Use the audio tone to confirm the penny numbers on your screen. 
Even if a piece of 10K gold jewelry shares the same numbers and location on the screen,  an experienced beach jewelry hunter should be able to identify the gold ring by the tone. 
Beach hunters using screened metal detectors to search for modern gold jewelry, should always use their ears and trust in target audio tones when choosing not to dig pennies on the beach.  
There is always a simple solution to most beach hunting problems, if you are not afraid of using the latest technology to find treasure. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Your choice of metal detector

When I used to post on the internet metal detecting forums, I always made a point of staying out of the "What is the best metal detector for beach and water hunting" threads. 
People on the detecting forums can get pretty bent out of shape about metal detectors, and always need the last word as to why you should, or should not use a certain brand of metal detector. 
All unnecessary drama, with so many makes and models of metal detector you can use on the beach and in the water. 
I believe, that your choice of metal detector is just as important as beach and water reading skills. 
It is always best  to choose a metal detector that you feel comfortable using, not the one other people say you need. 
In my opinion, it is important to use a waterproof metal detector for beach and shallow water hunting, but If you want to use a land machine there are no rules saying you cannot.
I used a chest mounted Minelab Sovereign for years and did quite well with it, both on the beach and in the shallow water.
Because south Florida has a summer rainy season, it was always a hassle worrying about getting hit by waves and caught in sudden downpours, especially when metal detecting long distances from beach entrances.
For the last couple of years I have only used waterproof metal detectors for beach and water hunting
My Minelab Excalibur has always been a work horse for lower beach and deep water hunting and my very versatile waterproof Minelab CTX 3030 does everything my Sovereign did and much more.
I doubt I will ever take a non waterproof metal detector to the beach again, but that is my choice and it best suits my beach and water hunting plans. 
I remember when I first got into Spanish treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast beaches of Florida, I met some people metal detecting that made a point of telling me I needed to buy this or that metal detector.  I still do lol! 
The old timers I knew had been searching those beaches for years, they were not so chatty and only used one or two makes and models of metal detector.
I knew certain veteran beach hunters had found some pretty impressive finds over the years, and that was one of the things I took into account when choosing my first metal detector for beach hunting.
Certain metal detectors have a reputation for being good metal detectors for beach and shallow water hunting. 
Certain beach and shallow water hunters have a reputation for big treasure finds,  sometimes its easy to put two and two together when choosing a metal detector.