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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Another reason to be a local beach hunter

In my "Hardcore Beach Hunting" book, I touch on the subject of traveling to metal detect. 
In my opinion, you are always better off with your hands on your metal detector and scoop than a steering wheel.
If you live within a reasonable distance to a beach, try not to get lured into thinking you have to drive to far off beaches to find gold.
The expression "The grass is always greener" comes to mind, until you get there and realize you have spent more time traveling than metal detecting. 
I do not have the time or money to go on one or two week detecting vacations several times a year, like many beach and water hunters do, so I have to make the most of any opportunity to metal detect. 
I make the most of my treasure hunting time, by making sure I know all the beaches within a reasonable driving distance from home. 
There are big name beaches about an hour north and south of my local beaches, but that is a two hour round trip to go beach hunting. 
Two hours spent beach or water hunting on a closer beach makes more treasure hunting sense,  than spending two hours driving. 
I do occasionally drive long distances to metal detect, but only when I know the chances of finding something are good. 
Checking out the nearest beach webcams will help you to cut down on wasted treasure hunting journeys. 
You can see the surf conditions on beach webcams, and sometimes other people already metal detecting in the area. 
I like to see where the most crowded areas are located on the beach and in the water. 
All valuable forms of beach and water hunting recon, if you want to travel to out of area beaches.
Here is a 1 ounce 22K  gold coin ring with 40 diamonds that came off a local beach a few years ago. 

You never what what kind of trophy metal detecting find may be waiting for you at a small local beach, and of course you will never know unless you search them instead of traveling long distances looking for greener grass. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More on discrimination and being a flexible hunter

To find gold, should I discriminate or dig all targets on the beach?  is one of the most frequently asked questions in emails I receive from other beach and shallow water hunter's. 
People mistakenly believe that to find gold, you have to dig all targets on the beach. 
Times have changed, metal detectors and technology have changed, but many beach and water hunters are a little slower to move away from the "You have to dig it all" camp. 
In my opinion, that generic "You have to dig it all" treasure hunting plan is similar to the generic one size fits all metal detector control settings passed around. 
Why would a person metal detecting on a tourist beach want to dig all targets? Why would another beach or water hunter searching in a less populated area not want to dig all targets?
You choice of whether to discrimination or not, should always be made with an eye towards the beaches you metal detect on,  not on what search mode other people use on the other side of the country.
I search a variety of beaches, I hunt using an all metal search mode when searching for Spanish treasure on the Treasure Coast beaches, and I use some form of discrimination when searching for modern gold on south Florida tourist beaches.
Sometimes I search using absolutely no discrimination out in the water on tourist beaches, where there is less trash found away from the beach. 
I also use the same all metal search mode when searching small out of the way beaches, that see less sunbathers and swimmers. 
When it does come down to using discrimination, I am all for it,  especially with some of the metal detectors on todays market. 
Finding treasure through technology is cool, whether that technology is CO / FE numbers and target cursors on a screen, or increasing your discrimination control by a notch or two. 
Being a one search mode type beach or shallow water hunter is fine, but far too rigid for a flexible treasure hunter. 
Hopefully todays blog will help beach and shallow water hunters to think about becoming more flexible when it comes to which search mode is best. 
Both search modes are equally good when used in the correct beach or shallow water hunting conditions. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A time to use your best metal detector features.

Last night I went out for a low tide wet sand hunt at a beach that looked promising the day before, because of the high number of people I saw crowded around one area.
The beach in question is a popular tourist beach in my area,  and it is heavily hunted on a daily basis.
In fact, last night there was two other people metal detecting when I arrived at the beach,  just two of the many full time beach and water hunters in that area.
I only had a couple of hours to metal detect so I relied on a couple of the best features on my metal detector for the situation,  CTX 3030 custom audio target tones and my screen target IDs.
I immediately walked to the most promising looking area on the lower beach and started metal detecting.
Gold jewelry was the main quarry I was searching for,  so I concentrated on listening for low tones and checking the target cursor and CO / FE numbers on my screen to eliminate unwanted non ferrous targets.
With competition for gold jewelry already in the area, I did not bother scooping obvious non ferrous targets, such as pennies, dimes and quarters. 
The recovered targets in my hand from one small hot spot on the lower beach,  include 11 nickels, 5 aluminum pull tabs and a 14K gold wedding band.  

If you search tourist beaches and have multiple discrimination features on your metal detector, use them to find gold jewelry, instead of digging chump change.  
You may still have to scoop up a few unwanted targets, such as nickels and pull tabs, but you will find  gold jewelry faster if it is in the area. 
Just being able to eliminate digging one of two nuisance targets can make a huge difference to a beach or shallow water hunter on a tourist beach. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A good local beach hunting plan

Finding gold and silver jewelry on a regular basis is easier when you have a local beach hunting plan, and you stick with it. 
Many people follow the pack to well known beaches,  hoping to just get lucky and stumble across a piece of gold or silver jewelry.
Relying on luck over beach reading and metal detecting skills is a poor treasure hunting plan. 
Here is a good four word treasure hunting plan that works well for me, think small and local. 
Forget about traveling long distances to sexy over hunted beaches, you will find more gold on less hunted beaches. 
You can also search several smaller local sites and often be one of the only people searching those small local sites. 
Well known beaches are heavily hunted because they are just that, well known.   
There are only so many fresh drops to go around, hurting your chances even more if you are relying on luck at heavily hunted beaches.
I would rather search smaller sites, find more gold, and see less people with metal detectors.
If you follow my blog you will occasionally see me posting a handful of silver and junk jewelry finds, along with gold jewelry.
Here are some of my gold, silver and junk jewelry finds from this weekend, a 3 hour wet sand and water hunt using my Minelab Excalibur II at a small local beach. 

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that I am not going to find a handful of jewelry going to beaches that are heavily hunted on a daily basis.
Try to resist the temptation to follow the detecting crowd to the same beaches, you may be surprised how much gold you can find when ugly beach hunting.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Claim jumpers

When you search on heavily hunted beaches, you get to see some people do some strange things, one of them is jumping in front of you and take away the area of the beach you are searching.
This has happened to me on several occasions when beach and shallow water hunting, especially with people who hunt in groups of three or four.
I have found through the years that these type of people are better walkers than treasure hunter's.
I actually get a laugh from the guys who race up behind me on beaches to overtake and search the beach ahead of me.
Every foot of sand they travel faster over,  is a foot of sand not covered and searched correctly.
Sometimes I stop and pretend I am digging a target, just to let them get further ahead of me.
Never allow other beach or water hunters to put you off your game, instead try slowing down even more and concentrate on your sweep speed and search coil control.  
Let other beach hunters race around and sloppily try to cover all the ground ahead of you.
I say it is not how much sand you cover with your legs, it is how much sand you cover correctly with your search coil.
Beach and water hunters that spend more time watching you than their hunting buddies, are no real competition for metal detecting finds.
Always recheck any areas on the beach you come across that have obviously been disturbed by other people metal detecting.
Trash targets laying next to dug holes is unfortunately a common sight on many beaches, trash left behind by people trying to cover large areas of the beach before you.
Place the trash in the trash pocket of your finds pouch and recheck the area for missed targets.
If you frequently search the same beaches, you are doing yourself a favor by removing trash left behind by sloppy beach or water hunters.
Of course, nothing beats going home with a nice piece of gold jewelry missed by the hasty competition.
The story of this beautiful 18K yellow sapphire and diamond ladies ring is in my "Hardcore Beach Hunting" book.

A group of 5 water hunters decided to enter the water 10 yards in front of me and completely took away the water ahead of me, but I got the ultimate revenge.
Finding a large heavy gold ring behind them using sharper water hunting skills, I rarely show my finds at the beach, but I made an exception that morning.
I am sure they enjoyed the ride home together knowing they had missed a $3600.00 piece of jewelry. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rough surf hunting tips

Safety is everything when water hunting, especially when metal detecting in a strong current.  
I only search at low tide close to shore in rough surf, and that is only if I know I have a good chance of successfully recovering gold. 
Back in 2012 as Hurricane Sandy churned along the east coast of Florida, the surf was rough for several days. 
When it became safe enough to get in the water at low tide I knew I had a great chance of finding gold at one of my old hot spots. 
This 18K gold ring with three large quality diamonds was my reward for getting pushed around in the surf close to shore with my CTX 3030. 

The only reason I found this and a few other gold rings in the rough surf was an unusual search pattern I used to help me cover the area. 
Instead of moving forward, I slowly moved backward with my body to the side,  the strong current came from a northerly direction and the surf broke against the side of my body. 
I stepped back, anchored my water hunting scoop in place then slowly swept my search coil twice. 
Every short step back I would brace myself against the current using my scoop, on the beach side before sweeping my search coil twice to overlap my sweeps.  
Just like ice skating, it was important not to over extend myself and lose my balance. 
I only had a short window of opportunity during the low tide to search inside the water, but I knew it was almost impossible for any other water hunter to search the area correctly until the next low tide.
Three tide cycles was all it took to cover the area over in a thick carpet of sand, but I was there alone searching on the low tides in rough surf during those important first few days after the hurricane passed by. 
I remember the signal from the diamond ring, much like the big 5 carat emerald ring on my website that I also found there.  The diamond ring was a low whisper signal that could have only been detected by a slow moving water hunter and search coil.  
Next time you are searching close to shore and fighting the current and surf, try seeing if searching backwards is a better option. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top of the beach treasure hunting

An often overlooked area of the beach is the beach road or sidewalk, I have arrived at the beach many times and not even made it down to the lower beach to metal detect. 
Anytime you see beach road or sidewalk work going on, it may be a great opportunity to metal detect.
Empty beach side lots that have been bulldozed or cleared to make way way for new construction projects have always been kind to me, especially in older areas of Florida.
Before the housing market collapse many beach side lots were cleared to make room for condos, and after the recession took hold the lots were left empty. 
As long as you are not trespassing on private property, cleared lots close to the beach are excellent places to find old coins or jewelry. 
When large pipeline or cable projects are carried out on the upper beach, you can often find old coins or shipwreck artifacts in the sand that was removed and spread over the area after the construction has ended. 
Sea wall construction is another great opportunity to recover old finds, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time recently at a local beach.
The city sunk large sheets of iron into the sand to protect a stretch of beach road that was always flooding due to beach erosion.
After sections of the project were complete I would go down to beach at night to metal detect through the leveled sand looking for anything interesting that may have came from the bottom of the deep trench.
Here are a few of the interesting finds I recovered, a 1934 silver half dollar, a buffalo nickel, spiderman ring and an old fishing lure. 

I also recovered an old glazed pottery bottle with an incised Edinburgh stamp while scooping a deep target,  one of the benefits of using a large open basket scoop was not breaking the old ale or soda bottle. 

Stop and investigate any area along the top of the beach where you know trenches have been dug and sand has been moved around. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Searching with the competition on cut beaches.

Many beach and shallow water hunters get frustrated when they arrive at the beach to metal detect and see other people already metal detecting in the area.
No doubt many people just turn around and go to another beach, but if you know the beach is cut (eroded) and a good place to find gold, it is best to stay and take your chances with the competition.
A couple of years ago I found myself facing a similar situation, after arriving at a beach with a 7 foot cut towards the back of the beach.
I arrived in the middle of the afternoon at the tourist beach, which had at least twelve other people metal detecting along the eroded section of beach.
A few of the competition I recognized from their mugshots posted on internet detecting forums, I quickly came up with a plan of action,  put my head down and got stuck in metal detecting. 
I figured my best chance of finding gold with so many other hunters already searching the beach, was to take advantage of my metal detectors discrimination capabilities.
Using my Minelab CTX 3030 audio and visual target IDs,  I concentrated on the targets that had a high probability of being gold. 
Of course, I could not avoid having to scoop up aluminum foil, pull tabs, nickel and lead targets in the area, but I was able to avoid wasting time scooping targets I consider to be trash targets on a cut tourist beach.
When a tourist beach is cut,  I only go for the gold and leave the obvious identifiable clad coins behind for the competition. 
I am sure I left a few pieces of silver jewelry behind, but on this particular beach the chances of finding old silver coins was slim and my plan was to go for the gold.  
Word of a cut beach spreads fast, this beach was a bit of a hike from where I live so I stuck to my plan, I could only hunt for 4 or 5 hours on the first day and maybe return for 2 hours the next morning because of family commitments. 
That afternoon, even though I showed up late I managed to recover 12 pieces of gold jewelry, slowly and methodically searching the cut beach.  

The next morning I returned for another couple of hours to battle the heavy competition and recovered another 3 pieces of gold jewelry.  

When a crowd, or group of people are metal detecting on a cut beach, you will find your share of gold if it is a good beach. 
People use different metal detectors, have different metal detecting styles, and are at different skill levels. 
Never be intimidated by a cut beach with a high number of people already searching it,  you never have to be the first one to search the cut to find gold. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Holes and troughs in the water

When you are water hunting close to shore and drop into an area or pocket of deeper water, you may have walked into a prime water hunting situation called a "Hole."
That is exactly what happened to me a few years back when I found this 18K chain and crucifix. 

I also found two silver chains that weighed about the same as the gold chain, and several lead fishing weights. 
You can sometimes spot holes close to shore by the darker water,  an area of deeper water stands out from the surrounding water when you cannot see the light colored sandy bottom from the lower beach. 
Targets of the same size and density are often found together in the same area inside the water, I once found nine gold rings within a 12 foot square area in one hole. 
If you find several lead fishing weights in a hole, there is a good chance you may also find gold in the same hole. 
Not all holes in the water are productive, but the closer the hole is to a busier stretch of beach, the more chances you have of finding gold and silver jewelry.
I saw several holes in the water last weekend at a local beach, but unfortunately the surf was too high and rough to attempt to search any of them.  
If you are lucky enough to find a hole in the water and get a chance to search it, always make sure you stay until you cannot detect any more targets. 
As quickly as holes in the water appear, they often disappear just as quickly, never assume they will still be there if you return the next day.  
I returned to the same local beach yesterday,  although the holes close to the sand bar had filled in, I saw a deeper area of water running paralel to the shore called a trough.
One section of the trough had many pieces of jewelry swirling around in bottom of the trough,  although I only found one small 18K & Platinum ring ladies ring it made a change to find a large amount of jewelry at a sanded in beach.
Treat holes or troughs in the water like a cut on the beach,  hammer and make the most of prime metal detecting situations.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Using different size search coils to suit the beach or water hunting conditions

If you want to be a versatile beach or shallow water hunter capable of searching any area, you have to use the correct size search coils. 
I have always preferred to own at least one beach or water hunting machine that allows me to change search coils. 
On my Minelab CTX 3030 I use three different size search coils to cover any beach or shallow water hunting situation I may run across. 
I even have my spare search coils already mounted on lower rods, to make changing search coils even faster. 
Although the 11-inch search coil is great for most beach and water hunting situations, you need a little extra help when searching rocky areas and wide open beaches. 
The 17 X 13-inch search coil is a monster coil that is both deep on large targets and sensitive on small shallow targets, the large search coil gives me excellent ground coverage on wide open beaches when searching for Spanish treasure.
When you cover more ground on less trashy beaches, you increase your chances of detecting and recovering good targets. 
A metal detecting harness is a good investment if you intend to frequently use a larger and heavier search coil. 
When ground coverage is not important, my 6-inch search coil is unbeatable in rocky areas, where other jewelry hunters have to pass around or move away from.

You can also search closer to sun beds, or large ferrous objects on the beach using a small search coil. 
A small size search coil is excellent for getting around and in between rocks on the lower beach, or inside the water. 
If you are bobbing and fanning for targets over rocks inside the water, pinpointing targets is a breeze with a small search coil.
The more accurately and faster you can locate and recover targets, the more energy you will save when beach or water hunting with a small search coil.
In prime treasure hunting conditions,  the person who can change search coils has the advantage.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

A good reason to ignore the beach or water hunting competition

A few years back I had my best morning for gold chains, finding two gold chains weighing a little over 4 ounces in total weight.  
One of the gold chains had diamonds in the links and on the cross pendant, the gold chain in this photo is 36 inches long.

This photo should serve as a good reason not to get frustrated or dismayed if you arrive at the beach and there are several other beach or water hunters already metal detecting in the area. 
I already had a 1.5 ounce 18K gold chain encrusted in diamonds in my finds pouch, when I arrived at my second and last stop before heading home on a Saturday morning.

Four water hunters from the local metal detecting club were already searching opposite the main stretch of tourist beach when I got into the water to metal detect. 
It was obvious to me that the other water hunters were a group and trying to cover as much ground as possible. 
I was squeezed into the shallow water close to shore and I only got one signal, the 2.6 ounce yard of gold in the photograph. 
Over four ounces of gold in less than 4 hours of water hunting,  was certainly a good morning for gold chains. 
I could have easily walked off the second beach because of the competition, but I decided to give it a try anyway. 
Never give up on a beach because you see other beach or water hunters already metal detecting, all it takes is one good signal to be a successful hunt. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

10 easy ways to miss gold and silver jewelry on the beach and in the water.

Here are 10 common mistakes many beach and water hunters make when searching for jewelry that can easily be avoided. 

1.  Same place same time.

You would have to be very lucky if your jewelry hunting strategy is going to the same beach at the same time.  Predictable beach and water hunters are easily beaten to jewelry by other local beach and water hunters, who can time their hunts to beat you to jewelry because they know your jewelry hunting times.

2.  Same turn around points.

Metal detecting from the parking lot to the pier and back, or in between the two furthest beach entrances, assumes gold and silver jewelry is always lost between two points.  
Next time you go to the beach, check out how many sunbathers and swimmers like to use the outskirts of the beach, not everyone likes being close to other people on the beach. 

3. Same size search coil all the time.

Versatile beach and water hunters use different size search coils to suit the conditions present.  Whether that means owning more than one metal detector, or using a metal detector that allows you to change search coils when the beach or water conditions change.  Never use a large search coil on a trashy site, or a small search coil on a wide open clean beach. 

4. Loose lips.

News travels fast today,  your jewelry finds will take a sharp drop in numbers if you tell other beach and water hunters the exact location you recovered jewelry.  
Don't ask and don't tell,  or you will run the risk of wasting your treasure hunting time following other peoples false leads. 

5.  Bad timing 

Nearly as bad as going to the same beach at the same time is only low tide hunting.  
Go to the beach regardless of the tide times,  not just two hours before low tide.  
While you are sitting around waiting for low tide,  people not limited to low tide hunting like me are finding gold and silver jewelry before you get there. 

6.  Walking and swinging

A metal detector detects metal under the sand, that is of course if you give the metal detector time to work, it helps if you sweep your search coil low, level and slow.   
Being in the same place you receive the signal also helps, instead of three yards past the place you first started swinging your search coil. 
Many beach and water hunters sweep or swing! their search coils far too fast and high to detect jewelry. 

7.  Over use of discrimination 

Unfortunately to find jewelry, you have to dig certain trash targets.  The less discrimination you use, the more jewelry you will find. 

8.  Relying on luck

There is always a certain amount of luck in jewelry hunting,  but the more you rely on your beach and water reading skills and your basic metal detecting techniques, the more jewelry you will find.  
Instead of relying on luck to be in the right place at the right time, try putting yourself in the right place more often using your jewelry hunting skills.
Get the best of both worlds, be a good and lucky treasure hunter. 

9.  Local beach knowledge 

If you do not learn how to read your local beaches, you will always be chasing with the jewelry hunting pack for scraps.  A window of good jewelry hunting opportunity closes just as easily as it opens up, learning how the wind and waves effect your local beaches will help you to predict good jewelry hunting opportunities.  

10.  One dimensional treasure hunting

Stop ignoring large parts of the beach, dry sanders, wet sanders and water hunters. 
Jewelry is not all lost in one area of the beach, so why just search one area of the beach? 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sometimes you have to dig it all

You have to work really hard to find gold on a regular basis on the beach and in the water,  I still have the aches and pains from recovering this pouch full of junk finds from Sunday afternoons low tide water hunt.

Although I found two pieces of gold, the 20 x 100 feet area of rocks way off shore was littered with light and heavy weight junk targets.
My Minelab CTX 3030 allows me to discriminate certain targets if I choose to, but when I run across a target rich area like this patch of offshore rocks I prefer to dig all targets.
In my opinion, when you cannot move your search coil without detecting a target it is time to get stuck in and hope for gold. 
I was surprised only two pieces of gold were trapped in the rocks, but when one is a gold coin I will take it any day of the week and twice on Sundays. 
The number one concern in any target rich area is target masking, so removing as many targets as possible out of the area will help you to recover any gold that is being masked by larger objects in the area. 
All the lead fishing weights on my finds pouch are capable of masking a piece of gold, in fact I found the gold coin after I fanned a clump of crusty pennies and a lead sinker. 
I am sure some beach and shallow water hunters move away from "nuisance" areas with high amounts of targets, but I am not one of them. 
Totally clean out any target rich area you are lucky enough to run across, because you never know what is hidden by target masking or when the last time the area was thoroughly searched. 
There is a time to dig it all and a time for discrimination, more targets usually mean gold is hiding in the area, maybe even a gold escudo!!