Total Pageviews

Monday, May 26, 2014

Beach hunting with a screened metal detector

I remember the afternoon I recovered 12 pieces of gold jewelry on an eroded beach back in 2012. 
The eroded beach was mobbed with people using metal detectors, I arrived early in the afternoon and stayed for 5 hours. 
Obviously I had to follow several beach hunters already searching the large cut, which made me decide to just dig targets with low tones and numbers that could be gold. 
It was a tourist beach not known for old finds and I was using a screened metal detector to help me avoid digging junk targets.
In these type of beach hunting situations, I consider all clad coins and silver to be unwanted targets. 
Over the course of 5 hours slowly searching the cut, I recovered 12 pieces of gold and a pouch full of pull tabs, aluminum can slaw, foil and nickels. 
There are no major gold finds in this photograph, but I gave it my best shot to recover any expensive gold jewelry in the area. 

I used the best features of my metal detector, for the beach hunting situation I was presented with, instead of using the same techniques and settings for every beach hunting situation. 
I have seen some nice jewelry coming off the lower beach recently, around the towel line and in the wet sand, including the expensive diamond ring I recovered last week.
Target IDs on screened metal detectors are excellent aids to jewelry hunting, especially on tourist beaches where you have little chance of rejecting an old artifact. 
Far too many beach hunters are concerned about missing deep targets, instead of concentrating on recovering shallow targets within easy reach. 
If you have two, three or four hours to metal detect on a tourist beach, why waste time digging junk just in case you miss one deep gold target. 
You could probably recover ten shallow gold targets for every one deep gold target if you use a little discrimination. 
Digging all metal targets does not guarantee a beach hunter will find the most gold, especially on a busy beach. 
It just means you will have a few more aches and pains and eat through your metal detecting time faster. 
In my opinion, the person who finds the most gold on a tourist beach, is the person who avoids digging the most unwanted targets between gold finds. 

PS It was also very unusual to find a piece of gold jewelry with my name on it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is it really all in the water?

If you ask a water hunter why they only metal detect in the water, I dare say the majority of water hunters would answer " Because it is all in the water."
Maybe that is one of the reasons why I hardly ever see any water hunters metal detecting on the beach. 
No doubt, they would rather stay at home waiting for the surf to die down or low tide, before going metal detecting. 
I was a beach hunter long before becoming a water hunter, I have found far too many expensive pieces of modern jewelry and old treasure finds in the wet and dry sand to stop searching these two lucrative areas.
This expensive 18K white gold ladies ring with three diamonds was found mid beach yesterday, it is another reason why I never ignore the wet and dry sand at tourist beaches. 

To be honest, I did go to the local beach intending to water hunt for two hours during the low tide.
Although my plan was to water hunt, I never get into the water until I complete a basic search pattern of the wet and dry sand opposite the area I intend to go metal detecting in the water. 
I do this because I try hard not to be a "Box hunter", a person who only does one kind of beach hunting. 
I see many water hunters at my local beaches get straight into the water after turning on their metal detectors, the same people turn off their metal detectors and walk straight off the beach after getting out of the water. 
That assumes all jewelry is lost in the water, and probably one of the reasons why there are now many more water hunters than beach hunters on many heavily metal detected beaches. 
It is always nice and reassuring when water hunting, to know you did not leave an easy find behind for the next person who comes along with a metal detector on the beach opposite you. 
Something for people joining the rush to water hunt to think about, is it really all in the water? Or is that just another urban beach hunting myth,  put out there by water hunters who cannot be bothered to search in the wet and dry sand. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The all metal advantage.

Although I find at least a pound of modern gold jewelry every year, my real passion is metal detecting on the beaches of Florida for old Spanish treasure coins and artifacts.  
I can still walk off a Treasure Coast after spending hours without a signal and have a smile on my face, mainly because I enjoy the thrill of searching for old finds. 
Unlike modern jewelry hunting, finding old Spanish treasure coins and artifacts is much harder to do on a regular basis. 
You are definately more dependent on the wind and waves when beach hunting for old finds in Florida. 
To insure I have the best chance possible, I always search known shipwreck beaches using an all metal search mode. 
Using just a little discrimination, may cause you to miss an old find, especially if an object is encrusted  with coral or sand. 
The longer and deeper a target is buried in the sand on a shipwreck beach, the more likely a target has of being encrusted, or attached to iron when found.
I usually take my Minelab CTX 3030 and 17 X 13-inch search coil with me to the Treasure Coast when searching in all metal for deep targets on the beach. 
This hurricane season I will be taking my Minelab GPX 5000 with me when I know the beaches are eroded, a highly respected deep seeking beast of a pulse induction metal detector. 

The Minelab GPX 5000 is primarily regarded as a gold hunting machine, but my new investment will also hit on very deeply buried iron and bronze objects, like this "Arrow head" ship spike.

Large bronze, copper or iron objects found on beaches known for old shipwrecks, are an excellent  indication that you may find treasure coins in the area. 
If you are lucky enough to start finding heavy objects trapped in deeper layers of sand, forget about moving on. 
In my opinion, it is better to hammer a promising area, than trying to cover the rest of the beach. 
Change to a larger search coil if you can, notice the 18 X 12-inch search coil in the photo. 
Although I am constricting myself to searching away from the water with the non waterproof GPX 5000, I will never have to worry about being one of the first people to search an eroded beach. 
I will be able to take my time detecting targets that are simply out of detection range to most metal detectors on the beach. 
As I mentioned in my previous blog about using discrimination, there are beaches that using a discriminate search mode is the best option. 
Not being a one trick pony, I search plenty of beaches that an all metal search mode is the best option to maximize my Spanish treasure hunting time.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The discriminating beach hunter

Just like you should always use a metal detector that best suits the area you metal detect, you should always use a search mode that best fits the beaches you metal detect on. 
I always try to maximize my treasure hunting time, I dig all targets on slow beaches, but I try not to dig all targets on busy beaches. 
Every moment spent on the beach, or in the shallow water digging junk, is a missed opportunity to dig something worthwhile. 
This stick of gold, platinum and ice, is the reason why I use discrimination on tourist beaches. 

I spend less time digging junk, because of my choice of metal detector's and tourist beach treasure hunting strategy of getting to the good stuff before the competition.
Do not worry, you will still dig unwanted junk when you use a little discrimination, but it will be junk that you cannot walk over because it resembles the good stuff you are searching for. 
In my case, pull tabs, can slaw and lead fishing weights, all sound too good to ignore on my Minelab Excalibur II, or  sound and look too good using my Minelab CTX 3030.
Some old timers still prefer to "Dig it all" on every beach, but that makes no sense at all on every beach, especially beaches in heavily populated areas.  
In write ups that accompany photos of jewelry on my Facebook page, I often include the hours I spent metal detecting in order to find the pieces(s) of jewelry. 
Two, three or four hours is usually the maximum time I have to metal detect, but I still find jewelry on a regular basis. 
Beach reading skill's, metal detector choice, and using a little discrimination, help me to find treasure faster, without having to stay at the beach all day. 
Are you maximizing your treasure hunting time on busy beaches, or are you still wasting your time digging obvious junk targets?  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Loud booming signals

Heres a little tip for people new to beach and shallow water hunting,  the shallower a target is, the louder the target audio response will be through your headphones. 
This is a good tip for dry sanders, or people who like to metal detect along the high tide line on tourist beaches.
Loud ear splitting signals from soda and beer cans can be a pain when searching opposite parking lots or beach side bars on popular tourist beaches. 
The natural response from many beach hunters is to skip digging really loud signals that have a good chance of being tin cans, but you have to be careful you do not miss a good target. 
I remember finding this large gold and diamond ring a couple of years ago, I was sure it was just another tin can, after digging two crushed empty beer cans in the same area. 

Not wanting to take a chance on missing a watch, chain or large gold ring, I dug the target and was surprised by the large gold ring with diamonds clanking against the bottom of my scoop basket.
The 1836 gold coin in my previous blog entry was found after first scooping up three obvious bottle cap signals in the same area. 
The gold coin was being masked by the bottle caps, the gold ring in this photo was not, but I had another choice to make and I made the correct choice to dig.
It is always much easier to assume you have guessed the target after finding similar targets in the same area and walk on. 
Loud booming signals often turn out to be just junk,  and the softest signals often end up being good targets. 
It would be nice if it always turned out that way, but it does not, which is the reason why you should never walk away from loud booming signals. 
Many popular tourist beaches are now over run with people who are able to go metal detecting every day, the last thing you want to do is leave an easy find behind for the next guy following you with a metal detector.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Expect the unexpected when beach or water hunting.

One of the many reasons I never assume anything in beach treasure hunting, is sometimes you get a golden surprise. 
Many beach and shallow water hunter's, get too wrapped up in expecting certain targets to be found at certain times, or at certain places. 
Lost coins and jewelry can be found at any time and anywhere on the beach and in the water.
The lower beach is probably one of the most productive areas on the beach, but only because it is constantly being changed by ebbing and flowing tides.  
The evening back in late 2011, when I found this superb condition 1836 gold $5 coin on the beach, the first thing I did was call my wife to say you are never going to believe what I just found. 

And that is exactly the point of this blog, you never know what you are going to find when you go beach or shallow water hunting.  
I have found many valuable pieces of jewelry in the dry sand, wet sand and water, that other beach and water hunters did not recover because it was highly unlikely anything of value would be found there. 
Unfortunately, the more time beach and water hunter's have under their belts, the more time they spend ignoring large areas of the beach. 
I make a big effort to avoid falling into the trap of thinking I know what is more likely to be found on certain areas of the beach. 
For instance,  a sanded in lower beach may mean plenty of aluminum pull tabs washing in at high tide.
Beach and water hunters who rely on other peoples beach ratings, may decide it is not worth going beach hunting because only lightweight junk awaits them.
I look at other peoples poor beach ratings as a golden opportunity to recover something good, perhaps a treasure coin or expensive diamond ring. 
Maybe this is the reason why I am always so excited to go metal detecting, I still think like a novice beach or shallow water hunter. 
Keeping an open treasure hunting mind, I keep that "Beginners luck" rolling on every beach I walk onto. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Beach hunting observations and help with beach hunting

Thanks to an unexpected break in work, I took advantage of a nice calm ocean at low tide yesterday morning.
As I searched in the water from chest to shoulder deep, I saw three other people metal detecting on the beach in the same area.
The lower beach and shallow water close to shore was pretty sanded in, but two of the beach hunters were trying to detect in the wet sand and wading into the water.
Two things really stood out as I caught the wet sanders / waders watching me every time I stopped to dig a target out in the water.
1. I was digging targets, they were not digging targets.
It was heavily sanded in along the lower beach, but the two beach hunters were oblivious to the poor lower beach conditions.
Meaning, they probably did not know how to read a beach and move up to the dry sand or deeper water.
2. They were using the wrong equipment.
Small hand sand scoops and non waterproof metal detectors are not a very wise choice for waders or shallow water hunters.
Even on the wet sand, you run the risk of getting hit by a rogue wave and totally ruining your metal detector.
I have mentioned this before, you are a more effective beach hunter when you move into the water or dry sand when the lower beach conditions stink.
A waterproof metal detector and long handled scoop, allows you to enter the water and easily recover targets, without turning your metal detector into an expensive paper weight.
When a metal detector is waterproof, it is a good bet that it can handle mineralized wet sand. 
I doubt the two single frequency VLF metal detectors I saw being used on the wet sand performed very well in that area. 
The third person metal detecting in the upper dry sand was using a waterproof metal detector mounted on a heavy looking shaft, and digging targets with a garden spade. 
I came away from yesterdays water hunt with an idea to generate new clients for my latest metal detecting venture.

Today I will buy a small waterproof case to hold my new business cards, and hand cards out to potential clients I see on the beach. 
I will create competition for myself, but I believe there is more than enough jewelry and coins on the beach for me to still find my share. 
Using the correct treasure hunting equipment on the beach is just as important as learning how to read the beach.
Knowing how to read the beach is useless, if you cannot move and detect a better looking area

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Minelab CTX 3030 beach and water hunting tip

I frequently receive emails from other CTX 3030 users asking about the FE / CO numbers of platinum and gold rings I recover.
My answer is always the same, I am not sure but, I will test them and get back to you. 
Although the CTX 3030 has awesome visual target IDs, old habits die hard and I still always rely on my ears first to find gold. 
No matter how many times I check the FE / CO numbers of mid and high tones during a beach or water hunt, I still go into full dig mode forgetting to check the numbers when I hear a low tone.
I primarily search tourist beaches for lost jewelry, here is a tip for fellow jewelry hunters using the CTX 3030 on trashy tourist beaches. 
Customize your low and high tones using the Tone ID Profile feature on your CTX 3030.
Lowering the pitch of low conductive metal targets and raising the high conductive targets will train your ears to instinctively know when your search coil has passed over gold or silver. 
I have the settings I use in my new "Advanced CTX 3030 beach and water hunting techniques" book.
Customizing your audio tones to make gold and silver stand out from mid tones will help a jewelry hunter when metal detecting on heavily hunted sites, with competition already searching in the same area. 
Although my CTX 3030 FE / CO numbers are spot on with US quarters, dimes, and pennies, sometimes you get close numbers sounding a little different in the preset Tone ID  Profile settings. 
Gold jewelry may have many different alloys in the gold mix, customizing your low tones will help you avoid missing gold jewelry mixed with unusual alloys. 
In my opinion as a jewelry hunter, it is still better to hunt by ear, especially when you can customize target tones. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beach and water reading skill's

I remember when I first started beach hunting, my very first signal on my very first beach hunt was a Spanish silver eight reale from an old early 1600s Spanish galleon.  
Because of that first treasure coin, I would hammer away on Treasure Coast Spanish 1715 fleet wreck beaches searching for pieces of eight like a man possessed. 
I always call it beginners luck, but I still put myself in the right place at the right time because of observational skill's learned searching tidal river banks in England for old bottles and clay pipes. 
In my opinion, nothing puts more gold and silver in your finds pouch than beach and water reading skill's.
Learning how to read the beach and water is such an important part of beach treasure hunting, especially for people new to the hobby of beach and water metal detecting.
I dare say if I left my metal detector at home and took a spade to the beach at certain sites I could still recover something good.
It would be harder work than using a metal detector, but what I am trying to get across is when you know where the best looking areas on the beach are, your chances of finding gold or silver increase dramatically. 
Certain things on the beach are good signs, other things are bad signs, you only need one or two good signs in an area to outweigh many more bad beach hunting signs. 
Many beach and shallow water hunter's only see the bad signs, and do not bother to go metal detecting.
Other beach and water hunters read local beach conditions blogs for " beach upgrades," detecting forum posts,  or wait for news from hunting buddies, before going metal detecting. 
Im not complaining as this kind of second hand information really helps to keep my finds pouch full.
If you want to stay ahead of the pack, it is always better to base your treasure hunting plans on your own opinion of the beach or stretch of water you are planning on metal detecting.
The more time you spend beach or water hunting, the more you will learn what signs to look for on the beach that really improve your chances of finding jewelry or coins.
The next time you see or hear other beach hunters saying "The beaches are badly sanded in, and nobody is finding anything" take a look for yourself.
I guarantee some enterprising beach or shallow water hunter is finding something good some where. 
Savvy beach and shallow water hunters, rely on local knowledge of the beach, and beach reading skill's to recover jewelry and coins in the most sanded in conditions.