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Monday, October 27, 2014

Putting your search coil over gold

Yesterday morning I went to a popular tourist beach to search for gold jewelry, surprisingly I had the beach to myself. 
I never saw one other person metal detecting on this busy south Florida beach,  and then it dawned on me why I had not seen other people metal detecting.  
It was approaching high tide, maybe if I had waited around until two hours before low tide I would have seen other people metal detecting on Sunday. 
It still amazes me how much gold jewelry I still recover on heavily hunted beaches, I guess I am lucky the local beach and water hunters do not read this blog lol! 
The beach I visited for three hours early on Sunday morning, usually has more water hunters than beach hunters. 
Even though it is a busy beach, most people metal detecting are either water hunting with the navy seal look in deep water, or beach hunting by walking a straight line in the wet sand and running to the next beach to walk in another straight line. 
The water was sanded in, but I have always found plenty of gold in the wet and dry sand, so that is where I began my search for more gold. 
This is one of the good things about being a versatile beach hunter, not being a one trick pony blindly searching the same way every time. 
I decided to search the place on this beach that other beach and water hunters walk away from, the busy beach entrance. 
It was very early in the morning, the perfect time to search the beach entrance without getting bombarded with "What are you looking for?" questions.  
The 14K wedding band was recovered close to the water, trying to beat the full high tide to the area. 
The 10K ring with small diamond chips was recovered along the high tide line, the 18K band was recovered mid beach up in the dry sand. 
Three gold rings from three different areas of the beach,  no silver jewelry and not a lot of junk, but stacks of clad coins. 

It was great to be out with a metal detector in my hand for the first time this month, and still good to see the glint of gold as the Florida sun rises. 
If you want to put your search coil over gold,  check out your local beach and water hunting competition, you may be surprised just how little of the beach they really cover. 
Avoid being a slave to the low tide, avoid only searching one area of the beach, becoming a versatile beach hunter is the key to putting your search coil over gold. 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beach hunting at night

I love using my metal detector in the dark, especially when I am searching for jewelry on tourist beaches. 
That may explain why I am rarely seen by other beach hunters, I am usually walking off a beach with gold when people are showing up to detect at first light. 
I prefer to use my Minelab CTX 3030 when "Cherry picking" for gold or silver jewelry at night. 
There are many advantages to beach hunting at night,  including the following:

You are far less likely to be approached by people asking what you are looking for, or what are you doing when you detect on the beach at night.
When you have a few good finds to your name, you attract less attention from other beach hunters, helping to keep your favorite sites a secret. 
Not being seen too many times at the same site will help keep you out of other beach hunters conversations. 
You may find you are the only person searching the beach on a night time low tide, if the beach is cut or eroded beach, you have a prime beach hunting situation to yourself.   
Metal detecting on the beach at night, your competition is automatically cut in half on tourist beaches, as very few local water hunters are on the beach at night, they will be in bed!
The productive high tide line is all yours at night,  yes thats not a typo, the productive high tide line.  Chains, sunglasses, dollar bills, wash ashore at high tide, just begging to be picked up by an enterprising beach hunter who has the beach all to themselves at night. 

These are just a few of the reasons I like to beach hunt at night, or a few hours before sunrise. 
With the high number of newbie water hunters, and the die hard "Its all in the water" guys, metal detecting on the beach at night has never been so attractive. 
Use a discrimination search mode on trashy tourist beaches, or an all metal search mode and dig all targets on cleaner beaches with fewer trash targets. 
I hardly ever use a head lamp on tourist beaches, there is usually enough city light to see what you are doing,  although a little extra help from a head lamp does help during the final  target recovery process. 
This vintage 18K Cartier diamond and emerald ladies ring is a night beach hunting find from a couple of years ago. 

The ring was one of 50 pieces of gold jewelry I recovered night hunting at an eroded local beach, using the night or pre dawn hours to protect myself from being seen at the productive site. 
I saw no other people searching this beach at night, when mother nature opens this site up again, you can count on me to be metal detecting after hours and yawning most of the following day.  
I could write a book about some of the things I have seen on the beach metal detecting at night, and fill a photo album of bling recovered while the competition are tucked up in bed.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two examples of beach and water hunting outside the box

My 300 year old Spanish treasure ring is a perfect example of what is possible when you are not a box hunter.
This magnificent 22K inca gold 1715 fleet emerald ring, was recovered on a Treasure Coast beach back in the summer of 2005. 

I was one of the few people still searching for Spanish treasure coins and artifacts on the beach that summer. 
Just like today, there were many more water hunters searching tourist beaches for modern bling. 
I assume any Treasure Coast beach expert would have said their was little chance of finding anything during the sanded in summer months. 
Alternatively, here is an awesome old 18K jade ring recovered inside the water close to a rumored 1800s shipwreck in south Florida. 

Instead of beach hunting like everyone else after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I braved the raging surf close to shore at low tide to mine a productive trough. 
No doubt, all the die hard local water hunters stayed at home until the surf calmed down. 
The attached photos of two bucket list old gold rings, show you what can happen when you think outside the box.
In true Jack Sparrow style, there are no pirate rules, more like a set of guidelines. 
Never get too wrapped up in following beach and water hunting guidelines, or you may miss what you are searching for.
Talking of box hunting guidelines, I wonder how many beach and water hunters are going detecting two hours before low tide today at their usual beach?
Or bothering to go beach or water hunting, because they read or heard somewhere that the beach conditions are not very good. 
In my opinion, anywhere, anytime, anyway, is the only way to beach and water hunt. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Discrimination patterns on metal detectors with screens.

I am often contacted by people who ask me if I could send them the discrimination pattern and settings I use on the Minelab CTX 3030. 
My basic starting point for a discrimination pattern to use on a trashy tourist beach is normally a cropped down version of the preset Beach Mode.
The basic starting point for a beach where I have a chance of finding old shipwreck coins and artifacts is a blank screen, or Pattern 2 of the preset Beach Mode.
From these two basic starting point patterns, I tweak my control settings to suit the conditions present, or the size search coil and targets I am looking for. 
I have no "Gary's Beach pattern"  because I do not think it is a good idea to pass around discrimination patterns and settings to people who search very different beaches all over the world. 
Earlier in the year I was talking at at a couple of metal detecting events, I was approached by a few CTX 3030 users who showed me discrimination patterns on their CTXs, down loaded from UK and US detecting forums. 
Some of their discrimination patterns were shockingly shaded out screens for US east coast tourist beaches.  
The heavily shaded out discrimination patterns, certainly explained why these CTX 3030 users were struggling to find gold and silver jewelry. 
I edited the heavily shaded out search patterns and gave control settings advice, hopefully helping the CTX 3030 users to see the benefits of testing targets and using moderate amounts of discrimination. 
If you are using a metal detector with a screen, it is always best to try the recommended preset discrimination patterns, but to test targets and create a safety non shaded area so you do not miss valuable targets close to shaded out areas. 
The easiest way of doing that without testing targets at the beach, is to trim the preset discrimination patterns, but you cannot beat actually testing the pattern by using a variety of the targets you are searching for. 
I see two very different views of beach and shallow water hunting, those in the dig it all camp and people who prefer to use discrimination. 
In my opinion, there are many different ways of using a metal detector with a screen, that is the beauty of  using a smart metal detector. 
You make the decisions and you can change the way a metal detector with a screen is used.
Just like the screen shot below, my normal response to questions about discrimination patterns is there is no one way, just your way and what works best for you on the beaches you metal detect on. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Learning on the job

I like to believe I am always learning and evolving as a beach treasure hunter, open to different things and not standing still. 
I just could not imagine using the same metal detector at the beach, the same way, in the same area all the time. 
Versatility and the ability to change, are hopefully two of my strongest assets as a beach and water hunter. 
Every year I come across many different situations at the beach, certain things that may cause me to rethink my beach and water hunting strategy and run with something different for a while.
It could also be after trying a new metal detector or search coil, or simply a beach I had never tried before.
If you look at photos I post on the internet, you will see photos taken in the water, on the wet sand and up on the dry sand. 
I use different metal detectors, different size search coils, and search many different beach sites. 
Every year I recover a variety of finds and this year has been no exception,  with a heathy mix of modern and old finds. 
This year I learned a couple of good tricks that allowed me to recover a few metal detecting firsts, some of these finds I will reveal towards the end of the year. 
Earlier in the year I picked up a good trick on a beach with large rocks, I was able to detect above the rocks using my a very large search coil and still recover the targets I was searching for. 
You could say I used the large search coil to find shallow targets trapped in the rocks. 
In a six week period over the summer I used small search coils to recover 6 ounces of gold jewelry from  difficult to detect areas, in places other beach and water hunters disregard. 
My internet find posts are often followed with the questions, what metal detector or search coil was you using, and where on the beach did you recover them?
Of course, I get more than my fair share of beach and water hunters crying about my finds, but that comes with the territory. 
If you do the same things over and over again, you are probably going to get the same results over and over again. 
That is not a good thing for a beach or water hunter searching for jewelry and coins, adapting and changing techniques prevent long periods of not finding anything at all. 
When is the last time you tried a different beach or water hunting technique? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Good foundations

Becoming a consistent jewelry or coin hunter is like building a house from the ground up. 
You cannot start building by adding the roof and interior decorations first,  you must start by creating a solid foundation to support the structure. 
Similarly, a jewelry or coin hunter must establish that foundation in technique before adding tricks or short cuts. 
In my opinion, the foundation you build is what leads to success in beach and water hunting. 
Far too many beach and water hunters look for short cuts when looking to build themselves into jewelry or coin hunters. 
You only have to look at internet metal detecting forums, to see how many people are willing to bypass building foundations to get ahead.
Wanting to know what metal detector will magically find gold without having to learn how to use it, advanced settings, hooked up with sites etc. 
There are no short cuts to jewelry or coin hunting success,  the foundation you build on is the only path to becoming a successful jewelry or coin hunter. 
When I consistently recover jewelry like these rings in this photograph,  they drive the local beach and water hunting competition nuts. 

My secret, I just stick to the basics, no short cuts or racing around trying to beat other people to over hunted beaches. 
Slow and low,  technically sound, I go to the beach to recover jewelry, not cover ground. 
Are you building solid beach and water hunting foundations, or looking for a roofer and interior decorator ? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Site reading skills

I believe I was fortunate to get into metal detecting from a bottle and clay pipe river hunting background. 
Research and knowing how to read tidal river banks helped me to find old bottles and clay pipes in England, objects lost hundreds of years ago recovered just using my twin optical scanners. 

When I started metal detecting, listening for signals from metal objects buried in the ground with a metal detector was child's play, compared to looking for surface clues to finding bottles and clay pipes on river banks. 
It does not take long to become skilled using a metal detector, and get an ear for gold and silver targets. 
I search Florida beaches for both old and modern gold and silver objects, sometimes lead, copper and bronze artifacts on shipwreck beaches. 
As a bottle and clap pipe digger, I was always researching and looking for more sites to add to the list of sites I already hunted.  
Just like beach hunting with a metal detector, river banks were either ripe for picking or covered over with little chance of finding anything.
Sometimes, knowing when NOT to search is more important than knowing when to search. 
That is the beauty of research and site selection, you can save yourself valuable time knowing before you go, the less you rely on lady luck the more you can be Johnny on the spot.
You put yourself in position to be successful when you are a confident beach or water hunter, armed with a good metal detector and knowledge of the site you intend to search. 
Ask yourself the question, if you could not use a metal detector on a good site, would you still find what you are searching for? 
My answer would definately be yes as I would find a way to recover what I was looking for using a spade, rake and sifter. 
It would be easier using a metal detector, but not impossible without one. 
Observational and site reading skills are very important parts of beach and water hunting, they allow you to recover good targets in less time. 
You can plod around for hours hoping to get lucky at the same sites all the time, or you can learn how to read sites, follow the clues and spend the majority of your time recovering targets instead of walking. 
Site reading skills compliment your metal detecting skills, always rely on your treasure hunting smarts to put you in position to find what you are searching for. 
Work with your metal detector, not against it by taking it out for walkies on the beach like a dog on the same route every time. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Natural coin and jewelry traps

I did not have time to travel around looking for good spots on Sunday afternoon,  so I relied on the natural beach landscape to help me keep my gold streak alive. 
Large rocks or boulders on the lower beach act as coin and jewelry traps, the area in this photo is always a good place to find coins and jewelry. 

I took advantage of the area,  all I had to do was spend two hours digging as many targets as possible to give myself a chance of finding gold. 
Luckily for me, one 14K gold ring was trapped in the area along with a a handful of coins. 
Areas with rocks on the lower beach are not always the most popular places to swim, especially at high tide when a swimmer would have no place to come ashore or risk getting pushed up against the rocks. 
At low tide these kind of areas open up and you can find coins and jewelry, if they are close enough to populated areas. 
These kind of beaches are not heavily hunted, but they can be excellent areas to find coins and jewelry when busier beaches are sanded in. 
You can also find targets trapped in the sides of rocks, a small search coil is ideal for pin pointing targets in crevices and small pockets in rocks. 
A pair of needle nose pliers or a flat head screwdriver work really well for coin and jewelry extraction when metal detecting on and around rocks.