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.