Here are a few tips for Minelab Excalibur users.
1. Use the search mode that best suits the beaches you metal detect.
This means hunting in Discrimination on trashy tourist beaches and Pinpoint (All metal mode) on less trashy beaches.
There really is not that much of a depth advantage between the Discrimination and Pinpoint search modes on the Excalibur II to warrant digging all metal targets on tourist beaches. Unless you think all gold is magically trapped in the 10 to 12 inch depth range.
You run the risk of getting bogged down digging junk targets in your search for deep gold, instead of eventually finding easier to recover shallow gold targets covering more ground.
Know your beaches and use your knowledge of the local beaches and conditions to influence your choice of search mode.
Use the Pinpoint (all metal) search mode, or reverse hunting technique on less trashy beaches, especially on beaches known for old finds.
Old coins and artifacts are often encrusted in sand and coral, or attached to iron, the extra digging associated with using the Pinpoint search mode is worth the peace of mind knowing you are leaving anything good behind.
2. Use it like you stole it!
Get out of Auto Sensitivity as soon as you are comfortable using the Excalibur II, you get much better depth under normal beach and water hunting circumstances using manual sensitivity settings.
After you turn your Excalibur II on, turn the Sensitivity control in small increments until it is a little chattery, back the sensitivity setting down to a point where you only get the occasional false signal when sweeping the search coil.
You should be riding your sensitivity as hot as possible, and be prepared to tweak the sensitivity control over the course of a beach or water hunt.
Adjust your sensitivity at least every half hour when covering large areas, or when you go from the water or wet sand to the dry.
If you run across black sand, do not be afraid to try Auto sensitivity, it is better to sacrifice depth and find shallow targets, than find no targets at all by running at too high a sensitivity level.
The car low beams being better in fog is a good way of explaining the problems of using too much power in black sand.
3. Silence is not golden
When searching in trashy areas, you need to kill your sweep speed, or risk missing valuable targets.
Once your threshold (back ground noise) drops out when using the Discrimination mode, you are not detecting anything except iron!
The time it takes for your threshold (back ground noise) to return, is commonly referred to as your metal detector recovery speed.
A slow recovery speed can make you miss gold, even if your search coil passes directly over a piece of gold.
The bigger the iron object, the more chance you have of missing gold in trashy areas.
You can improve your recovery speed by sweeping your search coil very slowly in trashy areas, ultra slow sweep speeds on trashy sites increase the chances of picking up a partial or full gold signal response.
If you are not hearing a threshold, you are not actually detecting anything until the threshold returns.
The Minelab Excalibur II has a great reputation and loyal following amongst beach and water hunters, when you use one you will know why.
All of these tips and many more can be found in my Minelab Excalibur Pro User Guide, available on my website book page at www.garydrayton.com or all good metal detecting stores.