Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My beach and water hunting new years resolution

I always have the same outlook when the new year arrives, I am going to move forward and see what else I can cross off my treasure hunting bucket list. 
This year was not too bad for jewelry hunting at the beach, as I found over a pound of gold and spent waaay less time than last year metal detecting. 
Beach and water treasure hunting is my hobby, but I am just as lucky away from the beach having a thriving business, a super wife and two beautiful young daughters to keep me busy. 
I take my beach and water hunting time when I can get it, which is why my new years treasure hunting resolution is always the same. 
Find a way to recover more jewelry and coins in less time, which usually involves changing tactics in the new year and trying new equipment and techniques. 
I make it my new years mission to mix things up and be more creative as a beach and water hunter. 
Striving to find more valuable targets in less time also involves mastering site selection, knowing where and just as importantly when to hunt.
The when to hunt is easy, anytime you feel like going to the beach is the best time to find jewelry or coins.
A wide variety of beach and water hunting sites is a must, if you want to find valuable targets on a regular basis in a shorter amount of time.
There is no site selection without a selection of sites to go metal detecting.
The full timers who have to spend all day at the beach to find something good, probably have to put long hours in because they search the same site or sites all the time.
Little things often make a huge difference when beach or water hunting, especially as you are sweeping a round coil with an average size of 10 inches over a large beach or in a wide open stretch of water.  
Targets could be big or small, shallow or deep, or not there at all no matter how many hours you spend searching. 
So why would you not want to mix things up, try searching a little differently or expand your search horizons. 
In the new year I am looking forward to testing and using different equipment and trying some different search techniques I have been working on. 
Yes this old dog does learn new tricks and hopefully they will help me to find more valuable targets in my allotted beach and water hunting time.  
Heres my favorite save from the summer of 2015, a $13.000.00 1.9 carat diamond ring. 


Saturday, December 26, 2015

The real deal and double checking at the beach

Yesterdays gold foil covered chocolate coins under the christmas tree reminded me of the last time I saw something similar. 
I had hammered an eroded section of beach for several evenings after work,  just finding old military buttons and musket balls.
A small area with mixed target signals produced three crusty modern bottle caps, but the forth and final target out of the hole I presumed was a foil covered chocolate coin. 
It had to be in my mind because when I saw this gold coin laying on the sand it looked in mint condition ( no pun intended) 

Reaching down for what I expected to be a piece of chocolate, I remember feeling disappointed until I picked it up and could feel the weight of the gold coin. 
This has happened to me on many previous occasions, things are not always what they first appear to be when beach or water hunting.
I presumed three of my favorite finds were all other things before picking them up off the sand, my emerald treasure ring a gold colored wire bale off a champagne bottle, my diamond Scottish masonic ring a gold ball and this gold coin a candy coin. 
I often wonder how many beach and water hunters presume they know what a target is, make a mistake identifying them and not bother to pick them up.
An easy way to never leave a find of a lifetime behind at the beach, is to be a clean beach or water hunter.
Pick up everything you detect and stop to dig up, take everything you dig up and will fit in your finds pouch home because it often pays to be a clean treasure hunter.
You may have a valuable object in your finds pouch and not know it until you inspect your "Trash" finds at home. 
I go one step further, by stopping and investigating obvious areas disturbed by other beach or water hunters.
Every year I find several pieces of gold jewelry or old coins left behind by sloppy beach or water hunters.
Remember my old gold coin story the next time you dig up a crusty bottle cap at the beach, you never know what valuable piece of jewelry or coin is being masked by  one or several trash targets.
Double check your holes and double check any uncovered holes left behind by sloppy beach or water hunters.
Never assume anything at the beach, sometimes objects are not always what they appear until you pick them up, and just because you see signs of digging it does not mean the previous digger recovered everything. 


Monday, December 21, 2015

Less chatter, more gold.

I am always asked what level of sensitivity I run my metal detectors at on the beach and in the water, "Running smooth" is usually my response. 
My smooth metal detector sensitivity control setting is always a reaction to the beach or water hunting conditions present as I start searching, I never not set my metal detector sensitivity control.
The only exception to this is when I use a screened metal detector with preset sensitivity levels that automatically compensate for changing ground conditions. 
Im my opinion, it is always better to set your metal detector sensitivity level when you get to the beach, it should not be a set and forget metal detector control setting. 
Many beach and water hunters are not aware that salinity levels can change dramatically at saltwater beaches.
If you are not aware of this, you may blame a chattery metal detector on offshore shipping or a beachside construction crane. 
Setting your metal detector sensitivity to suit the beach conditions present is easy, and it should be the first thing you do as you start metal detecting. 
Cover a little area in front of you, readjust your sensitivity control and repeat until you are confident you have your metal detector running smoothly. 
You are just fine tuning your metal detector to handle the saltwater beach, finding the highest setting that causes chatter and backing it off until your metal detector runs smoothly with the lowest amount of false signals.
When you set your metal detector sensitivity manually, strive to have your metal detector running smooth, not hot. 
There are now far too many other people using metal detectors at the beach, to run a chattery metal detector.
At heavily hunted beaches a smooth threshold may well be your best shot at detecting that find of a lifetime you are searching for.
An expensive solitaire diamond ring can easily be ignored as just a blip or chirp from water rushing over your search coil, or a soaked area of sand on the lower beach that a wave just washed over.
Under setting, or over compensating for the ground being covered can be just as bad as running your metal detector too hot.
That is why if you are not a "Tweaker" and do not tweak your metal detector sensitivity control to suit the conditions, you run the risk of missing valuable targets.
Running a metal detector with too low of a sensitivity level will cause you to miss deep targets or targets on the edge of detection range. 
I regularly use a Minelab Excalibur for beach and water hunting, the majority of Excalibur users I have ever met and talked to always have a preset sensitivity level, maybe that is why I like following other Excalibur users on the beaches I search at. 
When my wife says Im a sensitive guy, I look at some of the diamond rings she like to wear and reply, yes I am! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bad luck, bad search technique or bad settings ?

I was chatting to a detecting friend a few days ago about heavily hunted beaches and how some people struggle to detect gold rings at the beach.
My friend pointed out that a couple of retired guys hit the same popular beach every day and how he was unlikely to find anything because the beach was heavily hunted.
I pointed out that several of the guys who hit that beach on a daily basis post on detecting forums. 
Photos of the beach and photos of junk and silver jewelry, but hardly any gold which raises a red flag to me.
Having seen the junk and silver jewelry posted, I told my friend that it is quite obvious why they are not finding gold and it is not bad luck.
If you are regularly searching a tourist beach and only finding silver or junk jewelry, you need to look at your search technique and metal detector settings. 
Anyone can detect silver or junk jewelry, but not everyone can detect gold jewelry.
You have to use the correct search techniques and tune your metal detector to give yourself a chance of detecting gold jewelry. 
Walk too quickly and you walk straight over gold, sweep too fast or too high and you miss gold.
Have your metal detector sensitivity level set too high and you fail to hear gold jewelry between the false signals, too high a discrimination setting and you notch out gold jewelry.
I dare say there is gold on any tourist beach in the world, and no matter how heavily hunted the beach is the majority of searchers are using bad search techniques or they have their metal detector controls incorrectly set up. 
That gives you a very good chance of detecting gold, if you spend time improving your search technique and set your metal detector controls up correctly.
I rarely rely on luck, I would rather rely on my search techniques and trusting the metal detector I use.
Good search techniques and a fine tuned metal detector are a killer beach or water hunting combination.
Let the average beach hunters clean the beach of junk and silver jewelry,  go for the often smaller more valuable jewelry with sparkly diamonds by working on search technique and actually testing to see what responses you get from gold jewelry test targets at the beach. 
Heres what Im talking about,  a bobby dazzler diamond engagement ring found last year before sunrise at a heavily hunted south Florida beach.  

With good search techniques and a hot metal detector you can make your own luck. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Battery tips

Nothing puts a damper on a beach or water hunt than not keeping tabs on your metal detector batteries. 
If you have been beach or water hunting a long time, you should know how important it is to have your metal detector batteries charged.  Nothing is worse than arriving at a beach to see excellent beach or water hunting conditions, but you cannot take advantage of them because you neglected to make sure you have enough juice for your metal detector. 
Traveling long distances to detect and having battery problems is the ultimate downer. 
Nine times out of ten, if your main battery pack is not charged your back up battery pack is going to be in just the same state. 
You should always make sure your main and spare battery packs are charged and ready to go, especially if you seldom use the spare battery pack. 
I make a point of alternating battery packs so I can guarantee my spare battery pack is good to go if my main battery pack is drained.
Any battery pack I use is charged after every beach or water hunt, I use Nimh battery packs that have very little charge memory. 
Although I have only ever had one battery problem spoil a metal detecting trip many years ago, I vowed it will never happen again and it has not.
Two rechargable battery packs, an alkaline pack and spare batteries for the alkaline pack, all leave the house with me when I go to the beach to metal detect.  
My thermo nuclear option detecting battery kit, insure that if I need to stay and take advantage of excellent conditions I can. 
The back up battery pack to me is the important thing to remember, especially if you do not use it very often.
People have a bad habit of keeping the back up battery pack in their vehicle for many weeks or months, sometimes in very hot vehicles which can damage the batteries or battery pack. 
Damaged terminals can render the battery pack useless, but unfortunately you do not find that out until you really need and want to use it. 
I do not recommend you leave AA batteries in your spare alkaline battery pack for long periods, just in case they do corrode and ruin the battery pack. 
When I do put batteries in a pack, I write the date the batteries were installed on a piece of blue painters tape.
I do the same thing on my rechargable packs if recharging after a hunt is not possible, so I can keep track of the hours I have used the pack.
As a rule I like to use fresh batteries, more juice equals more detection depth and better target IDs on many metal detectors.
Battery packs and batteries may seem like a boring subject, until you are are faced with excellent treasure hunting conditions and have to leave the beach because your metal detector will not power on. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Discrimination or all metal, which search mode is better at the beach?

Nothing gets more people panties in a wad on a detecting forum than the question, is it better to dig all metal targets at the beach or use discrimination? 
Heres my two pennies worth, you have to use both search modes to help you find what you are looking for.
Anyone who tells you that you should only use one search mode all the time just in case you miss one valuable target is living in the past. 
Just like times change, metal detecting equipment changes and you have to change with the times or get left behind.
In the old days you probably needed a pulse induction metal detector to get exceptional target depth, now you can put a large search coil on your VLF metal detector and detect deep targets, but leave deep trash targets behind.
You can now use VLF metal detectors with target discrimination features to search for valuable targets at trashy beach sites and leave non valuable targets behind. 
Nothing wastes more time in excellent beach or water hunting conditions, than being stubborn or too set in your ways.
In my opinion, using the same search mode at every beach is just as out dated as showing up at the beach two hours before low tide. 
A couple of my favorite metal detectors are modified allowing me to switch between search modes, another one of my favorite metal detectors I can just press a button to change between search modes. 
I often start out using an all-metal search mode at the beach and change to a discrimination search mode, or vice versa.
Beach and water hunting comes down to making the most of your allotted metal detecting time. 
If you dig all metal targets on a trashy beach you are basically going to dig a pouch full of trash before you find something of value, unless you get tired or run out of metal detecting time. 
If you reject unwanted trash targets by using discrimination, you have a better chance of recovering something good before your arm drops off or you run out of metal detecting time. 
Alternatively, if you use discrimination on a beach with few metal targets, you may miss valuable targets that are rejected because they cannot be identified on the edge of detection range. 
It is absolute beach or water hunting madness to strictly stick to using only one type of search mode. 
Avoid being a beach or water hunter who does the same thing at the same place at the same time. 
Recover more valuable targets, by adapting to beach sites and using the search mode that best suits the site during the conditions you encounter after you arrive to metal detect. 
I cannot remember what type of search mode I was using when I recovered these pieces of jewelry, I used the search mode that gave me the best chance of recovering them on the day.

Monday, December 7, 2015

More on keeping a level search coil

A correctly adjusted metal detector shaft will help you to keep your search coil level during the sweeping action.
It will also save you from back, shoulder and arm aches, allowing you to stay at the beach metal detecting longer.
I adjust my metal detector shaft differently for shallow water hunting than beach hunting.
In the water I prefer to have my metal detector shaft a little shorter, because I often use a snorkel and mask in water with good visibility.  
A shorter metal detector shaft balances out the natural bending and moving forward action of having your head in the water to see. 
You also get on better sweeping and scooping targets just in front of your feet in the water.
I actually search much slower in the water than on the beach, everything about my sweeping technique in the water is more condensed. 
On the beach I prefer to have my search coil a little further in front of me, using a wider sweeping arc.
As I am more likely to use a large search coil on the beach than in the water, the metal detector shaft is adjusted longer to help balance out the weight of a larger search coil and help me to cover a wider area. 
No matter if you are searching on the beach or in the water, a correctly adjusted metal detector shaft helps your sweeping technique and ultimately helps you to keep your search coil level through-out each sweep.
When I see "Golf swingers" at the beach, a metal detector shaft that is too short is usually the main reason for their search coil being six inches above the sand.
Little things often make a big difference in beach and water hunting, searching with your metal detector shaft set to a comfortable length is one of those little things.
If you are not comfortable, drill another hole in your metal detector shaft for your lower rod to fit into, or buy a "Tall man" lower rod. 
Another part of keeping a level search coil is having your search coil fastened to the lower rod tightly. 
Make sure the nylon bolt and nut is nice and tight, maybe its time to replace it if you have a floppy search coil.
From experience I can tell you that level search coils hugging the sand lead to great finds at the beach. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A common beach hunting fail

Search coil control is often overlooked by beach hunters, but it should not be because keeping a level search coil helps with both target detection and target depth. 
In my opinion, the popularity of large search coils has increased the number of people I see raising search coils at the end of their sweeps. 
So too has certain heavy metal detectors, users struggling to sweep their search coils because of metal detector weight issues.
A well balanced metal detector is a must for anyone thinking of spending the day beach hunting. 
If you insist of swinging a heavy metal detector or search coil, try mounting the control box on a balanced straight shaft, hip / chest mounting the control box, or using a detecting harness. 
The metal detectors I prefer to use at the beach are all well balanced or can be mounted differently to make them well balanced. 
Raising your search coil at the end of each sweep may cause you to miss finds like this piece of 22K gold found on a Treasure Coast beach a couple of years ago. 

The ornate piece of jewelry came off a beach where two 1700s ships are known to have wrecked.
I detected the gold at the very end of a sweep, just as I have detected many other treasure coins and artifacts on Treasure Coast beaches. 
A few of the non equipment related flaws that lead to raised search coils, are detecting pace and how high your search coil is swept over the sand.
The faster your metal detecting pace, the more inclined you are to swing your metal detector shaft like a gold club. 
The closer to the sand you keep your search coil, the more difficult it is to raise your search coil at the end of each sweep.
Put the two together by reducing your detecting pace and keeping your search coil on the sand, the more treasure you will put in your finds pouch. 
Another important thing is making sure your search coil is level to start with, especially if you use a metal detector that has the search coil attached to the shaft at the rear of the search coil.
A tilted and raised search coil at the end of each sweep is double trouble to a beach hunter.
Learn to control the level of your search coil, it will help you to detect targets deeper and more importantly detect targets!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The giant sandy conveyor belt

Here are a few lines from my "Jewelry Hunting " book that may help improve your jewelry hunting chances at the beach.

Many beach hunters wrongly assume that all jewelry is lost in the water, but I strongly disagree having found thousands of pieces of jewelry on the beach. 
My theory is the lower beach is like a giant sandy conveyor belt, with tides moving jewelry up and down the beach like a push penny arcade game. 
I believe, jewelry lost in the water will eventually be thrown up onto the beach and jewelry lost on the beach will eventually be pulled down into the water. 
The sandy conveyor belt is the reason why I find Spanish treasure coins on the beach opposite Spanish shipwrecks on the Treasure Coast of Florida. 
Treasure coins scattered on the reefs, get pushed up onto the beaches during high surf. 
Treasure coins also get pulled out of the dunes and washed down into the water. 
The same thing happens to modern jewelry and coins lost in the water at the beach. 
I am certain you can find jewelry almost anywhere at the beach, from inside the water to the top of the beach. 
The next time you go to the beach, look for signs of previous high tide lines on the beach.
Previous high tide lines can be identified by lines of seaweed or shells running paralel to the shoreline. 
Any  previous high tide line may contain jewelry, just waiting for you to detect and scoop up. 
Once you start believing that it is possible to find jewelry anywhere on the beach, you will be less inclined to be a one-dimensional beach hunter. 
I class the beach as three separate but connected areas, the water, lower beach and upper beach. 

When you understand the connection between all three beach areas, you will understand why you can find almost anything anywhere at the beach.  

One of my best finds of 2015 is this two carat "Bobby Dazzler" detected in a previous high tide line.
You just never what may be waiting for you at the end of the sandy conveyor belt. 
My "Jewelry hunting" book is available on my website at amazon and metal detector stores. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Eroded beach rule number one, take your time.

News of eroded (cut) beaches travels fast, especially on heavily hunted beaches, but that does not mean you have to be the first person searching an eroded beach to find gold.
These twelve pieces of gold jewelry were found three years ago on an eroded Florida beach, with at least a dozen people already searching the beach.

I saw the cut beach on a webcam and drove two hours to go search it, despite knowing people were already metal detecting at the beach. 
I slowly searched along the base of the cut for five hours, covering no more than a quarter mile stretch of tourist beach. 
The surprising thing about that afternoon was just how much gold jewelry I detected along the base of the cut, even though it was pock marked with dug holes left behind by other beach hunters.
I have been in many of these type of situations before and I know that speed kills your chance of detecting anything good.
People always make the mistake of picking up the pace when several people are searching an eroded beach.
They see competition and try to cover too much of the beach before the competition.
A good beach hunting mind set to have is not to be in competition with anyone, have no competition but yourself.
I actually slow down when I see other people metal detecting at the beach, because I have no competition and I am not in a race to detect anything before anyone else.
I have supreme confidence in my beach hunting skills and I am going to detect a site thoroughly, even if it has already been searched by other people. 
In my opinion, when you leave a beach you gave it your best shot, no matter the outcome. 
The only way to give a eroded beach a good shot is by covering the area slowly and methodically, or risk leaving a find of a lifetime behind for another beach hunter who is not in a hurry to cover the whole site. 
Oh and the reason I chose to search along the base of the cut that day, was because I know many people ignore searching close to a cut at low tide, assuming the area has been hammered. 
The second surprising thing about that afternoon was recovering a piece of jewelry with my name on it. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Detecting bands at the beach

For a beach hunter searching for jewelry, wedding bands should be some of the easiest pieces of jewelry to detect at the beach.
The conductivity and shape of platinum or gold bands, make them easier for your metal detector to detect.  
I tune my metal detectors to detect thin platinum and gold bands, which can be both shallow or deep targets depending on the weight of the band.
The platinum and gold bands in this photo where all found within a three month beach and water hunting period last year.

I scrap several ounces of gold jewelry every quarter and the majority of the scrap pile gold is always bands, or what I like to refer as "Bread and butter" gold finds.
Tuning your metal detector to detect thin gold bands will insure you detect large gold bands.
When is the last time you experimented with your metal detector settings at the beach? 
Take a thin gold band in a small plastic bag to the beach, lay the bag on top of the sand and see what metal detector settings help you to detect the thin gold band.
If you cannot detect a thin gold band you are not going to have a chance of detecting highly sought after solitaire diamond engagement rings. 
Check out my finds page on my website and you will see what you are missing, as many expensive diamond rings are all expensive diamond mounted on a relatively thin platinum or gold bands. 
A good combination of ladies rings with stones and bands of all sizes means you are detecting a wide range of jewelry.
Your metal detector settings are set up correctly if you are able to detect small and large jewelry. 
If you scroll through my website finds page or previous FB posts, you will see all shapes and sizes of platinum, gold and silver jewelry.  
The type of jewelry that have detecting forum members reaching for the Pepto-bismol and leaves the local competition scratching their heads.
Making sure your metal detector is set up to detect thin and small pieces of gold jewelry, will also give you a chance of detecting broken bands. 
You may be surprised to know what a different audio response you will get from a band with a broken resizing or solder point.
If you have a broken band, put it in a small plastic bag and take it to the beach to see how your metal detector responds to it. 
In closing, strive to detect a wide variety of all shapes and sizes of jewelry, by making sure your metal detector is set up to detect small gold.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

The money line

This weekend I found another gold chain along the place at the beach I refer to as the "Money line." 
On a heavily hunted tourist beach, it is not hard to figure out that this was a shallow target.
The surprising thing about the find was the lack of other beach or water hunters in the area, I had the place all to myself and for a couple of good reasons.
The surf was rough, so the full time "Its all in the water" hunters stayed at home and it was high tide so many of the "Two hours before low tide" detecting forum and detecting club members stayed at home.
High tide leaves a money line twice a day at tourist beaches all around the world, but many beach and water hunters still prefer to see more of the lower beach exposed before going coin or jewelry hunting.
The great thing about a high tide line can be that you do not have to cover so much area, you can just search along the high tide line.
Heck, you can even pick some really cool things up at the beach walking along a high tide line. 
Recently I have been restricted to being a weekend warrior, going metal detecting when I have the chance at the weekend. 
I cannot pick and choose my times now work has picked up, so I go regardless of the tide times.
The high tide should never be looked at as hinderance or negative thing, especially at a tourist beach. 
This 14K gold chain read 2 inches deep on my CTX 3030 target depth display, I saw part of the gold chain after pushing sand away from the area with my boot. 

I thought it may have been a pair of designer sunglasses and did not want to damage them with my scoop. 
This also goes to show how jewelry and coins are washed up and deposited along a tourist beach high tide line. 
If you are lucky enough to be there at high tide you could take home some freshly deposited gold from the money line. 
My favorite way of searching the money line is in a straight line, using a metal detector that is not effected by water rushing over the search coil or effected by soaking seaweed washed up on the high tide line. 
The money line has been very good to me, I have found everything from Spanish treasure coins, to modern gold bling,  designer sunglasses and paper money. 
In my opinion, the more rules you set for yourself when jewelry and coin hunting at the beach, the more jewelry and coins you leave behind for other people. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

No set search pattern or set beach hunting time

These two things set me apart from many other beach or shallow water hunters. 
I never know how I am going to search at the beach until I get there and I never look at tide charts, even when I go water hunting.
Already knowing how you are going to search a beach before you get there, assumes you are going to do the same thing you do at every beach. 
Timing your beach or water hunts to coincide with low tide, assumes you are only going to search the wet sand or shallow water. 
Also notice how I say beach and water hunting, unlike many people who only search one or the other. 
Using different search patterns to suit the conditions present and arriving at the beach regardless of the tide, will insure you cover different areas at the beach.
I cannot say I have found more jewelry and coins in one area of the beach than any other area of the beach. 
Because I do not wait until two hours before low tide to hit the beach, the tides often work in my favor forcing me to search an area I may otherwise have ignored.
If you search heavily hunted beaches, this is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition. 
The majority of the competition on a heavily hunted beach will show up to detect two hours before the next low tide.
Many empty finds pouches are self inflicted, you snooze you lose when jewelry or coin hunting at the beach. 
You also handicap yourself by not straying from your search comfort zone, same time, same area, same style beach or water hunting usually end with the same result. 
In my opinion, there are set ways or set times to search a beach with a metal detector. 
more like a set of guidelines as Jack Sparrow would say. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Iron infested site tips

Some of my best finds came off beaches that are very tough to search because of iron.
Large iron objects buried in the sand make it very tough to search a beach, especially if you are not familiar with the area.
Many beach or water hunters think they can search an iron infested beach effectively by using a search coil, but a small search coil is useless if used incorrectly.
You have to reduce your search pace and sweep speed down to a crawl when using a VLF metal detector and small search coil at any iron infested beach site. 
Do not be afraid to put your metal detector down and move iron obstacles around if you can, you may be the first person searching under or around the iron object you moved. 
I have several iron obstacles I use as jewelry traps on local beaches, when I visit these beaches I go straight to known obstacles to move them.
Any jewelry or coins close to the obstacles are easily detected after moving the iron obstacles. 
Fishing piers are perfect examples of trashy iron infested beach sites, full of corroding fish hooks, bottle caps, beer cans and flakes of iron from the pier. 
The closer you metal detect to a fishing pier the more corroding junk you encounter, the more that little voice kicks in telling you to move away from the area. 
Instead of moving away from an iron infested site, do everything you can to detect jewelry or coins hidden amongst the iron. 
Search the area from different directions and expect good targets to be effected by any iron in the area. 
You cannot expect all good targets to respond with two way repeatable signals, especially sitting on, or close to iron.
Any one way target response should be investigated, use your scoop or foot to move sand away from the target area. 
Wiggle your search coil over the target area, try to coax a better target response if you can.
Think of yourself as the first person taking the time to recover jewelry or coins at the site, because often you are!
Iron masking is enemy number one when it comes to jewelry and coin hunting at the beach using a VLF metal detector. 
A shallow target can easily be missed if you do not put all your efforts into target separation, instead of target depth.
You single out, or hone in on good targets amongst multiple iron targets by giving your metal detector time to detect a good target.
Sometimes the easiest targets to detect are in the hardest places to search, if you take the time to search iron infested beach sites. 
This gold and silver jewelry came out of an iron infested site earlier in the year, I moved two old cast iron drain pipes out of way and the area was loaded with targets. 

I wonder how many water hunters at this popular beach got to the pipes, heard the null and walked around before I decided to put my metal detector down and move the pipes. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Aim small miss small.

I am a big fan of dividing beaches up into small areas and covering those smaller sections really well.
If you try to cover too much of a beach, you run the risk of walking over valuable targets. 
The majority of beach and water hunters I see are straight line searchers, people who walk and search in one straight line at the beach. 
The two most common type of straight line hunters at many beaches hit the low tide. Searching a straight line way out in the water, or along the beach next to the waters edge. 
When you search in one straight line at the beach, you are not doing yourself any favors except for extra cardio from all the walking. 
You could probably get lucky by walking a straight line along the beach, but hoping to stumble across something good is not a good beach or water hunting plan. 
In my opinion, you are better off doing the least amount of searching in a straight line as possible. 
I prefer to use a tight zig zag search pattern across a beach, hoping to latch onto a target or two. 
When targets are detected I narrow my search pattern, instead of completely walking away from the area in a straight line as many other beach and water hunters do.
I have found far too many pieces of valuable jewelry to ever walk away from an area with multiple targets. 
Sometimes, I have recovered great finds only after completing a different search grid over an area.
Ferrous and non ferrous targets hide jewelry and coins, a nice tight search pattern gives you a chance of recovering the maximum amount of targets in an area.
Some people like to cover all the beach in one hunt, I prefer to cover one area of the beach in one hunt. 
This superb Tiffany & co platinum ring with a 1.5 carat diamond appraised at $10.000.00, the diamond ring was my reward last year for sticking around at one spot. 

I began recovering coins and instead of walking down the beach to a busier section, I hammered the small area with a pulse induction metal detector.
By aiming to cover a small area really well, I know if anything of value is in that area, it is more than likely coming home with me. 
The diamond ring was recovered after using a tight spiral search pattern away from the highest concentration of clad coins and assorted junk targets.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Avoid jewelry hunting speed traps

Continuing on from my last blog regarding eroded tourist beaches, here are a couple of water hunting finds that would put a smile on any beach or water hunters face. 
I recovered these rings at two different beaches, back in 2007 and 2012, both beaches were very trashy sites. 

The antique 18K jade ring with two mine cut diamonds was in an area with a late 1800s wreck offshore, there is a very good chance this beauty came off that ship. 
This site has a lot of small iron on the beach and in the shallow water, you have to keep your sweep speed down to a turtles right hook and use a small search coil to hear good targets between the iron. 
Target recovery speed is the name of the game at this beach, giving yourself the chance to detect a good target after your search coil has moved over a piece of iron. 
The 18K ladies ring with 2.5 carat oval emerald was found at a popular local tourist beach, this ring was also recovered thanks to using my ultra slow sweep speed and "Excalibur wiggle" to coax good targets out of a trashy site.
Some of the best pieces of jewelry I have found beach and water hunting, I earned the hard way.
Patiently turtling around in trashy areas, relying on detecting targets other beach and water hunters have little chance of hearing swinging their metal detectors like a five iron. 
Try to remember when using a VLF metal detector with an audible threshold and even a minimum amount of iron mask,  you are not detecting any good targets until your threshold (Back ground noise) kicks back in. 
I use my metal detector threshold to keep me honest at trashy speed traps, not daring to move until my metal detector threshold is audible. 
If you are moving on from trashy tourist sites because you cannot hear anything through the sea of trash, you are probably moving away from gold. 
A good VLF metal detector will tell you when it detects a good target, it will also tell you to slow down if you listen to your threshold.
Jewelry hunting at trashy beach sites is about using your metal detector threshold to avoid  sweep speed traps. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sloppy seconds on a tourist beach.

Here in Florida, you are rarely the first one to hit a tourist beach after erosion has taken place.
That does not mean you cannot find gold following behind other beach hunters, as I did yesterday morning.
The tourist beach I went to search had a 4 to 5 foot cut running for several hundred yards, even before sunrise the beach had drag marks let behind in the sand by other beach hunters dragging long handled beach scoops.
Unfortunately, I spend a considerable amount of my two hours metal detecting filling holes left behind by sloppy beach hunters.
Why anyone would dig a hole on a popular beach and not fill it in is beyond me.
At first light I saw evidence of a coin line in another beach hunters search pattern,  so I slowly searched along the line of dug holes.
As expected, all the shallow targets had already been detected, but I detected plenty of deep targets using a 15 inch search coil.
One of those targets was a heavy 14K white gold wedding band, one of several pieces of jewelry I recovered in the area.

When you know you are not going to be one of the first people searching an area after beach erosion, your best chance of detecting something good is to go for the harder to detect targets.
Those targets are usually small gold or deep gold, left behind by the majority of beach hunters.
You are only going to detect small gold and deep gold by slowly and methodically hammering an area.
Shallow gold takes just as much beach hunting skill to detect as deep gold, that is why it is always possible to find small gold at even the most heavily hunted tourist beach. 
I only found small silver and junk jewelry in this area, which is a good sign as it is easier to detect than small gold, if any small gold was in the area I am sure I would have detected it.
Heavy competition on eroded tourist beaches should bring out the best in a beach hunter, heavy competition should never be an excuse for not detecting anything. 
If you work hard and detect smart, there is always something good to be found at any heavily hunted tourist beach.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Big search coils and beach hunting

I am always singing the praises of medium to small size search coils for beach and water hunting, but that does not mean I do not like using large search coils.
The problem is finding a large search coil that can detect large targets at depth, but still have the sensitivity to detect shallower small targets.
The NEL 15 inch attack search coil I have been testing on an Excalibur II, has good depth on large gold bands and is sensitive to small shallow targets.
It has been a while since I used a large search coil on a Minelab Excalibur that I enjoy using, many large search coils false in the wet sand and in the water.  
Using some large search coils, you have to reduce the sensitivity control to run smoothly on the lower beach, but when you reduce the sensitivity you often lose target depth and defeat the whole purpose of using a large search coil.
I am happy to say the search coil I have been testing only needs to have the sensitivity control reduced a little to run smoothly in the wet sand and in the water.
On the wet sand, the Excalibur II and 15 inch search coil runs at about the same sensitivity level as the 10 inch search coil, which is quite impressive.
This photo shows the size of jewelry you should be able to find using a large search coil at the beach if it is a good search coil, notice the small stud ear rings and the ear ring back.

How many people reading this blog find this type of small jewelry with a 10 inch search coil?
Extra large search coils are like pulse induction metal detectors at the beach, if you have the sites to use them you should do well.
I have several sites I know a 15 inch search coil and Excalibur combo will do really well, especially now I know the search coil can detect small shallow targets. 
Detecting small shallow targets may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me as I search for small 300 year old Spanish treasure coins and thin modern diamond rings. 
What use is being able to detect deep targets and cover more ground using a large search coil, if you walk straight over more valuable shallow targets. 
Trying and testing out new beach treasure hunting equipment is exactly how you find out if something is going to work out for you or not.  
If you can detect the small stuff using a large search coil, you will have no problem detecting the big stuff using the same large search coil. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mixed signals

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to go metal detecting in rural Iowa and experienced something that often happens at the beach in Florida.
I am talking about detecting multiple targets under your search coil, which can easily mask good targets you are searching for.
If you look closely you can see the two targets that gave me mixed signals, one is a common find at Florida beaches, the other is not. 

The cow pasture I was searching in Iowa used to be the site of the county fair with hay rides and other fairground type attractions. 
I decided to search towards the corner of the field close to a huge old oak tree, figuring people would have sat under the tree using it for shade back in the day. 
My CTX 3030 easily detected the low tone of the aluminum pull tab, and I heard the high tone of the silver dollar as I swept my search coil over the area to help pinpoint the stronger low tone. 
I was thinking gold ring not a stinking aluminum pull tab, but the sight of the large silver coin on edge still inside the hole made up for the disappointment. 
Some of my best jewelry finds at the beach have come out of holes that contained more than one target. 
An 1836 gold coin after first retrieving three bottle caps and an expensive diamond ring after first stopping to scoop several pennies. 
I did not even have to sweep my coil over the hole in the pasture to detect the silver coin or use my pin-pointer, but I would have. 
Double checking all your dug holes before walking away should be a natural thing, something you do all the time, so should filling your holes back in! 
I have even recovered good finds checking other peoples holes left behind in the sand. 
Anytime you see a large hole in the sand left behind by a sloppy beach or water hunter, check the area. 
Beach and water hunters who have trouble pinpointing targets and filling holes, often leave good targets behind.  
Multiple targets giving mixed signals under a search coil, double your chances of recovering something good like this 1922 silver Peace dollar. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What competition?

This diamond encrusted 18K gold chain was part of a four ounce haul of gold I recovered one morning a few years ago. 

The tourist beach this bling came off is heavily hunted day and night, but luckily for me everyone says "It's all in the water." 
It was still dark when I walked onto the beach, but several people were already beach and water hunting with headlamps on. 
After a couple of hours I decided to move to a beach closer to home and made my way back to the point I had entered the beach. 
As I usually do, I decided to search a few yards past the place I first walked onto the beach.
The gold chain was waiting for me and my quirky habit of searching a few yards past the place I walked onto the beach paid off, again!
It was still early in the morning when I hit the local beach, but not too early for other beach and water hunters. 
Two guys were searching the wet sand and two people were water hunting, I figured I had put an hour on the parking meter I may as well stay. 
I was squeezed in between the two water hunters searching in deeper water and the wet sanders.
My first signal in the water was a yard of 14K gold chain, 36 inches of gold wrapped around my scoop basket.
I put the 2.5 ounce gold chain in my finds pouch, turned my metal detector off and walked back to my van. 
It may sound crazy, but I always wanted to do that, find something good and just walk off the beach lol! 
Four ounces of gold chain in just over 2 hours of beach and water hunting, at two different heavily hunted beaches. 
Now you know why I smile when people moan about competition, I have no competition as it is just me, my metal detector and a quest to find gold.
Which brings me to the point of this blog, the only competition you really have is the ocean and sand hiding the gold. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sites within a beach site

Living in south Florida, I need to make my beach and water hunting time count as I search at very heavily hunted beaches.
One of the ways I come away from beaches with gold jewelry is using my knowledge of local beaches.
I walk off beaches with gold jewelry on a regular basis, but ironically I do not do a lot of walking.
I prefer to select my sites carefully, often finding the site within a site is more important than the actual beach you search.
Anyone can select a site to go beach or water hunting, but not everyone can figure out where they have the best chance of recovering jewelry within the site.
Two things have always helped me to stay one step ahead of the competition on heavily hunted south Florida beaches,  keeping my productive sites within a site a secret and hard work.
Every beach has a few sites that are always more productive than the rest of the beach.
When you know where they are, you can continue to plunder them whenever they are ready for mining.
This past weekend I searched two busy beaches and I recovered a couple of pieces of gold jewelry at each beach.  The gold was recovered from sites within a site I knew from previous experience gave me the best shot at recovering gold.
My low tide beach hunts were hectic last weekend, as both sites within sites I chose to search held a lot of targets.
Relying on local beach knowledge and former jewelry hot spots at the beach should help prevent you from returning home empty handed.
Knowing one or two productive sites at every beach you visit is a heck of an advantage over the competition. 
It will save you from having to walk or wander around without a plan, especially when prime beach or water hunting situations come along. 
For example, last Saturday morning the long tourist lower beach looked the same from the upper beach.
I decided to try three hot spots that have been very good to me on previous trips to this beach, but I did not get past the first hot spot as it was not worth moving on when I started pulling up coins and jewelry. 
I saw five other guys metal detecting in the distance and I remember thinking how lucky I was not having to walk the entire length of the beach, and spend all day at the beach to find gold. 
As my jewelry finds show, its not how far you walk or how long you hunt, its how many pieces of jewelry you scoop up.