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Thursday, February 26, 2015

High tide beach hunting

Heres a photo of a beach at high tide,  just in case you are a beach hunter who is wondering what the beach looks like at high tide. 

I rarely see other people with metal detectors on the beach at high tide, quite surprising when you consider the three lower beach hot spots in this photo. 
The three really good lower beach jewelry and coin hunting areas are, the towel line, high tide line and wet sand. 
All three areas of the lower beach can be very productive for jewelry and coin hunting, if you bother to show up to metal detect on the beach at high tide. 
Now most tourist beaches around the world are detected on a daily basis, why the heck would anyone wait until two hours before low tide to go metal detecting? 
The Minelab CTX 3030 in the photo is a good choice of metal detector for searching the lower beach, which is constantly changing thanks to the low and high tides. 
A good multi frequency metal detector will allow you to move freely between the wet and dry sand without suffering false signals or behaving erratically.
This smooth metal detector operation is also important when seaweed has washed up along the high tide line. 
Even on dry sand along a previous high tide line, seaweed can make your metal detector false because it may contain pockets of saltwater. 
Because the beach at high tide is less frequently searched, you may even eye ball jewelry, sunglasses or paper money washed up, which I have on many occasions. 
Being a high tide hunter lets you have the first crack at picking stuff up, detecting shallow targets washed up in the high tide line and searching the towel line. 
Another problem with going metal detecting two hours before low tide is assuming everything is in the wet sand and water, totally ignoring the high tide line and the easy to detect shallow targets washed up waiting to be found.   
Stop reading the tide charts and step outside the beach hunting box. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to find big rings

Heres a fool proof method of searching for big gold or platinum rings at the beach,  don't go looking for them! 
I find several really big diamond encrusted platinum or gold rings every year, but I never go looking for them.
Instead, I concentrate on finding small pieces of gold jewelry like stud ear rings and chains without pendants. 
My beach and water jewelry hunting strategy is simple, if you can find the small stuff, the big stuff will take care of itself. 
A good variety of jewelry hunting finds is proof that you have your metal detector fine tuned, it is also a sign you search a good variety of different beach sites. 
I have recovered a wide variety of metal detecting finds with my Minelabs in Florida,  1600 & 1700s Spanish treasure, 1800s Seminole Indian war relics, early 1900s to modern coins and jewelry. 
This heavy mans platinum ring with diamonds is the type of find you can find on a tourist beach, when you just concentrate on searching for smaller finds. 

I never get frustrated recovering small pieces of lead, silver ear ring backs or fishing trace wire.
Because I know when my search coil passes over a piece of platinum or gold jewelry, I am more than likely going to go home with it. 
Sometimes it fits like a glove and you get to wear a trophy find, a reminder of how important it is to test a variety of small pieces of jewelry with your metal detector at the beach. 
Read and reread your metal detector manual, but nothing beats taking a few small pieces of difficult to detect jewelry and seeing what your metal detector can really do. 
When your metal detector is fine tuned to detect those small test targets, you never have to worry about not finding big gold targets. 

Or in this case, a big platinum and diamond target. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Go with the flow on heavily hunted beaches

When I took this photo of three designer rings, I never realized what the Rolex, Bvlgari and Cartier rings had in common.

All three rings were found because I was squeezed by the competition into searching a certain area at the beach. 
At south Florida beaches it is quite common to see several people metal detecting at the same site. 
The 18K yellow gold Rolex ring on the left, was recovered just inside the water, one of six gold rings I found in about an hour searching an eroded beach a few years back.  
Two full time beach hunters were already metal detecting at the site, one in the wet sand and the other in chest deep water. 
I went with the flow and worked the shallow water after seeing where the other guys were searching. 
The 18K white gold Bvlgari ring was another case of searching an area that other people metal detecting had no interest in searching. 
The busy Saturday morning at a tourist beach had at least twelve people searching in the water and dry sand. 
I took the wet sand and recovered two gold rings and one platinum ring, another case of going with the flow and finding jewelry. 
The 18K Cartier diamond & emerald ring was recovered at the base of a cut on an eroded beach, that had four people searching the lower beach by the water. 
I actually saw the gold ring sticking out the sand, just before waving my search coil over it. 
All of these examples of high end gold jewelry were found with people already metal detecting in the area.
Here's a few reasons why I found gold on all three occasions. 

1. I never believe I have to be the first one at the beach to find gold. 
2. I never go to the beach planning to search just one area of the beach, I can search anywhere.
3. I search areas that give me a chance of finding high end jewelry. 
4. I am not afraid of the competition
5. I use waterproof metal detectors, just in case I need to get in the water. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stick to the jewelry hunting game plan

The story of this heavy 18K white gold ring with yellow sapphires and diamonds is in my "Hardcore Beach Hunting" guide to searching heavily hunted beaches. 

The $3600.00 ladies ring was found at a heavily hunted south Florida tourist beach a few years ago. 
I had only been in the water about 30 minutes, when five people from a local metal detecting club walked down to the lower beach, talked between themselves and watched me for about five minutes.
The five club members turned towards me and smiled as they spread out in a line in the water about 20 feet ahead of me.
The group put their headphones on and started heading in the direction they obviously knew I intended to search. 
Undeterred, I continued slowly searching in the same direction as the other water hunters,  who started to cover a lot of ground ahead. 
A couple of hours passed and they returned to the area we first saw each other,  I was still searching the same area and had not moved very far at all. 
One club member laughed and asked sarcastically if I had any luck, I just could not resist and did something I rarely do. 
I showed my finds from the previous two hours searching behind the group of water hunters, two gold rings. 
A 22K gold wedding band and the nice yellow sapphire ring, the look on the other water hunters faces made my day. 
From smiles to frowns in seconds, especially the person I was searching directly behind.
You know that must have been a long car ride home together, after I flashed the jewelry they did not detect. 
Todays blog just goes to show that high numbers of beach and water hunters in the same area is not important
Water hunting technique was a big factor that morning, slow and low got the gold as it so often does on popular tourist beaches.  
Speed will always kill your chance of detecting deep gold, walking too fast and sweeping too  fast. 
Both gold rings were whisper low tones, deep recoveries for my Minelab Excalibur with the 10-inch search coil.  
I figured there was not a lot of point in being frustrated or annoyed because other people had the same idea as me. 
I took my time and had the place to myself as the other water hunters disappeared into the distance, before returning. 
Sometimes, you do better just sticking to the jewelry hunting game plan. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Keep a lid on golden opportunities.

Every once in a beach or water hunting blue moon,  a jewelry hunter will run across perfect jewelry hunting conditions. 
The photo in todays blog shows a portion of a 50 pieces of gold jewelry haul I recovered back in 2012,  after Hurricane Sandy brushed past the Florida coastline on its way north. 

50 pieces of gold jewelry over a 20 day period of beach and water hunting is not that impressive, but it is when you consider I was only able to search one or two hours a day, before or after work. 
I went metal detecting before dawn and after dark, so I was not seen at the site by the small army of full time beach hunters down this way. 
One morning I spotted three guys from the local detecting club passing through the area, luckily they were just passing through, but I still left the area just in case. 
Some of the best pieces of jewelry I recovered are on my recently revamped Jewelry Finds page at
A vintage ladies Cartier emerald and diamond ring,  an antique mans 18K Jade & diamond ring and a beautiful 18K Amethyst ladies ring. 
As more popular local tourist beaches became hunted out because word spread of productive sites, the competition eventually made its way to the area I had been harvesting gold.  By that time, the beaches had been covered back over with sand and the door to Davy Jones locker had slammed shut. 
Back in 2012 I was still posting finds on detecting forums, and catching a lot of heat from forum "experts" who believed it was not possible to recover so much gold jewelry as word got out that all beaches down this way were already picked over. 
Word obviously did not get out about the location I was recovering multiple pieces of gold, silver jewelry and silver coins every day. 
And here you have todays blog title in a nut shell, silence can be golden when you run across an excellent jewelry hunting situation. 
At many heavily hunted tourist beaches around the world,  when beach erosion occurs news of holes in the water or cuts on the beach spreads fast and groups of beach or water hunters descend on the site. 
From past experiences dealing with perfect metal detecting opportunities, I can tell you I still get chills looking into my bank safety deposit box.  Seeing the best gold rings from late 2012, 1836 gold coin and Seminole indian war relics from late 2011, Spanish emerald treasure ring and far too many pieces of Spanish silver to mention from late 2004 early 2005. 
I remember all those memorable treasure hunting years, because I recovered many great finds over a period of several weeks.  You can only continue to recover great finds during excellent beach hunting conditions by keeping a lid on the situation. 
Many of my best finds came off productive situations a few days after the initial recoveries. 
If I was a part of the grapevine, many of my best finds would be in other beach or water hunters find of a lifetime stories. 
The internet is full of " Another beach hunter told me he found this, and I moved over and found this" stories. 
In my opinion, it is always better to make headlines in a beach hunting story, than be a part of another beach hunters story.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Never assume all encrusted objects are trash

A few years ago I was searching along the James river in Virginia, close to a US civil war fort. 
I found minnie balls, musket balls, uniform buttons with my metal detector, and broken pottery and clay pipes using my "Twin optical scanners" along the river bank. 
Just before calling it quits for the day, I recovered an encrusted iron object using my Minelab Sovereign GT in the all metals search mode. 
The encrusted object looked like a large old bolt or possible door handle, but like any other piece of trash I recover on a site with a little history, it was taken away for further identification. 
I always take my trash home, instead of dropping it back in the hole and covering it back up. 
This saves wasting valuable time digging the same trash target,  it also helps to cut down on the chances of trash targets masking good targets. 
In the case of the crusty and rusty looking bolt from the Virginia field, my choice to take trash home turned out to be the correct call. 
The longer encrusted iron piece crumbled off, after I accidentally dropped the encrusted object in a wash basin while rinsing it off. 
This US civil war iron canister shot popped out of the other encrusted round end, a sweet sight for sure. 

I could have easily thrown this cool civil war relic away when I first recovered it,  not knowing what was hidden in the encrusted outer casing. 
Previous experiences with finding encrusted gold class rings and Spanish treasure coins has taught me to always take any trash from the site for further inspection. 
I should also add that this is the reason why I always prefer to search in all metal at sites that may contain old coins or artifacts. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Slow and low, especially on good sites

The Spanish silver 1711 four reale in the upper right hand corner of this photo was recovered on a Treasure Coast beach several years ago. 

The eroded Treasure Coast beach looked like a metal detecting convention on the morning I found the silver four reale. 
This Spanish treasure coin, just goes to show that you do not have to be one of the first people to search an eroded beach to find something good. 
I credit two things for being able to recover the 1711 four reale,  my search speed and large search coil. 
Obviously, traveling over two hours to get to the beach meant that I was going to be searching a cut that had already been combed over. 
The large 14 inch search coil on my metal detector gave me a chance of recovering targets out of the normal detection range of beach hunters using 10 or 11 inch search coils. 
Searching slowly insured I had a chance of detecting the deep targets I was hoping to recover.
The interesting part about this story was recovering the treasure coin only a few feet in front of the cut beach entrance. 
I assumed many people had turned on their metal detectors and hurried to search along the huge cut away from the entrance. 
Starting out very slowly, I detected the whisper signal and placed a silver treasure coin in my pocket within 10 minutes of arriving at the beach with at least a dozen other people metal detecting along the cut.
From experience, I can tell you that small things can make a big difference in beach and water hunting. 
Three of those small things that make a big difference on good beach sites have to do with the way you search. 
Cover the ground slowly, keep your search coil close to the sand to maximize depth, and set yourself apart from the competition. 
You can often have an advantage over the beach or water hunting, buy using different equipment or search techniques to the rest of the metal detecting crowd.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Local beach knowledge

When you understand how high wind and waves effect your local beaches, you can be "Johnny on the spot" when beach erosion occurs. 
Beaches that run at different angles along a coastline, will be effected differently by high wind and waves hitting them from different directions. 
Once you figure out what causes sand to be stripped from your local beaches, you can be prepared the next time the local weather forecast calls for more of the same. 
If you wait to see photos of cut beaches on detecting forums,  or read beach condition blogs or reports, you have already missed the treasure boat.  
Second hand reports of eroded beaches, lead to feelings of what could have been, if only I had searched the place after the erosion had first taken place. 
I prefer to leave as little to chance as possible when the local weather forecast calls for high wind and waves at the beach. 
A quick check of the wind speed, wind direction, surf height and surf direction, allow me to narrow down my search to local areas that are likely to cut. 
Notice I dont say jump in my vehicle and spend hours on the road chasing other local beach hunters loot. 
I maximize my detecting time, spending more time on the beach metal detecting, instead of behind a steering wheel driving. 
These silver coins were found at a local beach using my Minelab Sovereign and Excalibur back in 2011, after beach erosion had taken place a quarter mile past a tourist beach in an area with history that not many people are aware of.

Between knowledge of how wind and waves effect your local beaches and researching the history of your local beaches, you can be Johnny on the spot more often than the competition. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rough surf and jewelry hunting

Yesterday I had a chance to go metal detecting for a couple of hours in rough surf at a tourist beach. 
I took my Minelab Excalibur II and searched close to shore, hoping to find jewelry shaken loose from people by the crashing surf. 
Rough surf is one of the best times to recover bracelets and chains on tourist beaches, as people jump up in the water to meet crashing waves. 
The 14K gold bracelet in this photo was my only jewelry find of the two hour low tide water hunt, just the type of jewelry I went searching for. 

I would say the last two pieces of gold jewelry I have recovered, were due to the recent rough south Florida surf. 
A large gold amethyst ring pushed up on a previous high tide and this bracelet lost close to shore. 
Metal detecting in rough surf is hard work, but there are three things that make rough surf hunting easier. 
A good waterproof metal detector, a long handled scoop with a stainless steel scoop basket and a zippered finds pouch. 
These three pieces of treasure hunting equipment, will insure you detect, recover and secure targets.
I often prefer to use my Excalibur II in rough surf, when the advantages of being able to read multiple target ID features on my CTX 3030 display screen are taken away. 
A long wood handle scoop with a stainless steel basket helps me to recover targets quickly, unlike a lighter aluminum scoop that moves around in the surf making target recovery more difficult. 
The zippered finds pouch is easy to open and close in rough surf, the last thing you want to be doing in rough surf is struggling with velcro closing pockets. 
Your choice of jewelry hunting equipment makes a difference when metal detecting in rough surf, so does knowing what to expect to recover and knowing where and why those targets are probably lost. 
The next time you go to a tourist the beach with rough surf, see how many people stand in the shallows jumping up into pounding surf. 
Think of all those gold bracelets and chains getting violently shaken around, and dont forget to take your surf hunting equipment. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

You never know unless you go.

I hit the beach yesterday afternoon, even though my local beaches have been pretty sanded in recently. 
Seaweed washed up on the lower beach and sinking in the wet sand to your ankles is never a good sign for a beach hunter. 
The reason I chose this beach was because of the high end hotel located near the beach entrance and rough surf for several days had stopped people from going in the water.
No doubt, those same choppy seas had kept die hard water hunters from searching the area too. 
Because of the surf and wet sand conditions, I searched the area just above the previous high tide line. 
Targets were few and far between, a few coins and a couple of deeply buried tin cans.
Between the beach cleaning tractor and the sand being pushed up onto the beach, I had to be very lucky to find anything of value. 
The large 17-inch search coil on my Minelab CTX 3030, at least gave a chance of finding stuff in the fluffy sand. 
About an hour into the 90 minute lower beach hunt, I got lucky and spotted a glint of gold and a colored stone in the bottom of the hole, instead of the tin can I expected to recover. 
I pulled the iphone out of my pocket and took a few photos of what I presumed to be a class ring.
Wrong guess again, it was an 18K gold ladies ring with what I believe to be a large amethyst stone. 

A gold ring in such great condition is obviously a fresh drop, it is just the type of jewelry you would expect to find on a beach used by people staying at a high end hotel. 
I would be lying if I said I had high hopes of finding jewelry, but because my detecting time has been very limited this year I needed to go detecting when I had the chance. 
Unlike other local beach and water hunters, I go detecting regardless of the conditions or the tide times. 
The gold ring I recovered yesterday is why you should always keep plugging away, even if you know the chances of finding jewelry is going to be slim. 
You never know unless you go, even on sanded in beaches.