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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Letting the waves do the hard work

I was too busy to go out metal detecting over the memorial day weekend, so I got a jump start on the upcoming weekend. 
Two hours high tide hunting late this afternoon with my CTX 3030, on a busy tourist beach without another person metal detecting in sight. 
That is often the story on south Florida beaches when it is high tide, but my take is you have just as much chance of finding jewelry at high tide than you have two hours before low tide. 
I figured after a busy three day weekend and a few days of rough surf, I would let the waves do the hard part of dumping lost jewelry back on the beach for me to find. 
From past experiences with busy weekends and rough surf, I have found the best times to search on the beach are after a few days have passed because that is when the big "Sandy conveyor belt" starts to kick in. 
This often happens after a beach has suffered major beach erosion, the beach may be quiet until the next high tide moves jewelry and coins ashore. 
My first good find this afternoon was an 18K white gold ladies ring with 14 diamonds and a nice emerald. 

A piece of 18K yellow gold followed not long after, both pieces of gold jewelry were trapped in the wet sand between a rocky outcrop on the beach and the water. 
Rocky areas on beaches act as natural catch areas for jewelry and coins, this area happened to be away from the main heavily hunted area that is more popular with a younger crowd. 
A few years ago at high tide I found a beautiful 18K gold chain with a diamond cross,  high end stuff compared to the 10K & 14K jewelry that you are more likely to recover along the main detecting drag.
If you are a beach hunter reading this blog, come over to the dark side and go detecting at high tide. 
You may not think your beaches are so heavily hunted when you hardly see another person metal detecting at high tide. 
You also stand a good chance of returning home with gold,  if you search away from the main detected areas of the beach. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Using low discrimination settings.

This time last week I was searching along the banks of the Mississippi river, you just cant keep me away from the water no matter where I go. 
The axe head in the photo is from the early 1900s, and as you can probably tell by the iron find I was not using any discrimination. 

I always prefer to use little to no discrimination when searching around inland rivers and lakes, even though iron objects lost around freshwater do not corrode as fast as iron objects lost around saltwater. 
At Florida saltwater beaches I prefer to use a little discrimination to help me identify "Iffy" targets on very trashy beach sites. 
For example, the Discrimination setting of three on the Minelab Excalibur is low enough to help identify corroding bottle caps but not too high that you miss 10K gold rings. 
On the new Minelab Go-Find 40 and 60,  removing the iron icon allows you to avoid digging corroding bottle caps, but not miss 10K gold rings. 
The amount of discrimination you choose to use is up to you, but on every VLF metal detector I have used the 10K gold drop out level is the maximum level I will set the discrimination to. 
I always advise people to choose a metal detector and a search mode ( all metal or discrimination) that best suits the beaches they metal detect at. 
Sometimes, there are certain beach or water hunting situations where you can use both search modes. For a beach or water hunter who spends the majority of their time metal detecting at touristy beaches, its a no brainer to use the 10K gold ring drop out discrimination level. 
Set your metal detector discrimination control to slightly under that 10K gold ring, if you still worry about missing a good target. 
Using a slightly elevated discrimination control setting, will also allow you to find hot spots on the beach or pick up a coin line faster.  
A slightly elevated discrimination setting works for me and it could work for you, it all depends on the beaches you metal detect at. 
On heavily hunted beaches, every iffy or bad target you can positively ID through experience using your metal detector and not dig, puts you one step closer to finding those good targets you want to dig. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Three day weekend beach and water hunting tips

Memorial day weekend in Florida usually means packed beaches and a lot of people having the misfortune of losing jewelry at the beach.
No doubt, tomorrow many beach and water hunters will be grabbing their metal detectors with the hope of finding some of that lost jewelry. 
I intend to do get out there myself and see if I can recover some of that lost booty, but I will not racing out the door first thing in the morning. 
That is a perfect lead into my first three day weekend metal detecting tip,  wait for the three day weekend to get started before you go detecting. 
You have more chance of finding something good if you have the patience to wait until Sunday or Monday to hit the beach. 
Second tip, leave your pulse induction metal detector at home and use a little discrimination. 
You are looking for fresh dropped jewelry, not deep targets so discrimination is more important than depth. 
Third tip, leave the heavily hunted places alone, you know where the competition is probably going to be because you see them there every week. 
The fewer people using metal detectors in an area, the more your chances of recovering jewelry increase. 
This was my haul from one water hunt and one dry sand hunt three years ago on a busy three day memorial day weekend in south Florida using my CTX3030. 

I had company at the first tourist beach I visited, so I ignored the obvious mid and high tone coin signals and just dug the low tones. 
Three pieces of gold roundness ended up in my finds pouch before I left for another beach. 
The sweet gold rope chain and locket came off the second beach, just above the high tide line at one of favorite out of the way beach sites. 
I usually hit the dry and wet sand on the lower beach, before getting in the water. 
Now hands up how many people are only going to hit one of those three areas at the beach this weekend? 
Fourth tip, do not sell your jewelry hunting chances short this three day weekend, by only searching one area at the beach. 
I have found far too many nice pieces of jewelry to be a one dimensional jewelry hunter. 
Check out my finds page on my website, jewelry can be lost and found anywhere at the beach.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dirt fishing

Last weekend I attended a metal detecting event in Illinois, signing books and talking to a great crowd of people. 
Although the event took place hundreds of miles away from the nearest saltwater beach, our different types of metal detecting are very similar. 
After the event, I spent two days metal detecting in the next state of Iowa, inland dirt fishing and beach hunting may appear to be two very different types of metal detecting, but I  discovered we basically do the same thing.
We both search for good targets amongst trash targets, I was also surprised how many pull tabs and small pieces of can slaw I recovered inland. 
I found the modified CTX 3030 beach mode I use at Florida beaches an ideal choice for use in rural Iowa.
Old silver coins were my main target so I ignored many signals I would not dare pass up on Florida beaches. 
The old fairground and school house grounds we hunted in Iowa dated back to the late 1800s, the first sites was littered with ferrous and junk targets. 
Within an hour of searching the first site, I had the good fortune to pull up a 1922 silver peace dollar. 
I heard a loud low tone from a shallow target and a muffled high tone from a deeper target, the recovery reminded me of similar recoveries on Florida beaches.
Usually in Florida it is the opposite way around when searching for jewelry,  hearing a loud high tone from a shallow clad coin and a low tone from deeper gold, nickel or aluminum foil. 
In Iowa, the low tone was a modern soda can ring pull, the high tone was the large silver coin on edge. 
I saw the edge of the coin in the hole, before I had a chance to recheck the hole for more targets with my metal detector.
On the last day in Iowa I got the chance to search the gardens around an old school house,  I recovered a holed 1857-58 flying eagle cent, a 1906 indian head cent and a heel plate with a Dec 7 1898 patent date. 

Less trash around the school gardens, meant I was able to dig more targets by using less discrimination on my CTX 3030. 
The thing I came away with from my dirt fishing trip was that no matter where you search, you should think about the intended targets you are searching for and use your metal detector audio tones and discrimination to help you recover the targets you are more likely to find at the site. 
Sure you may miss certain good targets using discrimination, but I still believe it is better to play the percentages and try to detect high value targets that are likely to be found in the area. 
I never worry about targets I may miss by using discrimination, just enjoy the targets you do not miss. 
Now I am home in Florida it is back to metal detecting reality, time for some modern gold!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The money tide

In my opinion, way too many beach and water hunters are obsessed with the next low tide.
I prefer to hone in on the previous high tide, which I call the "Money tide" as it is often golden to me. 
In the water, the busiest area on the previous high tide is where people probably lost jewelry. 
On the beach, the previous high tide line is where you are more likely to find jewelry washed up on the beach. 
A beach hunter who waits until two hours before low tide before going metal detecting is probably going to ignore the previous high tide line. 
Wet sanders fall into the trap of only searching in the wet sand and completely miss a golden opportunity of recovering shallow targets in the now high and dry previous tide line. 
A water hunter is probably going to walk right over jewelry on the way out to deeper water at low tide. 
This can be a double whammy for a water hunter who goes out metal detecting two hours before low tide and lives by the saying "Its all in the water" as they are prone to missing out on beach and water hunting gold. 
A beach or water hunter should always have an eye towards where the "Money tide" was, previous high tide hot spots for jewelry and coins. 
Get into the habit of looking for the most likely places at the beach you will find jewelry, many of those places are going to be along previous high tide lines. 
On tourist beaches, I try to figure out where people would have used the beach or water over the previous days or weeks.
I take into account the recent beach conditions, but I am more concerned with previous beach conditions. 
If you have a few favorite places you like to hunt, you can check out beach webcams and surf sites and use that recon information to help plan your jewelry hunts, its a great advantage knowing where jewelry was probably lost. 
Beaches change due to the tides, todays crowded area could be tomorrows money tide. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Think like a beginner and just go to the beach.

Yesterday I made another impressive withdrawal from the beach bank, a ladies 14K gold engagement ring with 11 diamonds and one of those eleven diamonds really stood out. 

I could have easily done what many other beach and shallow water hunters are doing recently because of sanded in conditions, which is stay at home. 
I took a gamble and it paid off, deciding to take advantage of a short window of opportunity to hit the beach and go metal detecting 
Hopefully, anyone reading this blog will be inspired, or motivated to go beach hunting regardless of the tide times or beach conditions.
I like the expression "You never know unless you go" as I often use it to help explain these kinds of beach hunting finds. 
The previous week I told a TV presenter the very same thing to explain my Spanish emerald treasure ring find. 
The expensive diamond ring in the photo was recovered on the beach, so much for the over used jewelry hunting expression "It's all in the water" 
If I only went metal detecting at certain times, only water hunted, or hit the same beach all the time, this superb diamond ring would still be at the beach waiting to be found. 
The shallow water looked more sanded in than the beach, so yesterday I hit the lower beach hoping a combination of pulse induction metal detector depth and prior knowledge of the site would work in my favor. 
Fast forward to today, I spent the majority of today showing a client how to use their CTX 3030 on a tourist beach, 6 hours on a busy south Florida tourist beach without seeing another person metal detecting. 
My explanation for the lack of would be treasure hunters was easy, it was approaching high tide and the beach was pretty sanded in. 
No doubt, if we had still been on the beach two hours before low tide someones treasure hunting alarm would eventually go off telling them it was the right time to go metal detecting.
I gave my client some advice that will hopefully pay off in the future, think like a beginner and go detecting regardless of the time of day or the beach conditions. 
In my opinion, there is no such thing as beginners luck, great finds are made by beginners because they have not become set in their ways, as more experienced beach and water hunter's eventually become over time. 
Beginners go metal detecting any time and any place, beginners often get lucky recovering fantastic finds because they are not set in their ways. 
Nothing beats still having your fair share of beginners luck,  even when you are an experienced beach and water hunter. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The plan is, there is no plan.

A year ago, I was standing on the beach before sunrise holding this beautiful 18K white gold engagement ring with three superb chunks of ice in my hand. 

I had gone to the beach early and planned to shallow water hunt, but before I could get down towards the water I was busy scooping targets. 
Hands up how many water hunter's reading this would have turned their metal detector on just before or after getting in the water?
That is exactly the point of todays blog, the plan is there is no plan. 
I always go to the beach with an open mind, having a general idea what I want to do, but letting the beach conditions have the final say. 
If I had not turned my CTX 3030 on in the dry sand, I certainly would not have had a chance to detect targets and recover the expensive diamond ring before stepping onto the lower beach. 
Versatility and being able to adapt to changing conditions, always insure you have a chance of finding jewelry and coins. 
Versatile metal detectors also help, allowing you to change search modes, search coils and refine your beach or water hunting plans. 
Many beach and water hunters search the same places, the same way all the time, instead of getting out of their comfort zone by trying something different. 
The next time you go to a beach that is searched by several people metal detecting, take a look at how many people are searching the same area. 
Then take a look at where the people using the beach are located, are they sitting or laying in a straight line in the wet sand? are they all in the water? are they all sitting or laying in a straight line the dry sand?
Those people standing, sitting or laying in many different areas at the beach are the reason why I can walk off a heavily hunted beach in Florida with an expensive diamond engagement ring just as the lifeguard is showing up for work.
Jewelry or coin hunting is not about how many hours you can walk in a straight line searching the same areas at the beach,  its about putting yourself in position to be successful by not having a set jewelry or coin hunting plan. 
The plan is, there is no plan to jewelry and coin hunting at the beach, the only thing a plan will do is cause you to miss jewelry and coins.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The main three things you need to find treasure

The other day I was asked this question by the presenter of a TV show I was taking part in on the Treasure Coast of Florida.
Most people would say a metal detector, scoop, pin pointer etc, but without hesitating I blurted out the first three things that came to mind, the "Three Ps" of treasure hunting.
The three things I believe treasure hunters need more than anything else are patience, persistence and perseverance.
I rank patience, persistence and perseverance ahead of any piece of equipment you may take to the beach to help you find treasure.
It does not matter if you are searching for Spanish treasure, modern jewelry or coins, you will need the three Ps.
The hunt is the hardest part of treasure hunting, you will need a ton of patience, be persistent and have to persevere to continue finding.
Do not let the flashy gold jewelry or Spanish shipwreck artifacts on my finds pages fool you, beach and water hunting is about spending more time hunting than finding.
Spending time checking out different sites and beach conditions, not to mention digging a ton of junk before you actually find something good.
I rarely show my piles of junk finds, the trash that treasure is hiding amongst at the beach or the stuff you have to dig just in case it is something good. 
That junk pile represents the hard work I have to do before the easy part of taking a photo of a nice find.
An experience beach or water hunter can identify a beach site by junk targets, which is the main reason I do not post junk pile photos, I also consider clad coins as junk targets when searching for jewelry.
If you persevere and persistently keep plugging away at the beach with your metal detector, you will  eventually be rewarded with what you are searching for. 
Some people would say I just got lucky walking onto a Treasure Coast beach and recovering a find of a lifetime.
Maybe it was the result of days spent tirelessly searching that same beach, going hours between signals and going the extra step that helped me to recover this magnificent piece of Spanish 1715 fleet history. 

Never forget the most important part of treasure hunting, the hunt in the last word.
Eventually you will be rewarded for your patience, persistence and perseverance.