With tropical storm Erika making its way to Florida, my inbox has been full of messages from people asking for post storm beach hunting tips, so heres a few tips.
When beaches are safe to search with a metal detector after a major storm has eroded beaches, you can find anything almost anywhere on the beach.
You may also find almost anything anywhere on the beach for several days after a major storm has blown through an area.
Patience can be a virtue if you wait for the wind and waves to erode the beaches, instead of hammering a beach during and straight after a storm.
I remember a few years ago hitting a Treasure Coast beach with a six feet cut running for a couple of miles.
Walking off that shipwreck beach I could not believe I had to go home empty handed, especially as I had the beach all to myself for about four hours.
I returned to the exact same beach three days later to see if anything had washed back in with the returning sand.
Three silver Spanish reales were my reward for trying again, this is a prefect example of why you do not always have to be the first person at an eroded beach to recover good stuff.
After patience comes equipment choice, always use a good metal detector you have experience with and confidence in its abilities to detect what you are looking for.
Dont bring a gun to a knife fight, on a beach with several feet of sand removed from it, try not to worry about deep targets.
Im my opinion, a VLF metal detector with a little discrimination is the best tool for searching eroded beaches with plenty of relatively shallow targets.
Go for the easy targets within reach using a good VLF metal detector as most beaches are very trashy after being eroded by a storm.
A pulse induction metal detector is a better choice of equipment for covering areas that have obviously been heavily hunted by other people metal detecting.
You have the advantage of target depth, after all the easier to detect targets are recovered on an eroded stretch of beach by people using VLF metal detectors.
An often over looked factor is fatigue, try to use lightweight or balanced treasure hunting gear, so you can stay out on the beach longer instead of nursing a sore metal detector arm at home.
Also rely on your own beach hunting intuition or instincts, instead of second hand and dated beach reports, make your own headlines instead of hearing about what other people have found.
Beach erosion is when your knowledge of local beaches becomes a huge advantage.
You can pick and plan the sites you are going to search after a storm, I often think about places I have found lots of great stuff and the conditions needed to open them up.
For a beach hunter there is not greater thrill than searching an eroded stretch of beach and filling your finds pouch.
After you have searched an eroded beach, you will be more prepared to know what to do when it happens again.