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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.