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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gold chains and bracelets

Zack in Florida asks why I find so many gold chains and bracelets at the beach.
I have seen an increase in the amount of gold chains and bracelets I have been able to recover at the beach over the last few years. 
The main reason is because I put myself in position to find them, by going out of my way to search a wide variety of areas. You rarely see me rushing to over hunted sites looking for sloppy seconds, I much prefer to move around and try new sites. 
The big gold chains and bracelets I have found this year were easy shallow finds, with not another beach or water hunter in sight.  They were all recovered not far from tourist beaches that get hammered on a regular basis. 
So my answer to Zacks question is simple, it is because I bother to search beaches other people do not think are worth searching.
Every gold chain or bracelet I recover motivates me to keep moving and trying new sites.
Not having the same favorite spot as everyone else means you run across areas stacked with coins and jewelry.
If you are real lucky, there could be a heavy gold chain or bracelet waiting for you to detect. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Should you use headphones at the beach

Ruth in California asked if I always use headphones at the beach and the answer is yes always.
The main reason why I always wear headphones at the beach when I am metal detecting is so I can spend more time metal detecting than answering questions.
If you search tourist beaches, every time you get a signal you are asking for trouble not wearing your headphones.
Anyone within ear shot will want to know what you have found, or ask you what it is.
You can also pretend you cannot hear questions from inquisitive strangers when you are wearing headphones, a trick that works very well lol !
Wearing headphones is very important on the lower beach, especially on windy days.
The sound of wind and waves will prevent you from hearing whisper signals from deep targets in the wet sand.
I always recommend investing in a set of good headphones if you spend the majority of your time beach hunting.
The headphones that come with metal detectors are ok but, you will be surprised what a difference a nice set of headphones with extra cushioning make on the lower beach.
If the volume is too loud on your metal detector and becomes uncomfortable, look into buying headphones with volume controls.
On some metal detectors turning the volume control down results in losing depth or you missing deep targets because you had the volume turned down
Headphones with volume controls allow you to keep your metal detector volume maxed out, by turning your headphone volume down.
Another positive to wearing headphones,  you are also less likely to get chased down by other beach hunters if you have headphones on and look busy.
Nothing puts a dent in your beach hunting time like not wearing headphones at the beach, I try to keep mine on all the time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Returning stuff

I was asked twice this week if I ever try to return stuff and the answer is yes all the time. One of the perks of the hobby of beach and water hunting is putting a smile on a strangers face who thought they would never see their stuff again. Every year I track down and return gold and silver class rings, cell phones, wallets etc lost by people at the beach. Just as many people approach me at the beach asking for help, you would not believe the bling I have placed in people's hands.  I look at returns as payback for the pounds of unidentifiable gold I have been lucky enough to find and keep. There are probably a dozen people on my Facebook friends list that are happy I know how to handle a metal detector at the beach. For every person who walked away with a gold wedding ring in their hand without even thanking me, there are many more people who's handshake, hug or teary eyed thank you made the return special. Another perk of trying to find and return people's stuff is all the good stuff you find while searching for the initial lost item.  A few years ago, I recovered three pieces of gold before recovering the gold ring I was searching for.  Picking up a good site that I still search to this day.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Balanced beach hunting

I was asked by Vanessa from Puerto Rico how to balance out her heavy waterproof metal detector, but unfortunately it is not possible because of its design. 
Using a metal detecting harness is the only option for Vanessa. 
Most people do not consider balance when buying a metal detector and end up struggling trying to swing a heavy metal detector at the beach.
I often see people struggling to use unbalanced or heavy metal detectors, the type that cannot be put on a straight  shaft, hip mounted or used any other way. 
A metal detecting harness is probably the only answer to using this type of metal detector for more than a few hours at the beach. 
If you struggle to use your metal 
detector because it is either too heavy or awkwardly balanced, your sweeping technique suffers. 
A poor sweeping technique means you will miss targets, as you are more concerned with your aching arm or shoulder, than keeping your search coil level. 
Ergonomics are important for beach hunters, especially during prime beach hunting conditions.
A person using a top or bottom heavy metal detector may have to head off the beach after a few short hours, no matter how deep or sensitive their metal detector is.
If beach hunting conditions are really good, the following day you run the risk of being at home nursing a sore arm or shoulder, instead of finding good stuff on the beach. 
In my opinion, you should use a metal detector for beach hunting that is balanced and comfortable to use. 
Or at the very least a metal detector that can adapted to be more balanced and comfortable to use.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Search coil cover blues

Vince in Ireland asks why bother using a search coil cover. 
I always use a search coil cover, and I go through several every year.  
There are good reasons to use a cover on your search coil at the beach, including protecting your search coil from jagged coral, rocks or wear from abrasive sand. 
Anyone who has a detecting lesson off me knows I am a " Scrubber " when I am beach hunting. 
I like to keep my search coil on the sand when I am metal detecting.
This is the reason why I wear through a minimum of four search coil covers a year. 
Metal detector search coils are expensive and sometimes not as strong as you think they are. 
Search coils can split or crack,  if they are bumped against rocks or chunks of coral without a search coil cover. 
The cost of a plastic coil cover has increased sharply, but buying a coil cover is still cheaper than having to buy a new search coil and paying for it to be installed if you own a metal detector with a hard wired search coil. 
Spraying truck bed liner or other gunk on your search coil is no substitute for a search coil cover. 
Coil cover alternatives, often costs you more in materials and time, spent constantly having to re-coat the search coil.
Sealing your coil cover to your search coil is another bad idea. 
Bodged coil cover jobs trying to save a few dollars look bad if you want to sell your metal detector, and may void your warrantee if you send your metal detector in to get it repaired. It's hard to say you have a bad search coil when it arrives at the repair center looking like swamp thing. 
Avoid securing your search coil cover to your search coil too tight, it  may cause your search coil cover sides to crack.
 I use tape to secure my coil cover to my search coil, but I avoid wrapping it too tightly.  
Plastic zip ties are an alternative, but you have to avoid pulling them too tight before snipping the ends off.
A metal detector is your investment in the hobby, protect the end of your investment that takes the most abuse in the beach by using a search coil cover. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Most surprising place to find gold jewelry at the beach

Great question from Paul in Nevada, who asks what area of the beach are you surprised to find gold jewelry at. 
I have found several ridiculously expensive pieces of gold jewelry in some crazy places at the beach. 
This is one of the reasons why I never under estimate any area at the beach, as you can potentially find gold jewelry anywhere at the beach. 
Within the first few feet of the beach entrance is probably one of the most surprisingly productive areas of the beach, but for good reason when you think about it.
Every day on beaches all around the world, people do a variety of things close to beach entrances causing jewelry to be lost. 
For example, putting their hands in their pockets, either putting keys, wallets or phones away or pulling them out. 
Shuffling or rearranging stuff they are  carrying on or off the beach, picking up kids etc
All these type of things around a beach entrance, lead to people losing jewelry just as they enter or leave the beach. 
I have heard too many stories of expensive diamond rings being found within the first few feet of beach entrances to overlook these areas. 
Many beach or water hunters do not give the beach entrance a second thought, as they head to the lower beach two hours before low tide. 
In my opinion, much of beach hunting is knowing where to search with your metal detector. It does not get any better than knowing the place where people pull their pockets inside out, struggle with heavy stuff, or remove items of clothing.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

VDI screen backlight on or off ?

Lee in Canada asks if I use a backlight when night hunting. 
I do a lot of late night and early predawn beach hunting with a metal detector that has a VDI screen.
I prefer not to have my backlight on, as it is just easier to turn my headlamp on if I need to check the screen.
Walking around on a dark beach waving a bright screen from side to side, draws a lot of attention to you in populated areas. 
Occasionally turning my backlight or headlamp on, means I have to answer less questions. 
One of the main reasons I never have my backlight lit,  is because I search tourist beaches at night and use discrimination. 
I concentrate my efforts towards recovering targets that have a high probability of being platinum, gold or silver, discriminating obvious junk objects. 
If I had to dig all metal targets, I would need to have my headlamp on all the time, like many night beach hunters do. 
Night jewelry hunting is easy using a metal detector with a screen, especially one that you can turn the backlight on with a press of a button. 
I always go out of my way to keep a low profile at the beach, avoiding questions from strangers and yes avoiding questions from other beach hunters at night.
At heavily hunted beaches, not having your backlight illuminated serves the same purpose as leaving your front light off for trick or treaters. 
If you are searching a productive site, you can keep your beach candy and leave the competition in the dark! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Checking out the competition

Perry in  California asks how I deal with competition at the beach. 
This is an easy question, I have no competition.
In my opinion, the only real competition a beach or water hunter should  have is themselves. 
Other people using metal detectors rarely effect the outcome of your beach or water hunt, no matter how much so called competition you have. You are still only going to get what you find. I never worry about what other people are finding or where other people are finding stuff.
I am too busy doing my own thing and concentrating on trying to go home with something good. Sometimes I go home with gold, other times I go home with platinum lol 
Seriously, the only thing that makes a difference on heavily hunted beaches, are your site reading skills and metal detecting technique. 
Leave all the competitive stuff to the people who care about it, beach and water treasure hunting is all about checking out your finds, not other people metal detecting. 
The more experienced at beach and water hunting you become, the more you realize there is no such thing as competition.