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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

People reading skill's

I rely heavily on being able to read the beach, but I also rely on knowing how people use the beach.
I often get asked what is the most productive area of the beach and where should you always head to first, if only it was that easy lol!
The beach is always changing,  people use many different areas of the beach, depending on the tides, climate or even day of the year.
So it makes treasure hunting sense for beach and water hunters to change treasure hunting tactics to avoid wasting time searching target free areas.
In my opinion, the number one mistake many beach and water hunters do is employing the same search tactics at every beach.
Yesterday afternoon I was driving along the a tourist beach road and pulled over for 20 minutes to watch several beach and water hunters doing their thing.
I recognized three full time beach and water hunters as I always see them at the same beach doing the same thing.
One guy way out in the low tide water walking in straight line, another guy quickly moving through the water in an east to west pattern, the third person walking in a straight line just inside the water.
Two other people were metal detecting in a straight line along the wet sand, five people metal detecting in a quarter mile stretch of tourist beach.
Then I checked out where the majority of people were actually using the beach, sunbathers, people standing and swimmers in the water.
The upper dry sand was the busiest area of the beach, the  towel line ( above the previous high tide line) was the second busiest and a few people occasionally walked into the water and walked back out onto the beach.
Yet all the beach and water hunters appeared to be doing the same things I regular see them doing in the same area whenever I pass this beach, without any tourist or beach goer actually being in the areas being searched.
To find jewelry and coins on a regular basis you have to search where people are likely to lose jewelry and coins at the beach.
I regular use my drives along beach roads and beach webcam recon to put myself in position to detect jewelry.
I consider reading people using the beach, just as important as being able to read the beach and water.
When is the last time you walked onto the beach with a metal detector and thought about where people are more likely to lose jewelry, or do you just search the same way regardless hoping to stumble across something good?
I even go as far as choosing my sites according to the age of people using the beach.
If you want to learn more about beach and people reading skill's I have a book called "How to read the beach and water" available on my website at or your local metal detector store.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Covering the beach question

I never cover the whole beach, I pick a site at the beach and try to cover the site thoroughly. 
Derek from New York asked me how I manage to search the whole beach in my two or three hour beach or water hunts. 
I often refer to my beach or water hunts as "Power hunts" as I put all my efforts into completely hammering a site, not a beach.
It would probably take me several days to search a south Florida tourist beach, because I divide the beach into many different search areas.  
My beach and water reading skills tell me which area or site has the most potential after arriving and checking out a beach. 
I let the local beach or water hunters cover the beach, while I cover a site I believe has the potential to contain gold or silver jewelry.
You are not going to find diamond engagement rings like the ones in this photo, if you trying to cover the whole beach in one day. 

The diamond rings in the photo were detected using slow methodical search techniques and medium to small size search coils, all three rings came off productive sites at heavily hunted beaches. 
When you search beach sites instead of beaches, you detect more jewelry and coins.  
After finding thousands of pieces of platinum, gold and silver jewelry at the beach, I know where I am likely to find jewelry, unlike many speedy beach and water hunters who believe it is always just ahead.
I do not go to the beach for a long walk hoping to stumble across gold, I prefer to rely on site selection and detecting skills. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Minelab CTX 3030 or Excalibur for beach or shallow water hunting?

Tom from Poland recently asked me this question, but I get asked this question a lot so I will share my answer. 
Both of these superb metal detectors are my favorites for beach and shallow water hunting, and I own and use both metal detectors.
In my opinion, the CTX 3030 is better than the Excalibur on the beach and in shallow water. The CTX 3030 allows you to change search coils and headphones, and has many bells and whistles to help you detect what you are searching for at the beach. 
The CTX 3030 is well balanced and has a faster recovery speed than the Excalibur, it is also deeper and more sensitive to small targets thanks to the 11-inch search coil. 
On the beach and in shallow water all of the advantages are on the side of owning a CTX 3030, when it comes to deeper water hunting the pendulum swings over to the Excalibur. 
Obviously, the Excalibur is the choice for scuba divers because of the 200 ft depth rating. 
Once you submerge the screen, many of the advantages of using a CTX 3030 may be taken away unless you can put a mask on and see the screen under the water.
In really rough surf or low water visibility I often use an Excalibur, it all depends on the site I am searching. 
When I am searching using an Excalibur at a beach with a lot of iron or trash, I see why I like using my CTX 3030.
The Excalibur is probably the most seen metal detector at heavily hunted beaches, putting the large 17-inch search coil on the CTX 3030 will allow you walk straight over ground covered by Excalibur users and detect deeper targets. 
Switching from the discrimination search mode to an all metal mode and vice versa, or changing discrimination just takes a press of a button. 
You can modify an Excalibur to be more like a CTX 3030, adding a push button pinpoint, waterproof connectors to change coils or add custom headphones.
Modded Excalibur's are good for beach or water hunters who are searching for specific targets and want an Excalibur customized to detect those targets.
You do not have to mod a CTX 3030, or add a straight shaft to make it more comfortable to use. 
It is a testament to both metal detectors how highly regarded they both are by beach and water hunters.
So as you can see both of these metal detectors have their advantages, depending on your budget you cannot go wrong choosing either one.
Even though I own a CTX 3030 I will not be selling my Excalibur's any time soon as I am having too much fun using them at the beach.
I have found when you are married and own both metal detectors, it helps to have a good reason why you need both metal detectors lol ! 
Ready for any beach or water hunting situation is my excuse. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jewelry hunting question

Neil from England asks why I still find so much gold jewelry as I often state the beaches are heavily hunted in Florida.  
Good question and I have a fairly simple answer, because I choose my sites wisely, avoid digging unwanted targets and work hard. 
When I go to the beach in search of modern jewelry, I rely on site reading and metal detecting skills and I use the right tools for the job. 
A good site, discriminating metal detector and a big ass scoop!  I want to spend my time searching for high value targets where I assume they can be detected and I want to retrieve those high value targets in a timely manner. 
During a beach and water hunting lesson this weekend I told the client the three things I consider to be the keys to being a consistent jewelry finder.
Site selection, search technique and equipment choices, and I class them in that same order. 
Notice how I do not depend entirely on my metal detector, because in my opinion you have to know where to find jewelry and how to detect it first. 
I stopped calling other people using metal detectors at the beach competition a long time ago. 
The only real competition for jewelry at the beach you should ever have is yourself.
I never worry about what other people are finding jewelry or where they are finding jewelry.
Those type of things make no real difference on my search for jewelry at the beach.
Site selection, treasure hunting techniques and a metal detector you really like using will always help you to find what you are searching for at the beach.
Take my word for it, jewelry found on heavily hunted beaches always seems to sparkle more on the way home.

Friday, March 18, 2016

How to deal with " Iffy" target responses

Tim from Florida asks if I stop and and dig "iffy" signals when using a metal detector with discrimination at the beach.
I usually investigate any signal I am not sure about, but I never dig the target up unless I can improve the target response. 
The easiest way of improving the response from an iffy target, is to move a layer of sand away from the target area with your foot or sand scoop. 
Moving a few inches of top sand away from the area, will either improve the signal or break it up even more as your search coil is put closer to the target.
Time spent beach or water hunting will help you to tell the difference between good and bad targets. 
Knowing what your metal detector is telling you is under the search coil, saves valuable metal detecting time.
Discriminating beach hunters have a huge advantage over " Dig it all " beach hunters who dig every piece of junk while you bypass obvious junk targets. 
Knowing how to deal with iffy half way attractive targets will cut down on the chances of you missing targets being incorrectly identified. 
Unfortunately, a metal detectors discrimination may incorrectly reject a good target on the edge of detection range.  
Getting your search coil closer to that iffy but possibly good target will eliminate that possibility. 
It does not take very long to move a few inches of sand away from the area, to put your mind at rest.
I have an ear for most targets at the beach, but every so often I have to just make sure certain iffy targets are what I assume they are. 
The beaches you search have a lot to do with how much time you put into investigating iffy targets, you would drive yourself nuts on a tourist beach stopping to dig every iffy signal. 
Alternatively on a beach with a little history and very few tourists, signals may be few and far between, and you probably would be using no or very little discrimination.
Nine times out of ten, an iffy signal on a discriminating metal detector is going to be an unwanted junk target. 
I never worry about missing the odd good target, or worry about good targets out of detection range.
If I did, I would probably have a finds pouch full of junk instead of the gold and silver jewelry I return home with. 
An iffy signal is often a testament to your beach hunting skills, as you know it warrants a closer look. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Small gold question

Why bother searching for small gold at the beach, asked Rob from Hawaii. 
In my opinion, it takes more skill to detect small pieces of gold jewelry at the beach, than large gold bands etc. 
Never underestimate the value of being able to detect small pieces of gold jewelry, especially if you struggle to detect diamond rings.
Anyone can detect a chunky gold ring, but it takes a good search technique and a fine tuned metal detector to detect an expensive diamond engagement ring.
It takes even more skill to detect a diamond stud ear ring, imagine how many diamond ear rings are lost at the beach and go undetected.
Diamond stud ear rings and gold chains without pendants are some of the most difficult targets to detect at the beach. 
Last year I recovered three half carat diamond stud ear rings and four thin gold chains without pendants,  one of the diamond stud ear rings and two of the gold chains were recovered in the water. 
The small pieces of gold jewelry were a pain to scoop, but well worth the struggle.
Many expensive diamond engagement rings, have large center stones mounted on relatively thin platinum or gold bands. 
The band the large rock is mounted on is usually not very wide, making the piece of platinum or gold difficult detect if you do not use a sensible sweep speed and have a level search coil close to the sand.
Your equipment choices also have a lot to do with the size of gold you are able to detect at the beach, especially the size of your search coil. 
Small search coils used correctly, are excellent at detecting small gold hidden in trashy areas.
If you use a very large search coil, your chances of recovering small gold diminish, especially at tourist beaches.
To answer Robs question, I search for small gold because it is often more expensive jewelry and because I never have a problem detecting small pieces of gold at the beach.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cherry picking targets at the beach

In my last jewelry post I referred to " Cherry picking" and several people asked me how I cherry pick targets.
When I go beach or water hunting at a tourist beach, I concentrate all my efforts towards finding gold or silver.  I am not really interested in clad coins or junk jewelry. 
I know many people like to keep coin counts, but that is not what I got into jewelry hunting for. 
Clad coins are a distraction, that help to mask jewelry at the beach. 
With so many beach and water hunting hours under my belt, I know the audio responses to all US clad coins within normal detection depth. 
I can easily hear the difference between a pull tab, a US nickel and a gold ring, but I still dig the pull tabs and nickels lol  
On Sunday morning I dug three nickels and seven ring pulls, guessing  right every time before digging them up.
I do not want to turn  this topic into an advert for my favorite metal detector company, but my choice of metal detectors is because of audio tones. 
I search beaches for gold and silver, not junk, so using a VLF metal detector that helps me to find those precious metals faster is important. 
When I cherry pick targets at the beach,  I concentrate on listening for high silver tones and low gold tones. 
Cherry picking good targets is a great way of maximizing beach hunting time for weekend warriors. 
A much better use of your valuable detecting time, than stubbornly digging every target just in case you miss one valuable target. 
When you have an ear for gold and silver, the gold and silver tones jump out at you, even if they are being partially masked by clad coins. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Making the most of your area

Dimitri from Russia asks why I spend so much time beach hunting, instead of inland hunting, especially as I always say how important it is to be a good all around hunter. 
Coming from England I have certainly put my time in land hunting, but now I live in Florida I make the most of living close to so many tourist beaches. 
I always go out of my way to divide my metal detecting time equally between beach and water hunting. 
There are opportunities for me to land hunt in Florida, but that would involve too much traveling for my liking. 
Instead, I drive home my advantage of living close to the beach by searching for modern jewelry at tourist beaches. 
Plan B is always searching for old Spanish shipwreck artifacts on the Treasure coast, even though it is a five hour round trip drive. 
The grass is always greener to people hooked on metal detecting, but in my opinion it is always better to  put all your time and effort into searching for the stuff you can find in your area. 
I see many examples on the Internet of people recovering amazing finds in  all types of areas.  
The most successful searchers always seem to be the ones who know how to make the most of their areas.
In my opinion, making the most of your area is the key to being successful, no matter what  type of treasure you are searching for.