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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

You never know unless you go

I love the title of this blog, it reminds me exactly what I was thinking back in 2005 when I took the long drive up to the Treasure Coast of Florida in search of Spanish treasure.
Boy did I find it that morning, the 1694 silver reale I put in my finds pouch 20 minutes earlier was just an after thought when I picked this beautiful Spanish gold treasure ring out of a hole I had just dug on the beach.

The "Precious" is 22.5 carat inca gold with 9 flawless Colombian emeralds, who's your daddy!
I know many beach hunters get depressed during lean beach hunting times, but some of my  best finds were recovered when I least expected to find anything at all.
This keeps me grounded, knowing that it does not matter what time you get to the beach to search, what metal detector you choose to use, you never know unless you go.
My favorite finds stories are the totally unexpected ones, and the first thoughts that always cross my mind are wow what are the odds of that and imagine if they never went out that day.
In my opinion, you only need one reason to go beach hunting and that is just in case you find something.
High tide, sanded in conditions, heat, cold, competition, difficulty parking, there are plenty of reasons not to go to the beach, but one really good reason to go try your luck.

To this day I avoid tide tables and second hand beach reports, I go beach hunting whenever I get the opportunity and regardless of the beach conditions.
You never know unless you go, also applies to trying new search areas which can often lead to more finds if you search beaches or areas at the beach less frequently searched by other beach hunters.
To me, finding the unexpected is what is so fascinating about beach and water hunting.
Even a lowly crusty copper penny is a good sign when you have a positive outlook and decide to go beach hunting. 
You never know what you will find next, unless of course you wait for so called better conditions or more favorable tides. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pinpointing and recovering targets

Kevin from Toronto asked me how I pinpoint targets accurately and how much time it takes me to recover a target at the beach. 
My short answer is knowing the sweet spot under my search coils and under a minute if possible. 
You can learn a lot by watching other beach hunters in action, especially at heavily hunted beaches.
One thing I notice other beach hunters doing is spending way too much time recovering detected targets. 
The more time you spend farting around X-ing the spot before scooping. the less jewelry and coins you will take home from the beach.
The "Sweet spot" under your search coil where the target is probably centered, should be one of the first things you learn about your metal detector.
Mainly because it saves you so much time and in my opinion, time equals finds in beach or water hunting.
If I have a pinpoint button or switch on my metal detector, it is hardly ever used when beach or water hunting. 
Two or three short sweeps across a target and I already know where a target is centered under my search coil.
The lip of my scoop basket enters the sand at a sharp angle behind the eyeballed target area, and the object is usually scooped up in one or two attempts depending on the depth of the target.
One of the reasons I cannot watch youtube beach or water hunting videos, is the first two or three minutes of constant sweeping over the target area and umpteen scooping attempts.
I prefer to spend more time putting jewelry or coins in my finds pouch, than wiggling my coil over targets from all directions and taking blind stabs at scooping targets. 
Pinpointing and target recovery skills are best learned early on and should become instinctive. 
Using a good long handled beach scoop with a decent size basket will help you to recover targets at the beach faster, it will also cut down on damage to finds.
After your metal detector, your choice of beach recovery tool is probably the most important decision to consider. 
A deep seeking metal detector and a coffee can size scoop basket is a bad combination, so too is an extra large search coil and not knowing how to pinpoint a target under it.
When you tighten up your target pinpointing and recovery time, you put yourself closer to what you are really searching for.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The beach hunting comfort zone

Everyone wants to use the best metal detector or search coil for beach hunting, but a basic fact of beach hunting life is it is hard to beat equipment you have already become comfortable using. 
Occasionally, I will pony up some hard earned wonga for a metal detector or search coil I believe will give me an edge at the beach, although it rarely works out. 
There is something to be said about using equipment you trust and enjoy using, over new equipment you hope lives up to the hype. 
This year I bought and tried a metal detector that came with a lot of hype, but it just did not impress me and was not an upgrade over anything I already use.
It was a good beach hunting equipment lesson learned, nice to compare and try different things and comforting to know I am not missing out on anything.
I will not get into brand specifics or negatives, as the metal detector I tried may be fantastic for something other than beach hunting.  
In my opinion, experience and comfort using a metal detector you really like is the key to beach or water hunting success.
An experienced beach hunter in the comfort zone, can and should kick butt no matter what equipment they use, but especially if they have been using the same equipment a long time.
Todays blog is a reaction to questions I received last week from two experienced detectorists taking new equipment on detecting vacations.
My response was don't do it, take equipment you are comfortable using because a potentially good metal detecting situation is not the time to take chances with equipment you are unfamiliar with. 
My wife always comes out with the best response to new detecting equipment I mull over buying, reeling off a long list of trophy finds and "What were you using when you found it." 
Of course my answer to everything on the list is always the same, a metal detector with a regular size search coil that I know like the back of my hand.
There really is a lot to be said about being in the comfort zone with your favorite beach hunting equipment. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

High end sites question

I get asked where I hunt on a weekly basis, by people who mistakenly believe I hang outside high end hotels waiting for people to lose jewelry at the beach. 
Nothing could be further from the truth, because high end beach sites are the most heavily hunted places in Florida.
I am not into traveling to heavily hunted sites duking it out with people who have a lot more time to go metal detecting than I do. 
In my opinion you have just as much chance of finding a piece of valuable jewelry at a beach opposite a budget hotel as you do outside a Hilton hotel. 
Sometimes a fancy swimming pool with bar and restaurant will lure people away before they even have a chance to lose jewelry at the beach.
I have found beaches with a fancy hotel and large swimming pool to be less productive jewelry hunting ground than a beach opposite a public parking lot. 
When the weekend rolls around and I head out the door with my detector, I go to a site that gives me the best chance of recovering jewelry, preferably platinum or gold. 
If I find expensive jewelry its a bonus, but I just want to find gold jewelry no matter what the price tag.
I saw a post on a detecting forum that inspired todays blog topic, a Florida water hunter saying how he went to the beach at 7 am on Memorial day and saw ten other people already metal detecting opposite a high end hotel.
You could probably say that about any day opposite a high end hotel on a Florida beach, which leads me to the point of this blog.
If you already know you have a slim chance of finding anything opposite a heavily hunted site, why join the detecting crowd?
Surely it is better to search the opposite type of place and probably find more gold and occasionally a very expensive piece of jewelry.
You get better odds of finding jewelry when you are not one of at least ten searchers at the site every day.
This strategy has helped me to find gold jewelry on a regular basis, less hunters more gold! 
I never worry about what I could be possibly missing out on, as many high end site searchers do.
I worry how I am going to find the time to visit all my favorite lesser hunted sites, places that often hold just as much high end jewelry.