Total Pageviews

Monday, August 29, 2016

Going around in circles for gold

A couple of people recently asked how I search for gold chains after I recover gold pendants at the beach.
Not all gold pendants are lost off gold chains, I am sure many gold pendants come off silver chains too.
All experienced beach or water hunters will tell you, the first thing that comes to mind after finding a gold pendant is where is the gold chain ? 
Detecting gold chains in not that easy, detecting a gold chain without a pendant or a decent size clasp is even tougher, but it can be done if you have a good search technique and a little luck.
When I recover a gold pendant, I immediately start searching the area for the gold chain it probably came off. 
The main way I search an area after I find a gold pendant, is by searching in a spiral pattern away from where I scooped up the pendant. 
In my opinion, using a spiral search pattern away from the area you scooped the pendant, is a more effective than searching in straight lines. 
When I believe I have searched a wide enough area for the gold chain, I circle back towards the pendant recovery site to see if I can detect the gold chain from a slightly different sweep direction.
Nine times out of ten I do not recover the gold chain I am searching for, but when I do recover a gold chain I do not complain about the odds. 
Using a spiral search pattern earlier in the year, is how I recovered this sweet 1.5 ounce white gold chain with sapphires on the clasp, after first finding the 1.5 ounce gold pendant. 
I figured the gold chain must have been a decent size one to hold the pendant.

The gold chain was recovered approximately six feet away from the hole I pulled the pendant from, sometimes it pays to walk around in circles at the beach. 
Three ounces of gold, instead of walking away in a straight line after recovering 1.5 ounces of gold. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Look around the whole beach

To answer a question from Paul in New York, sanded-in conditions do not have to ruin your beach hunting plans.
When people tell me they have not found anything in ages because of sanded-in conditions, I know they probably only search the lower beach.
If you restrict yourself by only searching along the lower beach at low tide, you will go home disappointed far more times than a person who has not excluded searching other areas of the beach. 
Assuming the only place people lose jewelry and coins is in a straight line on the lower beach, is not a good beach jewelry hunting strategy. 
It is one of those out dated search techniques still passed around on the forums, like showing up at the beach two hours before low tide.
There is a good reason why I rarely go home empty handed from the beach, I do not "Box hunt."
I search above the high tide line, beach entrances, volleyball courts, around concession stand, water sports rental areas, and anywhere else someone may lose something good.
You can learn a lot about beach jewelry hunting by hanging out at the beach without a metal detector, as I sometimes do with my family.
I watch people take jewelry off mid beach before going swimming and people near the beach entrance rearrange heavy loads and kids they carry on and off the beach.
I also watch people pulling hands out of pockets to pay people, the very same pockets jewelry and watches are put in for safe keeping. 
Sometimes a sudden rain shower has everyone quickly scooping up towels and items of clothing as they race towards beach entrances, pulling car keys out of pockets. 
I watch people diving around on the upper beach playing volleyball or soccer, throwing frisbees and footballs to each other.
Most of all I observe potential ways jewelry is lost all over the beach, not just in one area. 
Run that by me again, the best time and place to go jewelry hunting is two hours before low tide on the lower beach? 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Careful where you dump on the beach

Yes I know Im a big kid with the blog heading lol but seriously here is a useful tip when dumping sand out of your scoop basket at the beach. 
Always make sure you sweep over any area you intend dumping a scoop full of sand, just in case you drop a nice piece of jewelry or a coin on top of a large lump of iron buried in the sand.
Your metal detector will null over the large clump of iron making it impossible to detect the jewelry or coin. 
An easy way to combat this problem is checking any area you dump sand over, but if it happens to you the only thing you can do is push sand away from the area until you can detect the good target again. 
I wonder how many people have walked away from a good target they could not detect again, after dumping sand on top of a large piece of iron. 
This is why I always check areas at the beach where I see obvious signs of digging by another beach or water hunter.  
Some people with poor pinpointing skills get frustrated, give up and walk away from good targets.
Good targets like this 18K gold rope chain with diamond cross, recovered on the side of a big wide hole another beach hunter had walked away from. 


Many newbies are now swinging extra large search coils, without learning how to pinpoint targets using a smaller standard size metal detector search coil.
The smaller the dug target, the more difficult it is to detect if the dug target is dropped onto sand covering other metal objects. 
You may also make the mistake of recovering a coin that was not the target you dug, and walk away leaving the initial object you dropped in the area behind. 
Old habits serve me well, I always check areas before dumping sand and then recheck the dug hole and the dump area.
Just like I always check for more targets in my scoop basket, I have found a gold ring and a penny in my scoop basket on several occasions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Other peoples metal detector settings

I get asked for my metal detector settings and coin or jewelry hunting programs on a weekly basis, mainly from Minelab CTX 3030 and Excalibur users.
Although I never have a problem sharing my settings or programs, the metal detector settings or programs I pass on usually come with a disclaimer. 
In my opinion, other peoples settings or programs for metal detectors with screens, are just that other peoples settings. 
It is highly unlikely other peoples settings or programs will do you any favors at the beach, especially if you do not know the reasons for using them. 
I prefer to set my metal detector controls when I get to the beach, using a few preset starting points and making adjustments on the fly as I get into a beach or water hunt.
There are very few "Set and forget" controls on the metal detectors I use for beach and water hunting.
The settings or program are chosen because I know why I am using them and most importantly how they help me to detect what I am searching for. 
Understanding settings and how they effect the outcome of a beach or water hunt, will help you to get the most out of your metal detector. 
At metal detecting events, I often get asked to check out coin or gold programs people have copied off the internet for beach or water hunting.
Sometimes they are programs designed for searching freshwater lakes in the midwest, or beaches in Europe. 
One day I am hoping someone will come up to me and say check out the program I created for beaches I search and here is why I use it. 
From a hardcore beach and water hunters prospective, your settings can make a huge difference at heavily hunted sites.
For example, have you noticed how much gold jewelry I still manage to find as a weekend warrior at heavily hunted beaches in my area. 
Some people may say its simply good luck or location, or a combination of both, but maybe its because I know how to get the best out of the metal detectors I use.
These two heavy 18K gold bands were recovered on my last water hunt, they were both very deep targets on the edge of detection range in rough surf.

I credit the CTX 3030 settings I was using in the rough surf, with helping me bring home the cheddar.
Read your metal detector detector manual, read it again and then read it some more, until you figure out what settings will work best for you at the beaches you search. 
If you still need help, my CTX 3030 books and Excalibur pro user guide will give you some very good starting points. 
My basic settings and programs are in the books, but I still advise you to learn what works best for you in your search areas. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to scoop targets water hunting

I was recently asked what is the best way to scoop targets when water hunting.
In my opinion, if you are serious about water hunting you need a good long handled stainless steel scoop, with a decent size basket.
Lightweight aluminum scoops make recovering target difficult, even in calm water. 
There is nothing worse than struggling to keep your scoop basket over a target in choppy surf. 
When I detect a target water hunting, the first thing I do is turn to the side so waves are not hitting me head on.
I then pinpoint the location of the target, then place my scooping foot directly behind the back of my search coil with the toe of my dive boot touching the back of my search coil. 
Moving my search coil away, I press the front lip of my scoop basket into the sand at a sharp angle just in front of my toes. 
The initial deep bite of sand is important, because if you fail to secure the target in your scoop basket on the first attempt, you have created a pocket or hole for the object to fall into. 
Always shuck or sift sand directly over the area, do not move away even when you have the target in your scoop. 
Just like beach hunting, you need to recheck the hole for other targets before moving away from the hole. 
If you fail to recover the target on the first attempt, try pinpointing the target and scoop a little deeper before expanding the width of the hole.
On average, you should be able to recover targets under the water in three attempts.
This is another reason why I always preach about learning pinpointing and recovering targets on the beach, before venturing into the water. 
Every year I find jewelry in and around holes left behind by water hunters with poor target pinpointing and recovery skills.
This gold chain was found last year next to a deep hole in the water,  another reason why I always check out obvious signs of digging in the water and on the beach.

Which reminds me of a perfect closing line for this blog entry, never walk away from a good sounding target! 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How, where and when.

Here are three important things that will help you as a beach or water hunter, no matter what you are searching for.

Know what you are searching for and likely to find

In my opinion, many beach and water hunters do not bother to plan around the things they are searching for.
For example, I love searching for old coins and artifact in Florida, but the chances of me finding any of these objects are slim most of the time.
So I take advantage of the many tourist areas in Florida by searching for modern jewelry.
I revolve my whole metal detecting plans around searching for lost jewelry, predominantly freshly lost platinum, gold or silver jewelry.
From my choice of metal detector and search coil, to my search mode and search techniques
I know what I am searching for and use the best search mode and search techniques to find what I am searching for.
If I detect old coins or artifacts its a bonus, but I cannot dig every piece of junk metal at the beach just in case I miss something old and encrusted.

Know where to find what you are searching for 

The majority of beach and water hunters struggle to find what they are searching for because they are searching in the wrong place and they do not bother to learn how to read the beach.
Beach and water hunting hunting can often be very monkey see, monkey do, if you are not careful.
As you would expect by the photos of the gold jewelry I post, I know what equipment works best for me, how to read a beach and where to find jewelry.
I can tell you for sure, jewelry is not found at the same place at the same time every week, as many other beach hunters assume it is.
The amount of people using the beach, the weather and surf conditions all effect a jewelry hunters chances of having a successful jewelry hunt.
A beach or water hunter who takes the time to study the way people use the beach, the way wind and waves effect the beach, and how all of these things are connected will be successful no matter what they are searching for.

Know when to find what you are searching for 

When you know what you are searching for and where to find it, knowing when to find it becomes easier. 
Developing good timing comes with experience, being in the right place at the right time is the sign of a good beach or water hunter.
Being "Johnny on the spot" makes a difference, especially at heavily hunted beaches. 
Many people just show up at the beach to detect, but if I am there it is usually for a good reason or two.
I found fifteen pieces of jewelry in three hours water hunting yesterday morning, unfortunately only three pieces of gold, but my timing was spot on. 
Timing is seldom talked about in beach and water hunting circles, but it should be as it can make a huge difference, no matter what you are searching for.
Yesterday morning my timing was spot on again, three 22K gold bangle bracelets and a dozen other pieces of jewelry recovered during a three hour water hunt.

How, where and when, three words to revolve your beach or water hunting plans around. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Claim jumpers and competition at heavily hunted beaches

Mike from New York asked me how I deal with people who jump straight in front of you when you are detecting at the beach.
This beautiful and heavy 18K gold ladies ring with diamonds and yellow sapphires should answer the question, nothing beats sticking to your game plan and picking up trophy finds behind inconsiderate beach or water hunters.

On the morning I recovered this bling ring, I was slowly searching in a straight line inside the water close to shore.  
Five members of a metal detecting club from the next town walked onto the beach, the group watched me from the lower beach as they prepared to get into the water. 
After clearly seeing what direction I was moving towards, the group of water hunters waded into the water a few yards ahead of me and took away the area I was about to search. 
The group spread out and proceeded to search in front of me zig zagging through the water.
I checked out the competition, they were traveling through the water too fast and a couple of the water hunters directly in front of me were using inferior metal detectors to the one I was using. 
After about an hour they turned around and made their way back towards me, I was approached by one smiling member of the group who asked me if I had any luck and started laughing. 
I normally would never show any other beach or water hunter anything I find, to avoid motivating them to return to search the area.
On this occasion I broke Gary Drayton rule number one, I decided to wipe the smiles off their faces by showing them this ring and a 22 K gold wedding band I had also recovered following the inconsiderate water hunters. 
The two gold rings in my hand left the group scratching their heads in disbelief, and no doubt gave them something to think about on the long ride home. 
This happens to me a lot at heavily hunted beaches, it happened last Sunday when I recovered five pieces of gold jewelry in the high tide line.
Another beach hunter saw me digging targets, the guy walked over towards me, jumped in front of me and and started searching the same line.
Luckily this person was in a hurry and was just as sloppy as the water hunting group.
If this happens to you, my advice is to always remember that it is not how much ground you cover, it is how you cover the ground. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ways to find coins and jewelry at sanded in beaches

Look for where the sand came from 

The extra sand had to have come from some place, so why not look for the area where it came from.
Sometimes a sanded in lower beach can be a water hunters best friend, if you know how to water hunt.
When the lower beach is sanded in, I search for areas inside the water close to shore that look like they have lost sand, rocks showing is an obvious sign.
The same applies to a steep sloping beach, the wet sand at the bottom of the slope close to the water may be the place to search. 
I have seen water hunters post on detecting forums that shallow water hunting is bad because it is sanded in, pity they do not search the lower beach too!

Go deep

Beach and water hunting is often a game of inches, changing to a larger search coil can and often does make a difference during sanded in conditions. 
For example, my Minelab CTX 3030 17 inch search coil is a good six inches deeper than my 11 inch search coil, on a wide variety of commonly detected objects at the beach.
When you know a beach is sanded in, forget about target separation and go for deeply buried targets.
A sanded in lower beach may have few good shallow targets,  but it may hold many more good targets a little deeper and further away from the water.

Look for coin lines

Just because a beach is sanded in, it does not mean you cannot find anything. 
Stuff still washes up on the most sanded in beaches, especially flat objects like coins.
Rely on your twin optical scanners to look for shells or seaweed from previous high tide lines.
An east - west search pattern on a north - south running coastline, should help you to pick up on any coin lines at the beach. 
Once you see a line or loose pattern emerge from your dug holes, switch to a north - south search pattern and slowly search along that line. 
If you are lucky, you may pick up on a deeper coin line that is not visible on the surface, objects probably deposited on a previous high tide line. 

Stay positive

Just because a beach may look pants at first sight, does not mean you should walk off the beach and go home. 
Some of my favorite finds have come off sanded in beaches, from Spanish treasure coins and artifacts to modern bling, I assume because local hunters thought the sanded in conditions were a waste of metal detecting time.
I remember this diamond ring washed up on a sanded in beach, only a couple of inches deep and placed in my finds pouch because I bothered to search the sanded in beach.