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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Separating, detecting and recovering

In my opinion, too many beach and water hunters stress over target depth, wanting the deepest seeking metal detector or search coil.
When a new metal detector or search coil is released, the number one question asked is how deep is it? 
Target depth is not the number one thing I look for in a metal detector or search coil,  I am more concerned with detecting small size targets at shallow to average depths. 
If you can detect small stuff at shallow to average depths you can certainly detect large stuff buried deeper. 
The majority of my best finds were recovered from shallow to quite average depths, levels where target separation and my metal detectors sensitivity to small targets are always far more important than target depth.
You could say beach and shallow water hunting is simply about separating the good stuff from the trash, making sure you detect it so you have something good to recover. 
Once you learn how iron and other non ferrous (Iron) objects help mask the stuff you are searching for at the beach, you will realize how target depth is ok but not the most important thing for a beach hunter.
Several times this year, I took deep seeking equipment into areas immediately after I recovered good stuff and recovered nothing more at deeper levels. 
It was not there and that is often the case when beach hunting, not everything good or better is just out of normal detection range. 
The old adage you have to dig through the trash to find the treasure is true, either dig the trash or find a way of searching over it to detect and hear the treasure you are looking for.
Separating targets is the real key to finding good stuff at trashy tourist type beach sites, in wide open areas with very little trash, use a slow pace and slow sweep speed to help you detect deep targets.
Ever notice how many stories of good beach or water hunting finds start with, I rechecked the hole and got another faint signal.
The same thing happened to me several years ago, when I pulled this three hundred year old Spanish silver religious artifact out of a hole I had just dug a small galleon spike from. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Traveling to metal detect tips

I have been a road warrior this year, spending a lot of time metal detecting in different countries and packing my metal detector for a total of twenty flights. 
As you would expect, I learned the pros and cons of the metal detecting equipment I took with me. 
Not only the metal detecting equipment, but the clothes, boots and rain gear I took to metal detect in.
I would fit in nicely on Noah's ark as I took two of everything which in my opinion is always the safe thing to do. 
The Minelab metal detectors I use are very travel friendly and I take two search coils for each of the two metal detectors I travel with.
I still prefer to put the actual control box guts in my carry on baggage along with manuals so the security screeners can see what they are. 
All my batteries I put in checked baggage along with my Lesche digging tool, pin-pointer and bottle of rum, hey a pirate has to take a little grog when traveling abroad. 
I wear my heavy boots for traveling in and keep my lighter boots in my suitcase, along with two sets of lightweight Columbia rain suits.
If I am going to be land hunting I buy a spade when I get to where I am traveling to, if Im going to be beach or water hunting I take a lightweight two piece aluminum travel scoop.
I take the stock rechargable metal detector battery and charger along with a metal detector battery pod that takes throw away batteries, two different sets for each metal detector I travel with.
A few things I take just in case, are a small roll of duck tape, extra search coil bolts, lower detector shaft, arm cuff straps and a multi tool, but remember to put it in your checked bag.
The clothing side is easy, I keep an eye on the weather predictions for the place Im traveling to and I take cold and warm climate gear just in case because weather forecasts stink no matter where you travel to. 
Bug spray, sunscreen and emergency medical kit round out the traveling to detect stuff, any other emergency see earlier note on bottle of rum. 
The main lesson learned this year is to not cheap out and check two bags, divide your metal detecting equipment, target recovery tools and clothes between two bags just in case you have a bag go missing.
If you have to run to catch a flight, you can bet your suitcase did not run as fast as you did! 
Pack lightweight versatile metal detecting equipment and good outdoor type clothing.
Im big into moisture wicking and thermal shirts, convertible pants and waterproof boots.
Traveling to detect is fun when you are prepared for the little stuff to go wrong, even something as simple as having that second set of rain gear or boots so you don't have to detect in the damp stuff that did not dry out in time. 
Safe travels and stay lucky my friends.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beach conditions and reports

People who wait for favorable conditions or rely on reports from others miss out on more than good recoveries, they miss a chance to learn site reading skills. 
One of the many reasons I do not rely on tide charts or surf predictions is I make my own luck.
I am going to go beach hunting regardless of the conditions and I am going to detect and recover something somewhere at the beach.
Searching beaches under less than ideal conditions will help you to become a better beach hunter, because it will force you to adapt your metal detecting and search techniques to tackle a wide variety of beach hunting situations. 
I promise you will never see me complaining about poor beach hunting conditions or posting fluffy filler in my blog as I have nothing to talk about due to unfavorable conditions. 
Saying I got to the beach and the tide was not in my favor will never happen, I search the tide and conditions I encounter when I get to the beach. 
Second hand beach reports are just that, old news telling you that you should have gone to the beach instead of waiting for improved conditions.
In my opinion, the more beach or water hunting conditions and tide levels you expose yourself to the more chance you have of detecting and recovering something good.
Check out the finds page on my website for inspiration or better still reap the rewards of having your search coil over the sand instead of waiting for improving beach hunting conditions or low tide.
Even if you do not recover anything good during less than ideal beach hunting conditions, I know you will learn something you can use on future beach hunts. 
Ask me what tide it was when I recovered a good find and I will struggle to answer, but I can tell you the conditions and they were not always good. 
A beach is constantly changing, its best to be at the beach with a metal detector instead of reading old news about how it changed. 
Being at the right place at the right time happens more often to beach hunter who search regardless of the conditions and tides.
Experience the conditions and reap the rewards !

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Looking down and around

When you are into metal detecting you find yourself looking at the ground a lot, even though I often use a metal detector with a VDI screen I always have my eyes trained on the ground or on the ground ahead of me. 
I have recovered so many great things using my "Twin optical scanners" while sweeping a metal detector search coil in front of me. 
Yesterday I was able to help a stranger out in a parking lot because I am always looking ahead with an eye towards the ground. 
As a person walked towards their car in a beachside parking lot, I saw papers flutter to the ground as they pulled their car keys out and got inside their vehicle.
The person backed out of the space and was pulling away but I stepped in front of their car holding my hand up and pointed to the ground. 
I picked up the six $20 bills and gave them back to the person who thanked me before driving off.
On Oak Island this summer I found a wallet stuffed with some lucky old couples holiday cash in the hotel parking lot, I say lucky because I handed the fat wallet to the hotel receptionist who reunited the happy couple with the wallet.
I believe I have posted a few stories of finding cash while walking the dog this year and even a prosthetic leg leaning against a chain link fence, talk about getting legless lol 
The point of todays blog is how observational skills help in metal detecting, instead of looking at a metal detector screen look at the ground you are covering.
Always keep an eye out for things that do not belong or look out of place, especially a the beach if you are a beach hunter. 
A favorite trick of mine when searching tourist beaches at night is to search in a line below the previous high tide mark, wearing a headlamp with the beam angled just along the high tide line.
Im metal detecting but watching for anything caught in the headlamp beam, at first light my attention changes to trying to spot any potentially interesting areas on the beach as the early beach hunting bird often gets the worm!
After years of looking at the ground and the ground ahead of me, my ninja site reading skills are something I rely on all the time. 
Being in the right place at the right time means little unless you see the things that make a difference.
A beach is constantly changing, make sure you see the subtle as well as the obvious changes, the compactness of the sand, a shell line, exposed rocks or any number of things can help you if you are looking down and around. 
Something to think about if you believe only a specific metal detector or search coil make everything possible at the beach.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Strippers at the beach, warning with topless photo!

Some of my favorite strippers at the beach were called Frances, Katrina and Sandy, hurricanes that stripped sand from beaches helping me to detect a lot of good stuff.
When rough surf from fierce coastal storms strip sand off the beach, you have a golden opportunity to find something good assuming you know how to search an eroded beach.
Two often overlooked areas on eroded beaches are the vertical face of the cut and mid beach, areas I have recovered some pretty amazing finds at this year.
Most beach hunters when searching eroded beaches, are into searching the base of the cut at the back of the beach, then following the cut a long ways down the beach. 
I do search along the base of the cut, but I also search the face of the cut and drop down to mid beach if the tide will allow it. 
When I know I am not the first person to have searched an eroded beach, or some time has passed since beach erosion took place I tend to head directly to the mid beach area, especially if I see lower spots mid beach.
Like many other things to do with beach metal detecting, there is a logical reason why the mid beach area tends to be the most productive area after a damaging coastal storm.
Following high tides rarely make it back up to the back of the beach, so mid beach becomes the new high tide zone, logically any good targets flushed out of the back of the beach or washed onto the beach  will end up being deposited beach in the new high tide zone.
Another reason mid beach is often ignored is because people wrongly assume once the base of the cut has been searched the erosion has been searched out. 
Nothing could be further from the truth, eroded beaches can often be productive for many days, weeks or even months after erosion first took place. 
Look at an eroded beach like a push penny arcade game, try putting your search coil closest to the line with the most targets. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Come get it

Oh no they did'nt? is something I often find myself thinking after checking out internet metal detecting sites. 
On Facebook groups and metal detecting forums, you see people giving away productive sites or areas for a few WTGs on a nice recovery.
Posting photos of potentially good beach hunting conditions is also popular, especially during or after coastal storms or high surf. 
Call me an old fashioned beach prospector, but sending an RSVP to the competition is not the wisest move for a beach hunter.
Productive sites always have the potential to be productive in the future, unless you give them away and everyone with a metal detector for miles around knows about them.
Good beach hunting conditions have the potential to be open for business several days, but they will be cleaned out quickly if you post a report about upgraded site conditions and attract a metal detecting crowd. 
Beach and water hunters can find more stuff in the future at productive sites if they keep the site and upgraded conditions on the down low.
Good beach hunting sites are normally reliant on specific beach conditions to help open them up.
This is especially true of beach hunting sites known for kicking up old coins or artifacts, for example shipwreck beaches. 
Good sites within a site are golden if you know where they are located, no matter if it is a tourist beach or an out of the way shipwreck beach.
Give your good sites away and they are gone forever, give an eroded beach open for business away and it is heavily hunted quickly.
I look at my favorite money holes like a savings account, I can always make a withdrawal in the future when the time is right. 
There is a darn good reason why I do not post details of exactly where I go or who I meet and what I find at those places I search. 
I like productive sites and knowing I can count on them in the future too much to risk giving them away with a blow by blow account of my beach or water hunt.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Programs and patterns

I am a big fan of using discrimination searching tourist type beaches for jewelry, but only using a little discrimination to reject certain nuisance targets. 
I am referring to fish hooks and hairpins, two things that can be rejected and not cause you to miss gold chains or solitaire diamond rings with thin bands.  
Go too heavy on the discrimination and you run the risk of rejecting good stuff, a great reason to test targets at the beach to see what level of metal detector discrimination you can use before good targets are rejected.
If you have a metal detector like the CTX 3030 and use other peoples programs with patterns, you run the risk of leaving good stuff in the sand. 
You have to know why and where they use that program and discrimination pattern, also what the person searches for.
A better idea is to take the time to compile your own program with settings and a discrimination level to suit the places you search and tailored towards detecting what you are searching for.
I have seen some pretty scary shaded out metal detector screens in my time, from gold jewelry to silver coin programs, usually loaded by people who only want to find certain specific targets.
Thats ok if it floats your boat, but I would rather be in charge of the discrimination department.
Heck even many pulse induction metal detectors now come with an iron rejection feature, so much for digging it all. 
I guess it all comes down to how well you know your metal detector and what you are searching for when it comes to discrimination. 
It is not what unwanted targets you are rejecting by shading out an area on your screen, but the collateral damage stuff that is lost on the edge of shaded areas.
A little test for CTX 3030 users is to run over an area using the preset Beach Mode, then go back over the same area after pressing the Detect button using Pattern 2 the more wide open search mode, I bet you find at least a few non ferrous (Iron) targets. 
Non ferrous targets your preset Beach mode discrimination pattern rejected, do that enough times and you'll know why I use Pattern 2 with the thin line of discrimination to reject small nails.
If you are searching for old coins and artifacts, the small nails rejection line should be all the discrimination pattern you need to use. 
If you are searching for gold chains and big solitaire diamond rings at tourist beaches, you better know why you put your trust in a strangers program or discrimination pattern.  
I don't like small nails but I do love bobby dazzlers in the scoop basket!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The best metal detector

For a beach or water hunter the best metal detector to buy is the one you choose after doing research on metal detectors. 
Buying a metal detector just because someone you see uses one is probably the worst thing you can do, unless that person is well known for their metal detecting finds and they have used the metal detector for quite some time.
Even then I recommend heading to your local dealer to see if you can hold the same metal detector in your hands.
Its no secret what make and models of metal detector I prefer to use, but I often try other brands just in case something is better. 
So far I have not used anything that would make me want to change from using my favorite Minelab metal detectors for my style of beach and water hunting. 
Actually, I have to slow my roll on trying other brands as it is become expensive losing money selling metal detectors and search coils I tried, tested and decided I preferred what I have.
Research before you buy any type of metal detecting equipment is very important, buy something because you believe it fits your style of hunting and go from there.
For example, perhaps a non waterproof but more versatile metal detector is a better fit if you are a beach hunter.
If you intend to only search inside the water, its either going to be a waterproof VLF or pulse induction metal detector choice for you.
The more things on a metal detector that aid your type of hunting the better.
For example, it makes no sense hunting in the all metal search mode digging every metal object using a top of the ling discriminating VLF metal detector, although plenty of people do.
Buy a deeper detecting pulse induction metal detector if you want to dig every piece of metal.
The same applies to pulse hunters who discriminate by target response, why not buy a discriminating VLF if you are going to reject targets in all metal.
If you have to turn a metal detector into something resembling a metal detector already out there, save up and buy the darn thing you are trying to copy.
Heck it may actually be a cheaper metal detector and a better fit for your style of hunting. 
A high priced metal detector does not guarantee more or better finds, unless it is the right fit for you.
Look at the important things that make a difference between metal detectors, ease of use, controls you can adjust to suit different situations and can it detect the type of targets you are searching for. 
Certain metal detectors are hot on small gold, others optimized towards detecting silver and some metal detectors are better suited to detecting large iron targets.
All of these reasons are why I tell people to do lots of research before buying a metal detector, I also always recommend buying the metal detecting equipment you are most comfortable using.
A metal detector should be a tool used to help you detect what you are searching for.
I doubt you would buy a tool at the local hardware store that was not suitable for the job you intended to use it on.
You would buy the right tool for the job, buying a metal detector or any type of metal detecting equipment should be the same.
Start by identifying the targets you are likely to detect in the areas you search, then research what metal detector is regarded as being the best at detecting what you are searching for.
Pull the trigger on that metal detector, read the manual several times and commit to it as that metal detector will be the one you compare all others to in the future.
Research and choosing the right tool for the job are the keys to getting it right when choosing the best metal detector. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A few thoughts on using large search coils

I often use a large 17 inch search coil on my CTX 3030 when I want to cover ground quicker and search for deeper targets.
There are plenty of reasons for using a large search coil, but ground coverage and target depth are the best reasons.
I have often changed to a large search coil on a site that is producing and found nothing more than I did using the standard size metal detector search coil, sometimes it does not make a difference.
A large search coil used in even a moderately trashy area may and often does cause you to miss good targets. 
You have to know why you are using a large search coil and why the search site is a good place to use a large search coil.
It all goes back to site selection and understanding the effects of both ferrous (Iron) and non ferrous target masking. 
A large search coil can cause you to walk over an area without detecting what you are searching for, a smaller search coil may have you digging like a crazy person over the same area.
So I look at large search coils like I look at pulse induction metal detectors, they are very site specific. 
Use a deep detecting large coil or PI at the wrong type of site and any target depth advantage quickly disappears, along with your chances of recovering anything good.
A large search coil will not change your fortunes if you are having a tough time finding anything, unless ground coverage and target depth are issues.
Again, site selection and understanding the effects of target masking will help you decide if you need to go large.
So too will knowing the recovery speed of your metal detector, or time it takes for your metal detector to recover and detect something after it detects a previous target. 
Once your metal detector threshold (Background noise) disappears you are not actually detecting anything until the threshold reappears which is a scary thought at a trashy site where you could have your search coil over multiple targets.
If you are thinking of investing in a large search coil, make sure you have the sites to get the maximum return on your investment. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Chasing or finding ?

In my opinion, metal detector proficiency, search techniques and beach reading skills are the keys to being a successful beach or water hunter. 
Chasing other beach or water hunters around is not something I have ever done or even thought about doing, quite the opposite as I am usually the one being hunted by people wanting to know where my secret beach and water hunting sites are.
Which is pretty funny as my secret beach and water hunting sites are actually the same sites other people can and do search on a regular basis.
Just because someone found something good at a site, does not mean another person can find the same type of good find at the same site, unless you believe everything is lost in the same place all the time.
Research, choose and spend a lot of time using a metal detector and you will have one heck of an advantage of the majority of beach hunters. 
Sweep your search coil low slow and level and you will add to that advantage at the majority of beach and water hunting sites.
Putting it all together is easy when you know how to read a beach, which also only comes after putting your time in at local beaches and learning from previous good finds recovered. 
What did the beach look like, what conditions were present and what did the recovery layer look like?
Basic things that make a difference at the time of the recovery, but probably mean nothing a day or so later by someone chasing another beach hunter down.
People who always seem to be in the right place at the right time are usually seasoned beach hunters who have used a specific metal detector for a good amount of time.
Take the time to know what your metal detector is capable of and just as importantly not capable of and it will serve you very well.
Take the time to cover ground methodically using sound metal detecting techniques with an eye towards site reading and you will eventually become the hunted. 
The more you learn about your metal detector including how and where to use it, the less likely you are to be concerned about who is finding what and where.
I also guarantee you the type of metal detector you use only makes a difference if you know why you are using it. 
There are no short cuts in beach and water hunting, the more you learn the more you find. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Never ignore areas and assume anything

This year I have recovered several "Bobby dazzler" finds in some pretty unassuming areas, mainly because I prefer to search out of the beach and water hunting comfort zones. 
The comfort zones every beach or shallow water hunter knows, the lower beach and waist to chest deep water at low tide.
I am not a low tide beach or water hunter, meaning it does not have to be low tide for me to go out metal detecting.
Even if it is low tide, it does not mean I will search the low tide zone, I prefer to search the area I consider to have the most potential after arriving at the beach.
Land, beach and water reading skills put finds in your pouch, these skills can only be taken advantage of when you are open to searching a wide variety of areas any time of the day.
Hands up how many beach or water hunters will ignore the wet sand or water at low tide?
I recovered some pretty impressive finds this year by going against the accepted norms of beach or water hunting by deciding to search higher up on a beach at low tide. 
If you get too set in your ways, you end up being the person who everyone sees searching between point A and point B at the local beach.
Jeez I can drive to Fort Lauderdale or Deerfield Beach and tell you who will be searching, what they are wearing, even what day and what time of day you can see them.
Most importantly I can tell you where at the beach they will be searching, as beach and water hunters eventually become so predictable. 
My biggest competition is always myself and beginners, people new to metal detecting don't usually have a preset plan of attack, they are unpredictable and always have a chance of recovering something that may have had my name on it.
They never assume everything must be detected and recovered in the same areas every time they go metal detecting.
Lower beaches change daily thanks to the tides, what does not change is the possibility of recovering anything, any time and any place at the beach.
Learn to read the beach when you get there, not before leaving to metal detect at the beach. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Good things are worth waiting for on the beach

Two things you can count on if you live on the Eastern seaboard is sand piling on the beach during the summer due to easterly winds and sand coming off the beaches due to north winds in the winter. 
Because of the easterly winds pushing sand ashore during the summer months, I tend to spend more time in the water than on the beach.
The winter months I prefer beach hunting with a little water hunting at certain sites I have stashed in the top secret Drayton gold files.  
As the title of this blog says, good things are worth waiting for when the winds start blowing from a different direction. 
You could say I wait for mother nature to help put older coins, jewelry and artifacts within reach of my metal detector search coil.
Here are a few bobby dazzlers rescued off beaches thanks to mother natures fury, mama has been very kind to me over the years, perhaps all those under the radar jewelry, camera and wallet returns buy me a little karma.  

I run across good beach or water hunting conditions out of season, but as a rule when searching for older stuff you need the help of ma nature to detect really good stuff in areas known for older finds.
Of course if you only search in the water or only beach hunt you are well and truly buggered as they say in England. 
Water hunters don't often make good beach hunters, and beach hunters don't always make good water hunters, so its best to make sure your good at both.
Learn how to use your metal detector and read a beach on the beach, then learn water hunting so you can do both. 
Taking advantage of seasonal changes at beaches often involves knowing how to take advantage of changing beach or water conditions. 
The reason I use different metal detecting equipment in the winter months, than I use during the summer months.
What, where and why you found something can often be explained by the changing of the seasons, even in Florida.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

You cant do or use that, can you ?

Although Im a salty dog, Im just at home in swamps, marshes, a river or muddy field. 
One important thing I have learned over the years is you have to have the target recovery tools for the job, especially when you get "Squadded" up as they say in Lincolnshire England. 
Two things I always carry and use to help me locate and recover targets is a waterproof pin-pointer and a decent size flat head screwdriver.  
I believe I have probably used a spade more than a long handled beach scoop this year. 
Pin-pointer, flat head screwdriver and garden spade are not your normal beach or water hunting accessories, but I promise all will be revealed about my unusual choice of target recovery tools by the end of the year.
I look at target recovery tools like metal detectors and search coils, you use what is best for recovering what you are searching for in the areas you hunt.
I also have a target recovery tool bag in my vehicle just in case, consisting of needle nose pliers, a 250 pound strength pull magnet and a hammer and chisel, don't ask lol !
My choice of recovery tools should tell you a little about my style of hunting, I search places many other beach and water hunters do not.
I use natural coin and jewelry traps to my advantage, any area that is difficult to recover targets at is a great opportunity for an enterprising beach or water hunter, assuming you have the recovery tools for the job.
Rocky areas, coral ledges, thick mud, shell layers and hard packed sand are all jewelry and coin traps provided by mother nature to help a beach or water hunter.
The tougher it is to retrieve a target, the more chance that object has been there a long time.
For example, some people see a large boulder on the beach as an obstacle to walk around, I see that boulder as a coin, jewelry or artifact trap to search above and below.
I would also scan the boulder, just in case it is hiding something in a crack or crevice.
Sometimes good things are stuck between a rock and a hard place, if you are prepared to put your scoop down.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Target separation rules!

In my opinion, target separation is always more important than target depth when searching for jewelry at tourist beaches, the opposite applies to searching for older stuff at less trashy beach sites. 
It still surprises me just how much value is put into target depth at tourist beaches by people searching for jewelry. 
From experience I can tell you the hardest jewelry to detect is often the shallowest jewelry, I know because I make a living snagging shallow gold at heavily hunted beaches. 
Gold left behind by speedy grid coverers and golf swingers, gold just waiting to be detected by a person not bogged down digging deep pennies. 
I use search coils designed for target separation and my ears as my main discrimination tool.
I also never worry about what Im missing by hunting all the time in all metal or swinging a pizza box size search coil, I concentrate on detecting shallow or partially masked gold.
A gold slump always has more to do with site selection, equipment choice and search techniques than beach or water hunting conditions. 
For example, I often use an eight (7 1/4) inch search coil on my Minelab Excalibur to spice things up.
It is a discontinued size search coil, I assume because first time Excalibur buyers always preferred the larger 10-inch search coil model for ground coverage and target depth.
Swing an 8-inch search coil at a trashy beach entrance and you will hear gold the 10-inch search coil will not be able to detect.
A perfect example of recovery speed between targets being more important than target depth. 
You can detect a piece of shallow gold, or keep walking looking for a deeper piece of gold.
If you search heavily hunted beaches, why on earth would you be concerned about deep targets.
Fresh dropped shallow gold being hidden because its laying next to a bottle cap or penny should be the thing you are searching for.
Just my opinion, but I believe there is always something to find if you find a way to find it.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Early bird gets the worm

I have seen plenty of spectacular sunrises and sunsets since my last blog post, not sure where these photos were taken I just happened to pull over and click away from both directions as the sun rose and kissed the water. 

A good topic for a beach and water hunting blog as the early bird often gets the worm, especially at heavily hunted tourist beaches. 
I prefer early morning hunts at tourist beaches for two reasons, I do not like being seen and I like finding gold.
There are other good reasons to hit the beach early, including not having to deal with questions from inquisitive beach goers and the unwanted attention of any beach or water hunting competition in the area.
Having to take your headphones off and answer "Any luck?" questions from other people metal detecting can eat into your time.
I love watching other beach or water hunters chatting and I will often pick up the pace a little to take advantage of chatty competition.
Another reason I don't like to chat to other people metal detecting at the beach is I feel guilty lying, as "Nope" always means heck yes! 
If I had the choice of early predawn searching or night hunting, I always choose predawn hunting.
Sometimes I see beach or water hunting situations worth hanging around for, perhaps opportunities completely missed if I could not see them late at night.
You are also more likely to be able to take advantage of a good water hunting situation at dawn, it is less likely you hit the water at night. 
At tourist type beaches you sometimes find more stuff on the lower beach without a metal detector at sunrise, paper money, cameras, cell phones, sunglasses, are just a few of things you can pick up at sun rise. 
I see many a beach hunter coming on the beach as Im leaving the beach, too late the early bird got the worm! 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

No Rhyme or reason

Every so often I run across something somewhere that has me thinking what the heck is this stuff doing here.
So far this year has been full of great surprises and I know why, It's because I have taken the trouble to search areas that even I did not like the look of.
Beaches or areas that you never see anyone using, places with no good signs to attract a beach hunter.  
No parking lots, beach entrances, beach side houses, hotels or other places you figure someone lost something at.
Head scratching finds recovered from head scratching places,  when you are lucky enough to stumble across such a place you often do really well.
The uglier the beach, the prettier the gold if you keep the location to yourself. 
I am a firm believer the majority of beach and water hunters are birds of a feather who flock together. 
Some would argue why waste time searching off the beaten track when there are sites known by everyone to produce a trinket or two.
It often works out to be about the same amount of time wasted, only sometimes you discover untapped areas you can have all to yourself.
Battle it out and get skunked at heavily hunted beaches, or get skunked trying somewhere different, I know what I prefer to do.
Unfortunately, the more experienced you get the easier it is to get lured into believing you always have to go to a certain place to find.
In my opinion, fortune favors the person who try's different areas as in the long run the more productive sites you have up your sleeve the more likely you are to avoid gold droughts. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Face value

On my travels this year I have had the opportunity to search many heavily eroded beaches and recovered some pretty impressive finds which I will show before the end of the year.
A couple of trophy beach hunting finds came out of the vertical face of cuts on the beach.
The vertical face of a cut beach is often ignored by many beach hunters, because it is either too physically demanding to search or a metal detector is just too chattery with a search coil used on edge. 
One of the reasons I use the metal detectors I do is because they can do this type of work. 
Of course, when you search an area less hunted you are always going to have a great day at a productive site.
The vertical face of a cut beach is best searched using a metal detector with a 6 to12 inch size search coil, larger search coils tend to be too heavy for this type of beach work.
I actually prefer using elliptical search coils for searching eroded beaches, you can get closer to the base of a cut.
Using a search coil with a good side detection capability also helps, so too does a metal detector harness or hip mount kit if you use a heavy metal detector.
I have recovered many different things from the vertical face of cuts over the years, from Spanish treasure coins and colonial artifacts to modern gold chains and diamond rings.
The better the site the more chance you have of recovering something good if you flip your metal detector and search coil sideways and go full crab mode. 
I have walked onto heavily hunted eroded beaches that have been pounded by local beach hunters, but still pulled stuff out of the vertical face of a cut, long after a storm has passed.
Heck sometimes you get lucky and see stuff dangling or just waiting to be plucked out of the wall of the cut.
Are you missing a find of a lifetime by ignoring the vertical face of a cut beach?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

11 days without internet and the best metal detector at the beach

I will spare you the details about hurricane Irma, the loss of power and get right to the good stuff.
During our power outage I spent my spare time answering texts and messages on my phone, with the number one topic being metal detector or search coil related from people who thought that was the most important thing on my mind after the hurricane lol
It normally is but not this one time, anyway I fielded an unusually high number of questions from people who wanted to know what I thought was the best metal detector, several people asking the question took up metal detecting at heavily hunted beaches.
My reply was the best metal detector you can take to the beach is you, if you expose yourself to a wide variety of beach hunting sites and conditions.
Getting beach hunting savvy does not cost a darn thing, knowing where and why to search at the beach comes with experience and learning from experiences. 
Watch and learn to read people using the beach, see how your recoveries relate to when and where people use the beach.
Look for features that catch your eye, especially at beaches you are likely to return to search. 
For example bottom beach steps exposed, or a rocky area on the lower beach,  two things that could be good future beach hunting signs.
I rely heavily on site selection and beach reading skills, along with knowledge of my local beaches. 
Heck I believe I could probably kick butt at the beach without a metal detector and just a spade for digging.
I know why I am at most sites and what to look for at the beach, a metal detector just makes life easier pinpointing jewelry and coins.
You could say a metal detector is just a tool you use to compliment your beach or water hunting skills.
It should not be the opposite way around, if you have no beach or water hunting skills even the most expensive metal detector will not change your fortunes.
I sometimes put my metal detector down and use a pin-pointer in areas I know contain good stuff, especially when I know a small but potentially productive area is littered with iron. 
The less you rely on your metal detector, the more you will eventually find with your metal detector. 
Something to think about if you believe your metal detector is holding you back from finding good stuff.
When you learn to drive, you can drive any car, the one you choose to buy within your budget is usually the one you are most comfortable driving. 
Metal detectors are the same, learn where and how to use it. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Patience is a beach treasure hunting virtue

I am making the most of my computer time before hurricane Irma hits fortress Drayton cutting off power, and you know darn well I am checking out beach cams and news reports from the beach.
Probably wishful thinking as the beaches are in evacuation zones and we are under a curfew this afternoon. I have replied to a ton of when is the best times to search after a hurricane and what is the best metal detector to use questions, although our house and family is my top priority and beach hunting is a distant second. 
However my toes are tingling at the prospect of getting through this powerful storm and getting back to the beaches.
Watching TV news beach reports I have seen people already on beaches metal detecting as tropical storm force winds from feeder bands are moving across our area, but you will not see me out there yet for obvious reasons including I know better lol 
Some of my best finds have come after coastal storms have eroded beaches, many weeks or even months afterwards. 
Believe me, you don't have to be out on the beach during the storm or be one of the first people to hit the beach after the storm to find good stuff.
Hit the beaches when it is safe to do so and go with your gut feeling as far as the best place you are likely to detect what you are searching for.
I am partial to old stuff, so I will be hitting the best areas I know in search of older coins and jewelry. 
Beaches close to home, as traveling to and from distant beaches is a waste of metal detecting time and precious gas in the current situation. 
From previous experiences beach hunting after storms, I know I will be using a VLF metal detector and a little discrimination.
Digging everything on a ripped apart beach is no fun, think target separation over target depth. 
When conditions settle down and it is possible to get to more beaches, you should be able to do well many weeks after a storm, one of the perks of being a beach hunter who tries different beaches.
The more time that has passed after the storm, the more digging everything using an all metal search mode is the way to go, depending on the site.
Water hunting may be the best option at many beaches long after a storm has passed, this is where beach and water reading skills come into play.
This 5 ounce chunk of Spanish 17th century religious silver came off a Florida beach a full month after a hurricane, probably because it was a good hundred yards past everyones turn around point. 

Patience is a virtue when searching after a coastal storm, wait until it is safe to hit the beach then hammer areas you hope have opened up. 
If you are going to hit the same place everyone else is hitting, you better be a good beach hunter.
Although, patience can be a virtue at the most heavily hunted beach if you take your time and cover the sand instead of the whole beach. 
Its not who gets to the beach metal detecting first after a storm, its where you go and why!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Everyones favorite metal detector

You really find out just how much you like and I suppose depend on a certain metal detector when you have a perfect metal detecting opportunity.  
What would you put in your suitcase to go search a dream site, or use when a perfect treasure hunting scenario is ahead of you.
I know what metal detector I would use, a reliable one I know like the back of my hand. 
Although I have used a few metal detectors over the years, I rarely move away away from the type of metal detector I have become comfortable using.
I look at a metal detector as an important tool for beach and water hunting, but not something that is going to set me apart from other beach or water hunters, its just a metal detector. 
A lot of thought, practice and testing went into my choice of metal detector, it does all the things I want it to do so I can have a successful outing and just as importantly it detects the things I am searching for.
Im the operator and I use my metal detector to help me detect metal objects in the areas I like to search.
Site selection, site reading and search techniques make sure your choice of metal detector detects the stuff you would like to find.
Your choice of metal detector is important, but unfortunately you only find out what metal detector is best for you after you figure out what you are searching for in the areas you search.
In my opinion, metal detectors are just a tool and a craftsman must select  the right tool for the right job. 
I remember a friend and wise man Stu Auerbach once telling me to start off with "In my opinion" when talking about metal detectors to metal detecting folk as people are passionate about their favorite metal detectors.
I go one step further by not mentioning what favorite metal detector I always put in the suitcase.
If you have a favorite, you probably know what Im talking about.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Are you really digging it all ?

I use every trick in the book to recover good targets at productive but trashy sites, places where a good target can easily go undetected if you are not careful.
The double whammy of both iron and target masking may cause you to walk away from a find of a lifetime in trashy areas if you are not careful. 
I only dig everything when I know it is worth digging everything in a trashy area, meaning I know from previous experience the site holds what I am searching for.
In my opinion, site selection, pinpointing, target sizing and target recognition skills overcome trashy sites containing good stuff.  
When I hammer a trashy site, I hammer it hard making sure I recover as many targets as possible. 
From experience I know the more ferrous and non ferrous metal objects I pull out the area, the more likely I am to find something good being masked by iron or larger non iron objects.
I actually rely on both iron and target masking at my favorite trashy sites, as they put other people metal detecting off the scent. 
Good trashy sites are where your pinpointing, target sizing and target recognition skills come into play.
What use are they if you are digging everything you may ask, my answer would be because they help make sure you do not miss anything. 
So too will understanding that a good target response is not always a one or two way repeatable signal. 
A null or break in your metal detector threshold, a slight raising or lowering in threshold volume can also turn out to be a potential find of a lifetime at a trashy site.
Trashy sites are hard work, but when you know good stuff may come out of trashy sites the hard work is well worth it.
Something to think about the next time you walk away from an area full of pennies, bottle caps or small iron nails. 
I have found many a gold ring scooping up pennies at heavily hunted sites I know other beach or water hunters walk away from. 
Some of my favorite finds stories start with I rechecked the hole or after digging so many ........ I pulled out this beauty. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What are you in it for?

It would be nice to find out what readers of this blog are into metal detecting for, no matter how much expensive modern jewelry I recover I prefer finding old stuff.
Sometimes you get the best of both worlds, returning home with an old piece of gold with precious stones.
I have had more than my fair share of old jewelry, found on the beach and inside the water using a wide variety of metal detectors.
Old jewelry is hard to find at the beach, but it can be found if you are a slow methodical beach hunter.
At least two or three times a year in south Florida I run across a hot spot containing several pieces of old jewelry.
I am talking about areas where I recover multiple gold class or college rings, due to favorable tides or some type of beach erosion.
Although old gold class rings are not exactly old compared to gold rings recovered in other parts of the world they can still be quite impressive when found in numbers.
Last year I recovered nine gold class rings over two three hour water hunts at an eroded section of beach.
Before the ring returners blow a gasket, I did manage to make contact with three people who lost their rings and were very happy to see them again, even encrusted in green coral lol
The other gold rings were impossible to return, with no owners initials from the 1940s and 1950s from schools that are now long gone.
I dont make a big deal about returning rings, iphones, or wallets found at the beach, I look at the returns as good Karma to appease the beach and water hunting gods.
I also like finding old coins at the beach, it still amazes me some of the old coins that can be recovered at tourist beaches or beaches in the middle of nowhere. 
Which goes back to what I always say, the more sites you search, the more variety of things you will recover, including old jewelry and coins if they are there. 
Heres a few older finds from florida beaches, some from places I expected to go home empty handed from.