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Monday, February 27, 2017

Going back over covered ground

Unfortunately, due to work and family commitments I have been doing more testing than searching lately. 
During one testing session at the beach I was reminded why I prefer hammering smaller search areas, instead of walking long distances at the beach trying to cover more ground.
You can miss targets using a tight search pattern at the beach, especially if you only search the same areas from the same direction all the time.
This is the reason I always double back over any area I recover something good at, searching the same area from a different direction.
You will be surprised how many signals you get searching the same area from a different direction, both iron and target masking are to blame for leaving stuff behind. 
There are many simple reasons why iron objects were missed on the first careful search of an area.
For example, large iron objects masking smaller pieces of iron, large non ferrous (Iron) objects masking smaller non ferrous targets.
Targets caught in the corroding iron halo, also targets located on edge that can only be detected when your search coil is swept from one direction.
They could be targets on the edge of detection range, perhaps targets not detected at first but moved when you dug a target close by.
So many different reasons for targets not detected on the first sweep of an area, but often detected on a second search from a different direction.
Every time I detect targets on a second sweep from a different direction over an area, it reminds me of the saying " They cannot get it all"  used by beach hunters. 
I often go back and cover productive areas from different directions, every year I recover several pieces of gold jewelry I would otherwise had left behind for the next searcher. 
This is one of the reasons I often search ground I have already covered from a different direction. 
The beautiful antique 18 K amethyst ring found a few years ago, was missed on the first search, but not on the second sweep of the same area. 

I believe you will agree detecting targets other beach hunters missed is great, detecting targets you miss is even better. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The more you dig or the less you dig, what is better at the beach?

There will always be two camps in beach hunting, the people who tell you to dig it all and the people who skip the obvious trash targets.
You can count me in with the last group, because I believe in using a little discrimination at the beach.
I used to be embarrassed about being spot on with target IDs using metal detectors without screens. 
Knowing a bottle cap, pull tab, bobby pin or crusty penny just by the sound of it.
Heck I can even tell the shape of things before I dig them up, the roundness of a ring, the fluttery double bump sound of a pull tab as my search coil passed over it  and the spongy sound of a crimped bottle cap. 
All easy to identify targets buried in the sand, to a person who has dug thousands of them using good metal detectors for years.
Time is money if your a tourist type beach hunter, and longer you have been metal detecting the less trash you have to dig.
Although many old timers are still adamant that you have to dig everything just in case you miss one good target,  but not this old timer !
I play the percentages, always trying to put myself closer to valuable targets instead of wasting time digging obvious junk targets at the beach. 
Searching inland or shipwreck beaches that's another story, but that's also another hunting strategy that is dependent on what you are searching for.
I believe the less junk you dig the more good finds you recover at tourist type beaches when searching for jewelry or even clad coins if that is your cup of tea.
Heck I even have the modern US coins down pat, and I don't need numbers on a screen to tell me when my search coil has passed over a penny or a quarter.
Would you believe, I know the difference between a nickel and a gold ring, although on deep nickels I don't take a chance.
I check out my target depth reading more than any other read out when using a metal detector with a display screen.
In my opinion, the fear of missing out on one good target holds many people back from maximizing their beach hunting time.
I hope readers of todays blog who search tourist type beaches, will stop worrying about what they may be missing and instead concentrate on what they may be finding.
Put your big boy pants on, listen to your detector and trust in your own detecting skills.
There is a time and a place to dig it all, but not all the time at every place.
Unless your searching ahead of me on a tourist beach, then please dig it all even when you know it is probably junk.
One of the great mysteries in metal detecting, people digging targets they know are junk at tourist beaches, instead of trusting their ears.
This time last year I was pulling a 2.5 ounce chunk of gold charm bracelet out of the water close to shore, on a two hour water hunt. 

Last february I bided my water hunting time ignoring obvious clad coin and bottle caps, until I heard the thing I really went searching for. 
Dig it all or dig less junk, nows thats a nice option to have without pressing a button or turning a knob on your metal detector.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Experience and a positive attitude are a beach hunters best friends

Experience and having a positive attitude always trumps naysaying and negativity, especially when it comes to the hobby of metal detecting.
Unfortunately, the more experienced you are the more heat you often catch from less experienced people. 
As I am predominantly a beach and water hunter now, I rely on the countless hours I have spent pounding beaches through the years to keep me one step ahead of less experienced beach hunters.
A positive attitude also insures I am not distracted or concerned about who is finding what and where.
If I hear about a nice find recovered by another beach hunter, Im happy for them. 
I could not imagine doubting the find or fretting over where the lucky finder must have recovered it.
I often use other people's good fortune as motivation, as I believe what one beach hunter can do another beach hunter certainly can do.
This is the reason I include photos of cool finds in many of my blog posts, hopefully they are used by other beach hunters as motivation.
This truly is a great hobby and I always have an eye towards future hunts and possible recoveries. 
Now imagine if the naysayer  types put as much effort into actually going out with a positive attitude gaining experience at the beach, instead of hanging out on detecting forums swimming in that famous river in Africa  (Denial) 
Never under estimate the importance of experience and a positive beach hunting attitude.
They will get you from searching sites to recovering good finds faster than any piece of metal detecting equipment you can buy.
If you've been following my blog a while, you may have picked up on a word I often use when explaining how I was able to return home with whatever it is I was searching for.
The word I often use in blogs is "knew" as in I knew the beach hunting situation or knew where or how to search and find something. 
Knowing from experience is one of the perks of putting the time in at the beach, also positive beach hunters get positive results. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Elliptical shaped search coils for beach hunting

I often spend the majority of my beach hunting time searching tourist beaches for jewelry. 
One of my favorite metal detectors of choice for jewelry hunting at tourist beaches is the Minelab CTX 3030
I sometimes prefer to use a 10 X 5 elliptical shaped search coil with my CTX 3030 in really trashy areas.
The main reasons I use an elliptical shaped search coil at trashy sites, are iron and rejected target masking.
Both iron and other non ferrous ( iron) rejected objects can put a damper on a beach jewelry hunt when using a VLF metal detector with a little discrimination.
After your metal detector detects a target, you are not going to detect another target until your threshold kicks back in. 
A great reason not to swing your metal detector like a golf club or a scythe along the beach. 
Low and slow search coil sweeps help with target recovery speed, the time it takes your metal detector to recover from detecting one target to the next target. 
Add an elliptical search coil and you can often detect much closer to a piece of iron or a rejected target than you would if you used a round shaped search coil of the same size.
You can also get closer to rocks on the beach, or to the face of a cut on a beach.
I always search cuts I know have already been heavily searched, making sure my elliptical search coil kisses the bottom of the cut.
Inside the water is another good place to use an elliptical shape search coil, especially close to shore where it is often hilly fluffy sand.
Searching over a ridged or hilly bottom using a round shaped search coil, sometimes causes chatter or false signals and obviously effects target depth crossing higher over the valleys.
Land hunters searching over plowed fields know exactly what I'm talking about. 
You can sweep an elliptical shaped search coil over, down and up hilly or heavily rippled ocean bottoms. 
These are just a few of the advantages to using an elliptical shaped search coil for beach hunters.
This 0.6 ounce chunk of platinum was recovered close to iron obstacles inside the water at one of my favorite water hunting sites. 

I use the underwater obstacles as jewelry traps, knowing other water hunters cannot detect as close to then as I can. 
An elliptical search coil is probably not going to be as deep as a similar size round search coil, but sometimes target depth is not everything to a beach hunter, especially to people who search trashy, rocky or cut beaches. 
Maneuverability can be just as good an asset as target depth at the beach, but you never hear the word maneuverability mentioned a lot in beach hunting circles.
If you can't get to a gold ring, you are going to leave it for another beach hunter who can.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A time and a place

So often beach and water hunting is about using something that suits the time and place.
That is why much of the stuff I put out in books or blogs has to do with doing different things, using different stuff and beach hunting on the fly.
I do just about anything and everything to make sure I do not return home empty handed from the beach.
If there is one thing that is a constant about my beach hunting, it is probably the Minelab metal detectors I use.
I love my Minelabs for beach hunting, although I do try other brands for beach hunting but always end up selling them not long after.
I love my different size search coils and I even have an excuse for the wife as to why I need them lol 
I often use discrimination and go home with gold instead of crusty pennies from tourist beaches, I sometimes dig it all when I know the time is right. 
You will never hear me saying do one thing or use one piece of equipment for every type of beach hunting. 
I'm a finds man and know better, you search to suit the beach and use the equipment to suit the conditions.
Kick butt and take no prisoners when you go beach hunting, because when you do well you rarely have a chance to duplicate your success the next day.
Beaches change in a hurry, a cut on the beach can disappear on the next high tide, a productive hole in the water can also fill in on the next high tide. 
I believe I often go home with gold because I do the opposite to other beach and water hunters, some of those things I have mentioned in today's blog.
If you put ten beach hunters in a room and asked them if they hunt in discrimination or all metal, or what metal detector or size search coil was the best at the beach it would be a fifty fifty split. 
I would be the guy checking all the boxes as I go out of my way to avoid being set in my ways doing or using just the one thing to find treasure at the beach.
It's all good when it comes to beach or water hunting, there is a time and a place for anything as long as it gets the job done.
Back in my old bottle digging days on the way to a river in Lincolnshire England, a friend asked me where I was going to search along the tidal river bank. 
My reply was I don't know until we get there, the river will show me. 
I do the same thing to this day, by letting the beach show me where and how to search when I get there.
Last Sunday was a typical hunt for me, arriving at a beach I had checked out a few days earlier intending to search it one way, but doing the opposite type of search after arriving and reading the beach. 
Even changing metal detector search coils back in the beachside parking lot to help better search the area.
No great shakes in the finds department, an 18K diamond cocktail ring and a stainless steel wedding band, but better than going home empty handed. 

I put the large 14 X 9 search coil on to help detect any deep targets along the towel line, an area often rearranged on the lower beach every day by beach cleaning tractors at tourist beaches. 
You could say it was the right time and place to improvise using a large search coil and a little discrimination.
No doubt this area will look totally different the next time I visit it, then I will do what is best to suit the time and rearranged place.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Shades of grey, the beach hunters version

Todays blog entry is about my two favorite shaded discrimination patterns on the Minelab CTX 3030
Simplicity is often the name of the game when it comes to beach or water hunting with a metal detector.
That is why I like using the Minelab CTX 3030 at the beach,  it is an easy metal detector to use for beach or water hunting.
The mistake a lot of people make is believing you have to use all the bells and whistles on a metal detector, especially one like the CTX 3030
In reality there are plenty of things on the CTX 3030 than can slow or bog you down if you choose to use them at the beach.
I'm a bare bones beach hunter, and I only use what I need to on the CTX 3030 when searching the sites I hunt on a regular basis.
Surprisingly, the only real thing you need to hit the beach running with a CTX 3030 is the preset Beach Mode. 
Rely on the Minelab engineers and the manual at first, then modify or tweak the Beach Mode discrimination pattern or settings after you get comfortable using the metal detector.
In this short YouTube video you can see my trashy tourist type beach discrimination pattern.

Apologies for the audio, I left my wind buffing microphone at home and I just wanted to show where the towel was at this beach.
I also show my preferred discrimination pattern ( Preset Pattern 2) when searching sites that may contain older finds. 
A simple press of the Detect button is all it takes to toggle between the two Detect screen discrimination patterns.
Simple stuff using a simple to use waterproof metal detector for beach or water hunting. 
I prefer using my modified preset beach mode with a liberal amount of discrimination when dry sanding, especially along the notoriously trashy towel line. 
Digging everything is not an option at many beaches, and in these times of increased competition for finds, digging everything in trashy areas just in case you miss one good find will insure you have a higher trash to good finds ratio.
Alternatively, one thin line of grey along the bottom of my CTX 3030 screen is all I need to get rid of the majority of small iron when searching for old stuff at the beach or inland.
I believe some famous person once said, ask not what your metal detector can do for you, but what you can do for your metal detector.
I have plenty of practical beach and water hunting advice for CTX 3030 users in my two CTX 3030 books.
Both of my CTX 3030 beach and water hunting books are available on my website, amazon, Ebay or from your local metal detector dealer. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Full moon beach and water hunting zones

The full moon is upon us and that means I am out raiding Davy Jones locker, taking advantage of extreme high and low tides.
I always do well searching full moon tides, both high and low tides because I search areas other beach and water hunters often choose to ignore during a full moon.
A beach hunter who turns up to detect at the beach two hours before low tide, is not likely to search the high tide line which is often higher up the beach than normal, even though the high tide line may well be the best place to search at the beach.
A water hunter is not likely to search the very shallow water close to shore, they will head out to deeper water which is further away from shore than normal, even though the very shallow water may be the best water hunting area.
The majority of beach and water hunters are often going to robotically search the lower beach or waist deep water, because that is what they normally do.
It does not matter that the beach looks totally different than it normal does because of the full moon, when you are set in your ways you are set in your ways.
If you search heavily hunted tourist beaches, you can take advantage of knowing what the competition is likely to do at heavily hunted tourist beaches.
Yesterday I searched a beach at low tide and I saw three other people metal detecting in the area.
One person was on the lower beach, two water hunters were way offshore, perhaps looking for stuff lost by swimmers so far off shore.
I hit the place the other water hunters would normally have searched, but instead of being waist to chest deep, I was shin to thigh deep.
Coins were coming up fast and furious until eventually out popped a couple of shiny yellow round shaped objects which I happily put in my good finds pouch pocket.
I never saw the wet sander stopping to dig very often and the two water hunters were way down the beach so I assume I chose the right area to search.
Unfortunately the beach was busy so I could not search the previous full moon high tide, but I would if I could have.
Looks can be deceptive at the beach during the full moon, especially if you search the same areas all the time.
Full moon low tide wet sand, could well be shin to knee water the rest of the month.
Alternatively, shin to knee deep water during a full moon low tide could be waist to chest deep water the rest of the month.
Read a full moon beach with an eye towards what it looks like the rest of the month and check out those high tide lines higher up the beach. 
Here is over a quarter of a pound of full moon water hunting gold, from three full moon hunts back in 2013 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sand replenishment projects and beach hunting opportunities

Every so often in Florida, the city decides to waste a few million dollars dumping truck loads of sand on the beach.

The Florida tourism board loves wide sandy beaches, but they rarely stay that way for long and trucked in sand is often washed away within months, sometimes a few weeks depending on the season. 
Beach hunters see sand replenishment projects and wipe sites from their usual beach hunting rounds, but sometimes they miss opportunities by not bothering to search replenished beaches. 
If the sand being trucked and put onto the beach comes from an inland site, it could be trucked in from an old swim area. 
I know one Treasure Coast of Florida sand replenishment project trucked in sand from an inland beach around Orlando and many old silver US coins were recovered by beach hunters.
If sand is pumped onto the beach from an offshore dredging operation, you never know what could get thrown up onto the beach.
There are many well documented cases of dredge pipes being put over previously unknown shipwrecks, leading to beach hunters detecting old coins and artifacts at freshly replenished beaches.
A recent Palm Beach sand replenishment project attracted fossil collectors from all over the states searching for old sharks teeth, after the dredge pipes were placed in an ancient offshore shark breeding ground. 
And finally if your a tourist beach jewelry hunter, all those other beach hunters avoiding replenished beaches like the plague mean less beach hunting competition. 
The new sand may actually help you at trashy beach sites, as all the old trash is under several feet of sand.
You deal with less trash and less competition searching for jewelry when a tourist type beach is replenished with tons of sand, see how I find a silver or gold cloud in every beach hunting situation?
I have listed three different scenarios that often happen when a beach is widened.
So the next time you see people complaining on metal detecting forums about beaches being ruined by city beach projects, get yourself out there because the beach hunting conditions may have improved.
You never know? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Old silver and wet ground

This old piece of silver was recovered on Oak Island several years ago, it is a silver sugar or salt spoon handle from the 1700s. 
Check out the owners monogram on the front and Philadelphia silversmiths name on the back, it must have been a luxury item to own back in the day. 

I remember the morning I recovered this piece of colonial silver, it was raining cats and dogs in Nova Scotia.
Although filming of " The Curse of Oak Island" show was canceled for the day, treasure hunting was not.
I rain suited up and hit an area of the island with one of the hardest working people on Oak Island, you know who you are buddy!
Two hardcore treasure hunters ready to take advantage of the heavy rain and the opportunity the soaking wet Oak Island ground presented.
Deep coins and artifacts like this spoon handle can be detected easier in wet ground, as long as the area is not heavily mineralized or iron infested. 
Iron has a halo effect and may overwhelm a smaller conductive target in the same area. 
This is the reason I use large coils in areas containing less iron and smaller search coils in trashy iron infested areas. 
I credit the rain soaked ground that morning on Oak Island in helping me to detect the silver spoon handle, it made the deeply buried piece of silver stand out from the wet ground.
I used the same theory In England last year, searching a boggy area of a pasture I figured had probably not been searched by other people.
This superb 1604 James 1 st of Scotland silver shilling was my reward for getting muddy with my  CTX 3030.

Although both of these old pieces of silver were very deep targets, I knew the lack of iron in both areas gave me the chance of recovering something good using a large search coil in very wet inland areas.
On less mineralized lower beaches, try using large search coils in non trashy areas.
Use smaller search coils on trashy tourist type lower beaches to avoid iron masking. 
You can often take what you learn from beach hunting and put it to good use inland, especially when you have the right tools for the job.
This is also another reason why I prefer to use waterproof metal detectors and search coils, you never know when you can take advantage of an opportunity from mother nature.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Two simple solutions to sanded-in beaches

Many beach hunters get frustrated during sanded in beach conditions, but there are a couple of easy solutions to help combat potentially quiet beach hunting times. 
If you know your local beach is sanded in, don't bring a knife to a gun fight.
Slamming a big search coil on your VLF metal detector and going for ground coverage and target depth, may increase your odds of finding something good at sanded in beaches.
Going by the most popular metal detectors for beach hunting, the majority of beach hunters use 10-11 inch size search coils.
A much larger search coil will allow you to detect deeper targets and cover more of the lower beach, where the beach hunting phrase "Sanded in" normally refers to. 
This monster two ounce 14 K NCAA national championship ring was recovered on a sanded-in lower beach several years ago using a 15 inch Coiltek search coil. 

I'm not so sure I would have even detected the ring using a 10 inch search coil, this little piggy was very deep.
I often use large search coils when I know the lower beach is sanded in, the 15 inch Coiltek WOT coil is one of my favorites. 
The other option for a sanded in lower beach is very simple, search the upper beach.
This is probably not even an option for the majority of beach hunters, who think everything is lost in the water or wet sand.
This 18 K gold Bobby dazzler with 144 diamonds appraised at $5000.00 and came out of the dry sand, maybe it's not all in the water?  
The "Starship enterprise" ring story is in a couple of my beach and water hunting books. 

Here is another Bobby dazzler diamond ring worth several thousand dollars, that came out of the dry sand a couple of years ago using a large search coil. 

Both of these beauties were recovered during sanded in beach conditions, both times I had planned on searching the lower beach or inside the water but changed my mind. 
Groundhog type beach hunters who search the same places the same way are highly unlikely to be successful when beaches are sanded-in. 
My simple beach hunting solutions, are to either hit the lower beach trying to detect deeply buried targets or move away from the lower beach where you have more search options.
The two things you will never hear me complaining about, are sanded-in beaches and beach hunting competition.
In my opinion, both of these excuses for a lack of finds are very over rated. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Searching for old silver at the beach

Not everything that glitters is gold at the beach and I often spend beach hunting time searching for old silver coins.
I am sure many blog readers would be just as happy finding these Spanish silver reales over modern tourist gold. 

When I am purposely searching for old silver at the beach, I use metal detecting equipment and search techniques that improve my chances of recovering old silver.
Old silver coins are usually recovered from deeper layers of sand.  Eroded beaches in areas with a little history are excellent places to search for old silver.
If a site is not that trashy I prefer using a VLF metal detector with a large search coil or a pulse induction metal detector. 
Sometimes I will use these after I know all the shallow targets have probably been recovered. 
Depth is the name of the game when it comes to searching for old silver or gold. The majority of popular metal detectors used at the beach have 10 or 11 inch search coils. 
If you have equipment geared towards target depth you never have to worry about being the first person to search a potentially good site for old silver. 
Maxed out depth readings on metal detector display screens are always a good sign, use very little discrimination and dig any kind of target response. Using a VLF metal detector, you are looking for deep targets on the edge of discrimination range. 
Targets that respond quite differently to shallow targets that are easy to identify. 
Even a slight break, raising or lowering in the threshold may be a deep silver coin using a pulse induction metal detector. 
This is where a slow methodical local beach hunter has such a good advantage searching for older finds at the beach. 
I added local because if you know your beaches well, you will know where you are likely to find old silver when a window of opportunity opens.
These two pieces of silver came from a local beach with a rich Jewish history.  One of my favorite places to search for old silver coins and jewelry, when sand is stripped from the beach.

Where there is old silver you can also find old gold, use the old silver coins to lead you to old gold.