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Sunday, December 30, 2018

New years metal detecting resolutions

In probably my last blog of the year I have to say 2018 was a fantastic year for metal detecting, I rarely had a chance to blog because I was so busy metal detecting.
I was lucky enough to spend a large chunk of 2018 in some pretty amazing locations searching for lost treasures and you will see what I recovered over the next few months if you are a fan of History channel treasure hunting shows. 
Im heading into 2019 on fumes but it was an incredible year and a heck of a ride, I wouldn't change a thing. 
Every year you spend metal detecting you learn something new that can be put to good use down the road, unless you do the same things at the same places all the time.
This year I learned not to jump to conclusions by ignoring sites within a site because experience told me I should.
Eight or nine times out of ten I can read a site within minutes of walking onto and searching the site, so it is tempting to rely on previous experiences and just hit sexy looking search areas.
After this years experiences I will make a point of not letting my ego get in the way and start hitting the other ten to twenty percent of ugly sites within a site that experience tells me to ignore. 
Another new years resolution I know I can keep because of the success I've had this year is to dig more iron on trashy sites. 
Some of my best finds this year have come from iron infested areas I only got lucky at because I took out more iron than I normally would have.
In 2018 I was reminded of the value of using smaller size search coils in areas known to be productive, it is so tempting to believe there must be something deeper but more often that is not the case.
The value of using a small size search coil on a productive site is being able to winkle out another good shallow target, by either searching the area from a different direction or simply using less discrimination.
Harder to detect targets are not always deeper targets, they can be shallow targets.
It was not at all smooth sailing this year but I intend to learn from the miscalculations I made in 2018, hey even I get distracted ooh look its a monkey!
Another lesson learned this year is the value of using reliable metal detecting equipment, when the going got tough my metal detector and pin-pointer took a beating.
I took metal detecting equipment into locations that are really tough sites to search, lesson learned travel with reliable equipment you are familiar with.  
My advise for the new year is to learn from the soon to be old year, use and adapt what worked for you and avoid the things that did not work out so well for you. 
Look forward to a good treasure hunting year, a year you will surely learn something from. 
Experiment, experience, have fun and a happy lucky new year! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Parachuting diamond rings at tourist beaches

Anyone using a metal detector can find gold wedding bands, silver chains or coins at a tourist beaches but not everyone can find diamond rings, especially solitaire diamond rings.
Id even go as far as to say it takes skill to find diamond rings with a metal detector, even at the most crowded tourist beaches around the world. 
Solitaire diamond rings or rings with diamonds complimenting large rocks are often not that big of a target to detect using a metal detector.
Expensive platinum or gold rings are usually constructed in the style of a thin band with prongs holding the center piece diamond in place, because of this design diamond rings tend to "Parachute" when lost in sand.
The shape of large diamonds often result in the band of the ring settling vertically under the diamond or diamonds, a thing I first noticed when beach hunting at night using a head lamp. 
I often saw the flash of the diamond before detecting diamond rings and pulled several really nice diamond rings trapped vertically in the wet sand and my parachuting diamond ring theory was born.
My slow methodical beach hunting style always gives me a chance of detecting big ticket diamond rings instead of walking over them, this $10.000.00 platinum Tiffany ring with a 1.5 carat diamond is proof of that. 

Diamond rings are just like coins on edge, they are difficult targets to detect without using a slow and low search coil sweeping technique.
If you have been beach hunting for any length of time and you struggle to detect diamond rings and gold chains, you don't need a different metal detector you need a change of search technique.
In my opinion you have to go small in order to find big, covering smaller areas using a smaller search coil will change your fortunes when it comes to finding diamond rings.
You can't rely on luck when trying to winkle out small targets in the sand, you have to rely on the way you cover the ground and the way you sweep your search coil over the ground.
Metal detecting at the beach is popular now and every beach hunter wants to cover prime jewelry hunting areas before the competition at tourist beaches, leaving difficult to detect but expensive targets behind for savvy methodical jewelry hunters looking for platinum and gold parachutes.
Get yourself to the beach and see what others are missing!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Tools of the trade

The first time I thought about buying a metal detector was many moons ago after picking up coins while searching tidal river banks in England, but I changed my mind because I figured Im finding coins why bother right? 
I kind of looked at metal detectors and metal detecting in general as cheating and figured it took more skill to eye ball coins instead of using a machine to detect them.
Coins were easy to spot as I searched for old bottles and clay pipes along river banks, using my "Twin optical scanners" first to read the river banks looking for the right layer holding goodies and secondly to spot the things I was searching for.
Fast forward to today and I still rely on my eyes first search strategy to put me position to use a metal detector, my metal detector is just the tool I use to winkle out coins, jewelry or artifacts from an area I believe may be productive.
My long handled beach scoop and pin-pointer are target recovery tools I use now I can detect metal objects not visible on the surface. 
I still look at my metal detector, scoop and pin-pointer as tools of the trade and like any trade it is the craftsmanship and work ethic that makes the difference between doing a good job or a poor job.
The point of todays blog is to look at your metal detecting equipment as tools that help you to recover what you expect or hope your site reading skills have put you in position to detect.
If you buy a certain metal detector because you believe the reason you are not finding coins, jewelry or artifacts is you are using the wrong metal detector, you need to work on your site reading skills.
Don't get me wrong, the type of metal detector you use can make a big difference in any kind of metal detecting, but only when you know why it can make a significant difference. 
Site reading skills come with experience and they are the ultimate learning on the job experience for anyone swinging a metal detector.
Im lucky I found a 1790 gold coin digging for bottles in England, or Id possibly still be walking around with a rake and a plastic bag instead of a metal detector, scoop and finds pouch. 
Research your local area, learn what conditions have to be present to find stuff and use the tools of the trade to detect what you are hoping to recover, preferably in that order!
Its not how many hours you spend pounding the beach, its where you spend your time that makes a difference. 
In my opinion, site reading and observational skills are the building blocks of this great hobby.
If you need help reading the beach I have a book on my website called "How to read the beach & water" that will show you what to look for. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I love firm bottoms !

Now I have your attention, if you are a beach or water hunter it is important to understand the relationship between a firm bottom and success with your metal detector.
I’m always looking for a firm or hard bottom when I hit the beach because I know the harder the sand I am walking over is the more chance I have of finding something good.
When coins or jewelry are lost at the beach, they eventually sink deeper until they hit a deep layer they cannot penetrate.
Coins, jewelry and artifacts always find a base layer where they remain until some lucky beach or water hunter comes along with a metal detector to rescue them.
Many tourist beaches are heavily hunted now, but more people swinging metal detectors does not always decrease your chances of being successful if you can read a beach and know where the best potential sites are within a site.
Firm sand or packed shell under foot is a good sign, so too is coral or coquina exposed on the lower beach or inside the water.
Ripple troughs and other areas on the beach carved out by unusual onshore wave action are often firmer under foot than surrounding areas. 
Rocky areas on lower beaches or shallow water hunting sites are always the dogs danglies when it comes to detecting coins, jewelry or artifacts, they are impenetrable collection areas.
You need a certain set of target recovery skills to recover targets from these type of areas also a variety of target recovery tools.
If you carry a flat head screwdriver, needle nose pliers and a mask and snorkel, you probably already know what I mean about searching for hard bottoms.
Some of my best beach and water hunts occured because I found a firm or hard bottom stacked with targets that could not sink any further. 
If an area of the beach is tough digging it’s worth digging, if it’s almost impossible to detect and recover targets in it’s worth detecting and recovering target in! 
Do you go to the beach to cover as much ground as possible or find the best ground to cover? 
Searching for a firm or hard bottom will help you detect and recover the most targets. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Interested in metal detecting ?

If the title of today’s blog is exactly what you are interesting in doing I have a few words of advise for you before jumping into the proverbial deep end.
Metal detecting is a fantastic hobby but it is not as easy as it looks, it’s not about going out and buying an expensive metal detector and location location location.
It’s more about researching areas potentially hiding what you intend searching for, learning to use a metal detector correctly, site reading and site selection skills.
I always tell people to read the best metal detecting book in the world, unfortunately I didn’t write it as that book is the instructional manual that comes with the metal detector you choose to use.
Read it, read it again and read it until you know how to set your metal detector to suit the search site, when you fully understand the manual you will know how to make incremental control settings that make a difference.
Local research is easy, head to that building called the local library, they have books full of old photos  and you can look at the old photos and go follow up those leads with your metal detector and find lots of good stuff lol
Site reading and observational skills come in time, they lead to site selection skills and an increase in good metal detecting finds.
You can now hit the ground running although I always  recommend walking slowly as you metal detect.
Metal detecting has been very good to me, heck it’s my profession now but I guess it’s better than working for a living lol
Build on good foundations and I can tell you that you will find what you are searching for, it’s not about covering ground everyone else covers and swinging a detector for hours hoping to get lucky.
Remember research, metal detector knowledge and basic techniques lead to success at metal detecting. Success breeds familiarity with site conditions needed to have success locating stuff and before you know it the metal detector and digging equipment are tools
You are the key to success at metal detecting, the more you learn the less you have to rely on your metal detector.
I hope you are even more interested in metal detecting now, get yourself a metal detector read the all important book and find places to use your research to the max.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Minelabs for beach hunting

Here are a few opinions on which Minelab metal detector is best for beach and water hunting, I can’t believe Minelab users are now spoilt for choices.
In my opinion, your choice of metal detector should suit the areas you intend to search at the beach.
For scuba diving and searching deeper water the Minelab Excalibur is obviously the best option because of the 200 ft depth rating.
The Excalibur is also the best option if you are predominantly searching murky water with the control box submerged, where trying to look at a VDI screen for target IDs would be a right royal pain in the butt.
Shallow water and all other areas of the beach can be covered handily by the CTX 3030 or Equinox.
If you don’t intend getting your feet wet at the beach you can use any Minelab metal detector, although I always recommend using a waterproof metal detector at the beach.
The main difference between the CTX 3030 and the Equinox are the bells and whistles, search coil selection and of course price tag!
Coiltek make a variety of search coils to compliment the gaps in the Minelab search coil sizes on the CTX 3030, one of the reasons why I still lean heavily on my CTX 3030 as I do take advantage of the wide variety of search coil sizes available for the CTX 3030.
The Equinox is lighter and more travel friendly than the CTX 3030 which is a pro for people who travel on vacation to metal detect, Minelab is also releasing a couple of different size search coils for the Equinox soon. 
Your choice of Minelab metal detector for beach work comes down to your budget and where you are going to be using the metal detector at the beach.
I travel to metal detect, search deep sometimes murky water and I search all areas of the beach, so I use different metal detectors to suit the areas I search.
One thing I have noticed different metal detector companies doing is making lighter metal detectors that can be used on a wide variety of sites searching for different things, the CTX 3030 and Equinox are good examples of that.
So to answer the question I probably answer on a weekly basis, I do have a favorite Minelab, it’s the one best suited to detect what I am searching for at the sites I search.
For example, on an upcoming metal detecting trip to the Caribbean it is highly likely I will take my Equinox because it is easier to pack and travel with and I won’t need the extra bells and whistles on the  CTX 3030.
I metal detect for a living and I need a few different toys, for someone wanting the one Minelab metal detector for beach hunting I would recommend the CTX 3030 or Equinox depending on your budget.
If your budget does not stretch to either of those fine metal detectors, take a look at the GoFind series,  they are good bang for the buck and they work on saltwater beaches, unlike some metal detectors costing hundreds of dollars more.
Good luck my fellow and potential Minelabbers!  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Chasing the dream

This year I have had one heck of a year metal detecting, but I have also had some tough times as I’ve put time and effort into chasing down things I find attractive that perhaps wouldn’t be so appealing to others.
In 2018 I have tried a lot of new things in a wide variety of areas, sure I’ve returned home empty handed more times than I would like but I wouldn’t change a thing as you often learn something new even if you get skunked.
Normally I play a numbers game when it comes to treasure hunting, relying on a steady flow of easy to detect targets knowing what I am really searching for is often hidden in between easy to detect targets.
Staying true to my style of treasure hunting  I have been mixing it up and getting out of my comfort zone, sacrificing gaudy amounts of gold and silver for quality over quantity finds.
Ive gone after the spectacular find more than in previous treasure hunting years and all I can tell you is I have found some pretty amazing things in the most unlikeliest of places.
The rewards of taking the time to search a wide variety of sites and having the determination to stay the course until I recover what I am searching for. 
Hard work and determination are often overlooked in the hobby as people fixate on location, site conditions and of course the type of metal detector used.
If you have to rely on favorable conditions or the latest and greatest metal detector to find what you are searching for you are probably going to struggle.
Good old fashioned leg work and outside the box thinking overcome most obstacles a beach treasure hunter has to face in order to be successful on a regular basis.
Step out the box at a different site and you may be surprised at what you can pull out of the sand, but you have to be willing to do that.
The recent story of the Viking sword pulled out of a lake by a young girl in the news put a smile on my face, something so old just laying their waiting to be picked up.
There are so many amazing things at beaches around the world waiting to be picked up, you just have to be there at the right place at the right time.
Work hard chasing the dream and you will get to the right place when it is time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How to avoid a finds drought

Ever wondered why some treasure hunters always seem to be in the right place at the right time, it’s because they go to the right places! 
Treasure is often found where you least expect to find it so if you only search one or two areas all the time don’t be surprised if you go home empty handed.
The number one mistake people new to the hobby make is copying what they see other beach hunters doing, mainly going to the same site or area as many times as possible.
It’s been a while since I have travelled to a few beaches out of my area, but I can guarantee if I showed up today at those beaches I would see the same faces searching the same main areas at those beaches.
You have to be careful you dont go from being the master of your local beach to the slave of your local beach.
Beaches are constantly changing sometimes overnight when the conditions are just right, but you won’t know if you only go to the same beach, same area, same time every opportunity you get to go beach hunting.
The wider variety of beaches or areas of the beach you search the wider variety of finds you will recover, you will also recover more stuff often because other areas are not metal detected as frequently. 
Getting back to the right places from the start of today’s blog, if you don’t actively make a point of searching new areas you end up being at one place all the time which is not a good beach hunting strategy even at the busiest of beaches. 
I occasionally check out metal detecting forums with regular posters who live in attractive areas to search, from beaches known for old shipwrecks to tourist beaches packed with vacationers.
Most posts start with “I headed to my usual spot” and many end in I haven’t found anything in a while, blaming competition or conditions for a lack of finds.
It’s no coincidence that many of the successful posts start with “I decided to try somewhere different” and end in a tale of a good recovery.
Putting yourself in the right place to have success as a beach hunter is easy when you search a wide variety of areas.
The next time you see a familiar face searching the same area think about all the places you    are going to search before you see that person again.
Contrary to what you read on metal detecting blogs and forums, it’s not how much time you spend metal detecting it’s where you decide to spend the time searching. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Storm beach hunting tips

Here are a few beach hunting tips for people who live in areas effected by hurricanes, tropical storms or other strong coastal storms.
My number one rule of searching on beaches after storms is safety first, especially in areas with downed power lines or flooding as no amount of treasure is worth getting injured for or worse !
You can often find good stuff many weeks or even months after major beach erosion has taken place.
Assuming you can get to a beach it is best to be prepared for anything by taking extra clothing, snacks, water and don’t forget the spare metal detector batteries.
If you have a back up metal detector with s different size search coil, take it just in case you need it.
After a storm had impacted a coastline you should expect the best and plan for an excellent beach hunting situation.
If the beach hunting conditions are excellent you want to take advantage of them for as long as you possibly can, believe me I wish I would have stayed longer on several memorable searches after major storms.
One thing I also do is stay put when I am finding what I am searching for or at least detecting targets associated with the targets I hope to find.
The grass often looks greener but I never take a chance by leaving a potentially good area, as sometimes all you have is one or two incoming tides worth of time to clean a good eroded stretch of beach out.
I also stay the heck off social media sites and metal detecting forums, you won’t catch me posting photos of beach erosion and alerting other pirates to a good site I have discovered and in the process of searching.
I remember several occasions when I did not find anything good on the first day of searching an eroded beach but the next day came away with several great finds.
Good stuff washed off the beach often washes back in on the next high tides when a beach generally begins to fill in.
My preferred method of searching a “Cut” eroded beach is to go for the easy to detect shallow non ferrous targets first then dig everything on a second sweep of the cut if I deem it necessary.
In other words use a little discrimination searching for high value targets then go for any high value targets masked by the removed junk on the second search.
Searching eroded beaches is all about making the most of the short window of opportunity Mother Nature presents to a beach hunter.
When the wind and waves subside check out the shallow water close to shore for good stuff washed into the water from the beach.
You may get lucky and discover holes or troughs inside the water caused by the surf pounding the coastline from different angles.
Remember safety first, bring extra gear and make the most of the beach and shallow water hunting opportunities.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Weekend beach hunting tips

Here are a few tips from my “Hardcore Beach Hunting” book to hopefully help you to find what you are searching for this holiday weekend.


Avoid racing to the beach early Saturday morning if you are trying to take advantage of weekend crowds at the beach.  
I know it’s tempting if you are a weekend warrior but patience is a virtue when you are dealing with tourist type beaches.
Head to the beach on Saturday afternoon or evening or better still wait until Sunday before you go metal detecting. Sunday evening would be the best time to search after two busy days of beach activity.

Traveling to detect

If you live within reach of several beaches but you only have a few hours to metal detect, hit the nearest crowded beach instead of traveling long distances to detect big name beaches. 
You cannot find jewelry and coins sitting behind a steering wheel unless they belong to you. 

Be ready for anything 

Spare batteries, a search coil, digging tool or metal detector will insure equipment failures do not ruin your chances of finding something good this weekend.
I think like Noah and take two of everything, just in case it goes pear shaped or I end up staying longer than expected.

Plan ahead 

I always plan to hit two beach hunting sites with two different intended parking spots.
If the site I had planned to search first does not look very promising I can quickly move on to the back up site.
I also keep an eye on local beach cams towards the end of the week to help me identify crowded sections of the beach. 
If I have to search on the Saturday at least I know where people may have lost jewelry before the weekend.

What competition?

If the site is already being searched take the area not being searched or follow the other searcher or searchers. 
You never know what the beach hunting gods have in store for you. 
I have recovered so much good stuff following other people using metal detectors or from areas I perhaps would not have chosen to. 

Don’t miss the forest for the trees

The weekend is a great time to see where people crowd or congregate on the beach and in the water close to shore.
 More than likely you can see where to search the next time you hit the same beach.
People watching is one of my favorite site reading skills, I see what groups are more likely to lose what and where. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The 10K gold cut off line

10 K gold is the reason why I barely use any discrimination on my metal detectors when beach or shallow water hunting.
You may be surprised to know the low metal detector discrimination setting that jewelry made of 10K gold is not detected at.
My books are full of 18K gold ring keepers dripping in diamonds I have recovered from the beach and Davy Jones locker, but it’s the 10K gold that moves the scrap gold scales and helps fund the pirate lifestyle. 
Often the largest gold rings and gold chains are made of 10K gold, so you better make sure you are not using too much metal detector discrimination.
In my opinion bottle caps are the main reason beach hunters walk over large 10K gold jewelry without detecting it, if you raise your discrimination level to reject bottle caps at trashy beach sites you will probably miss a lot of 10K gold jewelry.
Use a metal detector discrimination level that helps break up the audio response from a bottle cap but a setting that does not totally reject the bottle cap audio response.
A pesky nuisance target like a bottle cap will be easier to identify when detected and you will not have to worry about missing 10K jewelry.
A couple of years ago I recovered nine ounces of gold over a two day period at a local beach after beach erosion, many of the 10K gold pieces of jewelry were heavily encrusted in sand.
Encrusted 10K gold jewelry is easily missed if you raise your metal detector discrimination setting or rejected certain VDI screen numbers to avoid bottle caps.
When I test a VLF metal detector I always want to see where the different cut off lines for gold jewelry are, 10K gold is always the first gold to be rejected followed by 14K and 18K gold if you try rejecting aluminum pull tabs.
I actually like hearing trash targets at the beach because I can yell the difference between good and bad targets, but if you cannot hear the bad targets you are surely not going to hear good targets.
At trashy tourist type beaches use the minimum amount of discrimination you need to identify bottle caps, any more and you can kiss 10K gold jewelry goodbye no matter how large it may be.
When you find the sweet bottle cap discrimination spot you will find the big gold.
Telling the difference between a bottle cap and a gold chain helps you avoid having to dig bottle caps, telling the difference between a pull tab and a gold ring in five feet of water comes with experience.
In case your wondering, I hear the difference between the shape of the pull tab and the gold ring.
Lay off the discrimination even in trashy areas by using just enough to help you avoid missing 10K gold, often the gold jewelry with the higher amount of alloys in the mix when it’s made into something bigger.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ghost signals

I often hear people new to metal detecting refer to “Ghost signals” when experiencing false metal detector signals.
An unexplainable beep that suddenly disappears when they try to detect the source of the signal again.
Some so called ghost signals can be put down to the ground being searched. 
For example, searching over seaweed on the beach with pods full of salt water or transitioning from the wet to dry sand. 
These type of false signals are easily recognizable, but most false signal issues are metal detector related and they are easy to eliminate. 
There are a couple of easy ways to deal with distracting false metal detector signals, secure loose flapping cable and lower your metal detector sensitivity. 
In my opinion a loose search coil cable is the number one reason for false signals. Every time a flapping loose search coil cable hits your metal detector shaft it is going to create a false signal. 
An easy remedy is to wrap your search coil cable around and down the shaft then secure your cable to the shaft using electrical tape or Velcro ties.
Avoid using plastic zip ties as they may cut into your search coil cable over time if you have them tied too tight. 
The number two cause of false signals is running too high a metal detector sensitivity setting, especially for beach and water hunters.
The best sensitivity setting for your metal detector is the point of smooth operation just below the setting that produces chatter.
The recommended sensitivity settings for a variety of different ground conditions is usually in your metal detector manual.
Many recommended settings in your metal detector manual are safe settings but they make good starting out points, try raising the setting first until you experience a little chatter then incrementally lower the sensitivity until your metal detector runs smoothly with little to no chirping or false signals.
The old dimmed car headlights seeing better through the fog analogy works well for metal detectors too.
Between a secured search coil cable and a smooth operating metal detector sensitivity setting, so called ghost signals will not be a factor. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Where and what for ?

The question I am asked more than any other question is what metal detector should I use and my reply is always the same.
It depends where are you going to use it and what are you hoping to detect.
The where and what should always be the deciding factors when it comes to choosing a metal detector.
I predominantly search saltwater beaches so I use waterproof metal detectors that can handle salt at saltwater beaches.
It’s also about being in the comfort zone, being comfortable using the metal detector and knowing it can detect what I am searching for.
The two secrets to a happy union between user and metal detector are ease of use and ability to detect the targets you are searching for.
For example, I search for Spanish treasure and modern tourist bling so I need a metal detector that is capable of detecting small silver and gold targets. 
The climate I search in is often sweltering hot and humid with plenty of tropical downpours so I need to use a waterproof well balanced metal detector. 
Taking everything into account, choosing a metal detector comes down to figuring out where and what for. 
Metal detectors are very much like any other purchase ranging from affordable to pricey, you just have to decide what features you really need within your budget.
It’s not about what metal detector someone else is using searching for something you are unlikely to find, it’s about the right metal detector for you in the places you will likely use it.
Remember your metal detector is the tool you use to detect what your are searching for, always use the right tool for the job. 
As you get into metal detecting you will see what accessories you need to help make the job even easier, but your choice of metal detector will always be the main thing to consider.
Research metal detectors intended for use at the sites you are likely to search and narrow it down to what you plan to search for.
Remember where and what for !

Sunday, August 12, 2018

No area is ever cleaned out

I recently searched a site I knew had been hit hard and often, but I still managed to winkle a few good finds out of the area.
Most of the good finds came out of holes with at least one piece of iron in the same hole.
No matter what non ferrous targets you are searching for, if there is iron resting close to good targets you will struggle to detect the good target because of the iron. 
On this occasion I heard the mixed signals from multiple targets and relied on my ears.
VDI screens on metal detectors are not much help if you haven’t had experience interpreting multiple targets under your search coil.
The most eye opening test you can do a VLF ( Very low frequency) metal detector is the iron nail test. 
For this simple test to see how iron masking works, place a gold ring or silver coin on the ground next to an iron nail.
Sweep your search coil over the top of the test targets and see how far away from the iron nail the gold ring or silver coin has to be placed before you can detect the good target.
Experiment with different size nails and you will see just how easy it is for a person to mistakenly believe an area is cleaned out. 
The sweeping direction across the test targets and the size of the nail come into play, also the size of the search coil and how fast it is swept.
Put all those factors together and you can see why a search area considered “ Hunted out” is never really hunted out if you know how iron masking works. 
You just have to work harder and smarter to detect targets and rely on your ears to winkle out good finds waiting to be detected.
Check out any metal detecting forum and the number one question asked today is what numbers?
In reality a better question is what signal,tone or pitch as these are the things that are important when you have multiple ferrous and non ferrous targets under your search coil. 
Eyes on the ground ears at attention, just because a site is heavily hunted or referred to as “Cleaned out” it does not mean you cannot winkle out a good find or two.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Show and tell ?

As any avid beach hunter will tell you, it is a heck of a feeling pulling a really nice find out of your scoop basket.
The thrill of the find and holding something special you just recovered, but do you share news of the discovery?
I have not posted any recently recovered Spanish treasure coins, artifacts or modern mega bling for several years now.
The main reason being to protect the locations finds were recovered, giving me a chance to continue recovering other good stuff from the same areas.
Another reason for not posting finds was being followed by people assuming I was leaving the house to go metal detecting.
One local beach hunter followed me through a McDonalds drive thru another followed me to the ice rink dropping my youngest off for a 6 am coaching lesson.
It was also no coincidence that two out of town beach hunters showed up within thirty minutes of me searching sites for over a month.
I’m pretty sure either my cell phone or vehicle was being tracked, definitely no coincidence.
I consider these unfortunate events as payback for posting good finds on social media the day I recovered them and lazy beach hunters doing what they do best, chasing down other beach hunters.
Posting finds on social media is a double edged sword, it feels good to share your success and inspire others but it can come back to bite you in the treasure hunting butt if you are not careful.
There are simple ways to take the heat off yourself if you like posting and inspiring other beach hunters.
Avoid going into too many details of traveling to the beach and where you always like to park.
That makes it easy for people trying to track you down, once they know your parking habits it does not take long to deduce where you are finding stuff.
Detailing the search area next to the lifeguard tower etc is asking for metal detecting company at tourist beaches.
Of course naming the beach will put you on all the local beach hunters radar, I only name a beach when I want people to go there lol 
Posting photos of eroded (cut) beaches you are searching will always guarantee you have company the same day or the morning after you post the photos.
Time delay your posts, wait a month or two or better still an end of summer or year finds post.
You can still show the finds you are proud of detecting and recovering, but you are less likely to get followed immediately. 
After all these years of pounding beaches and plundering Davy Jones locker I still remain an elusive sight at the beach, giving Bigfoot a run for the hide and seek championship. 
Which reminds me I have to work on not breaking out the gold dance! 
I prefer my finds pouch pocket to glow and swell than to show and tell. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Searching iron infested areas.

I search a lot of iron infested trashy sites, areas where digging every single piece of iron just in case I miss something good is just not possible.
In order to have success at iron infested areas you have to use a little discrimination, a small search coil, trust in your metal detector and most importantly trust in your ears.
You may be surprised just how much small iron can be rejected using a minimal amount of discrimination.
Searching small areas slowly from at least two different directions is the best plan of attack, using a slow methodical sweep speed.
No matter how good you think you have searched an area it is possible to miss good targets       only searching an area from one single direction.
If you have a VDI screen on your metal detector avoid digging shallow depth gauge targets, both ferrous and non ferrous targets as they have a high probability of being surface junk.
Assuming you are not interested in older iron objects, look for non ferrous targets at depth.
Screen or no screen, listen for feint audio responses from deeply buried non ferrous targets.
Slowly wiggling your search coil over an iffy barely audible target often helps to enhance a deep non ferrous target audio response.
Surface iron and the halo effect of deeper corroding iron help mask non ferrous targets in iron infested areas.
A metal detector will often respond to the corroded iron leaching into the matrix the iron was trapped in. 
Small search coils help with target recovery speed if you are using a metal detector not known for a fast target recovery speed.
Target recovery speed is metal detecting lingo for the time it takes your metal detector to detect another target after detecting the last target detected.
The reason for searching across a target rich area from two different directions is to hopefully detect a good target previously over powered by a trash target when your search coil crossed over both targets from the other direction.
You can winkle good targets from areas that at first seem impossible to detect, especially from areas that have previously been searched by hunters using large search coils.
A small size search coil rocks an iron infested area providing openings for methodical hunters, an elliptical shape search coil also helps in areas with known elongated iron obstacles such as pipes.
Sometimes a garden rake or a magnet can be used to clear small surface iron away from a site, or you can just let the beach cleaning tractor do the easy work? 
Coins and jewelry in the sand are moved around free of charge at popular beach sites every day, a diamond ring moved a few inches from a corroding bottle cap can make all the difference to a beach hunter. 
Of course the main things that will open up iron infested sites are time spent reading your metal detector manual and time spent testing targets so you know how to use your metal detector and know what to listen for.
Take my word for it, the best targets are often hidden in plain sight making them the easiest things to detect if you have a plan to detect them.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Flow breakers

Beach treasure hunters often have to rely on the movement of sand in order to be successful, being able to read a beach is often about knowing where the stuff you are searching for has probably moved to.
Some things on beaches obstruct the natural flow of sand, I call them " Flow breakers" objects like boulders, pilings, lifeguard stands, anything that sand is moved around during coastal storms or periods of high surf.
Standing on the beach next to a large rock or iron piling you can often see the lines where the sand has been pushed around the obstruction.
Any coins or jewelry lost at that section of beach you are standing on would have moved with the sand around the sand flow breaking obstacle on the beach.
The larger the sand flow breaker and the busier the beach, the more stuff you can detect around the obstacle that interrupted the natural flow of sand on the beach.
I have always had success searching above large boulders, rocks, pilings etc on the beach and for good reason. 
Jewelry, coins and other metal objects wash up and around obstacles but they often get trapped by the obstacle on the way back down the beach. 
This makes the upper beach side of sand flow breaking obstacles great places to find stuff after periods of high surf, assuming the high surf made it past the obstacle.
Jewelry and coins tend to be found in a straight-ish line below the obstacle towards the water, after being pulled back down around the obstacle.
The obstacle that diverted the natural flow of sand will dictate how you go about searching the area, I prefer using a small search coil and getting closer to metal obstructions.
Before walking away from any sand flow breaker on the beach I like to do a spiral search pattern around the obstacle to make sure I don't miss anything pushed or deposited away from the obstacle.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hidden in plain sight

This year I have found some pretty cool things in the most unexpected areas and I have crossed two things off my metal detecting bucket list.
What this year has taught me is to never overlook anywhere just because I have more success in other areas I know to be more productive.
I go on about beginners luck and trying to think like a newbie to perhaps get some beginners luck.
People new to metal detecting with few beach reading skills are less inclined to head directly to a good looking spot before turning on their metal detector.
An experienced beach hunter may think a beach hunting newbie is wasting their time searching a certain area but I never do, you can detect and recover something of value anywhere on the beach.
On a recent shallow water hunt I was not detecting any targets, two newbies on the lower beach were detecting and digging their butts off in an area I would not have bothered to search.
After seeing the two newbies walking away from the area I quickly went to the spot they were busy digging targets at, its a pity they were not using deeper metal detectors because the good stuff was deeper down in the mushy sand.
Earlier in the year a similar thing happened way up in the dry sand at the top of the beach, you just never know unless you get outside your comfort zone by searching iffy looking sites.
It is surprised to know what good stuff is hidden in plain sight, if you just give areas a once over.
Hey even if you do not find anything in an area you would ignore 99% of the time, at least you can say you have ruled it out.
In fact beach hunting is often about covering ground and ruling areas out, when I consider the beaches to be sanded-in or not looking good, I spend my time wisely trying areas I know darn well are not going to be productive.
But.... every once in a while you are proven wrong and detect something awesome.
Something that makes you wish you had searched the area before or sooner, which has happened to me  a few times this year.
Are you overlooking areas like everyone else?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good or bad beach hunting signs?

On a recent search at a heavily hunted tourist beach I saw both good and bad beach hunting signs. 
Little signs that at first may not appear significant, but they can and often do have an outcome on your beach hunts.
The beach I went looking for tourist jewelry at is searched 24/7 by beach and water hunters at night using headlamps, but you can still find gold if you know what you are doing.
I am an area searcher, meaning I look for an area of the beach I believe has the signs to be productive, instead of trying to cover the whole beach relying on luck.
One of the ways I know I have found a promising area to pound is by the coins I detect.
Coins coming out the sand can tell you a lot about an area, especially at a heavily hunted tourist beach.
For example a US quarter, checking out the condition of it and determining if it is a “Fresh drop” or not.  
A quarter is a sizable target and if more than one unrelated quarter is detected in an area it tells me to hang around. If undetected large denomination coins are in an area what else is there? 
You would have to be a very sloppy beach hunter to miss several easy to detect quarters in an area.
Nickels are always a good sign in numbers because they sound good and respond with gold like numbers on all metal detectors with VDI screens. 
The cent isn’t just a nuisance target when detected in high numbers. Two or three humble US cents can easily mask a solitaire diamond ring, even when you sweep a search coil very slowly across the area.
Swap that diamond ring out for a large 10K class ring and I double dare the average beach or water to hear the gold ring between the stinking Lincoln cent. 
The same applies to three or four unrelated dimes in an area, they mask good targets.
Whenever I find a quarter, nickel, dime or cent, I need another coin in the area to help me identify if they are fresh dropped recent losses or unrelated coins.
The condition of different coins in an area help me to do that, an obvious pocket spill is not as good as coins I deem to be lost over time.
Even the grouping of coins in an area tell you something, quarters and nickels detected in close proximity get my toes tingling ! 
They would not be in an area at a heavily hunted tourist beach if the area had been searched thoroughly.
My last two tourist beach hunts in areas with quarters and dimes have coughed up gold, instead of walking in a straight line away from the area like others do, I spiraled and pounded and eventually found gold.
Coins detected at tourist beaches can and often do tell a story if you connect the dots.
The odd coin can be a bad sign, but when they have friends in the same area they are often a sign of good things to come.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

What and where in the comfort zone

I have been in the beach hunting comfort zone for a very long time, thanks to metal detecting equipment choices I made a very long time ago.
Without doubt one of the most difficult decisions anyone getting into beach hunting must eventually get right is what gear are you going to use.
More to the point what metal detector are you comfortable using and relying on to get the job done.
Im a big fan of using Minelab metal detectors because I feel comfortable using them and I can rely on them to detect the stuff I am searching for at the beaches I search.
The two things I mainly search for are small silver Spanish treasure coins on remote shipwreck beaches and fine gold jewelry at modern tourist beaches, so I use metal detectors that can detect both of these type of metals at saltwater beaches. 
Although I say Im in the beach hunting comfort zone when it comes to the metal detectors I use, I do try and test other metal detectors when I get an opportunity.
When I meet other people metal detecting at the beach I always try to get a sense of how and why they are using their metal detector.
Old timers like myself tend to stay loyal to one or two metal detectors that are tried and trusted, happy and content in the beach hunting comfort zone knowing if its out there Im detecting it!
Here is the beef in todays beach hunting sandwich, if you know a veteran local beach hunter known for finds instead of subscribers and detecting forum posts, you may want to check out what metal detector they use.
The best responses from people I meet at the beach as to why they are using a certain metal detector always begin with I feel comfortable using it and its the right fit for me.
Im still trying to get used to it and Im still trying to get past the learning curve are red flags, especially from people who have been beach hunting a while and should know better.
If your new to beach hunting, research is the key to choosing a metal detector you will be comfortable using.
Why you choose to use a type of metal detector should always be because of the what and where from your research. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Searching after crowded beach events

The beaches are going to be crowded this 4th of July presenting an ideal opportunity to detect something good, if you know how to make the most of your metal detecting time after the festivities have ended.
Beaches are littered with sprinkler wires and trash the morning after firework displays so don’t be afraid to turn the discrimination setting up a notch to suit the temporary trashy beach hunting conditions.
Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be the first person at the beach using a metal detector to find good stuff lost after a crowded beach event.
All you have to do is take your time and cover the area you to choose to search methodically.
Trying to cover the whole beach before other detecting dudes show up will guarantee you go home empty handed unless you are extremely lucky.
Hit prime beach hunting areas hard and slow, have a back up area of the beach in mind just in case you decide to stay searching longer.
Before I hit the beach I plan ahead to see where beach and street closures are going to take place, so I know where to park and when I can get on certain areas of the beach.
I never drive to the beach after the festivities on a beach have just ended, too much traffic and too many potential drunk drivers around for my liking.
Sometimes you are better off letting the beach cleaning crews do their work before hitting the beach, it just depends on the amount of metal detecting competition you have at your local beach.
After a music event at a beach last year I did not get to the beach until mid morning, the beach was still littered with fast food wrappers and beer cans.
Just as bad was crater like holes in the sand, left behind by a small army of beach hunters who search the popular tourist beach.
Figuring I know how the competition like to race around trying to cover the whole beach I would take my time and work one prime area opposite the beach entrance.
Using my foot to sweep cans and fast food wrappers to one side, I saw the glint of a gold reflecting in the morning sun before detecting a superb 18K gold rope chain with a one ounce gold krugerrand pendant.
I wonder how many people using metal detectors detected the beer cans on top of the sand or walked around them before dawn. 
The bigger the beach event the more packed a beach is, making the beach the place to search for lost jewelry and coins.
Freshly lost jewelry and coins are not going to be very deep so you can use your target depth gauge to help you cover ground more efficiently, knowing any deep targets are not worth digging on a post beach event hunt.
I also prefer using a VLF metal detector with a VDI screen on these type of beach hunts to avoid digging ferrous (Iron) trash and undesirable non ferrous objects.
Keep your eyes peeled for surface finds such as sunglasses and paper money, jewelry if you are lucky! 
Searching after large gatherings at the beach remind me of searching after coastal storms, a chance to hit areas you know to be previously productive and recover something good because of the area.
Where are you going to search when the crowds leave the beach?  
You could search on the fly but it is better to have a plan ahead of time and stick with it in my opinion.
Pick a high beach traffic area or two and be a discriminating beach hunter, cover the areas you’ve planned to search for high priority targets you are really trying to detect and recover.      
Crowded independence beaches are great opportunities to find something good for a beach hunter, but I always spare a thought for the people who’s celebration turned to disappointment after losing something they valued.
I always check the local newspaper  “ Lost” notices and Craigslist for a chance to keep the Karma rolling with a happy return story.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Unusual places to find gold near the beach

When people hear what I do for a living they often share "I lost a gold at" stories and it's not always at the beach.
The following sites are just a few of the unusual places connected to beach hunting where people lose gold jewelry.

Boat ramps

People often lose jewelry bending over to hook or unhook boats at slippery boat ramps, it's also a place that sees a lot of people getting on and off boats.
Water, suntan lotion and sunscreen help make boat ramps a surprisingly good place to search for gold using a metal detector.
I have been called out for two gold ring recoveries within the last twelve months by people losing gold wedding bands handing bags from boats to people onshore.
Inland waterway and lake boat ramps are just as good, although I pick and choose my spots carefully here in Florida due to Alligators and snakes.

Dockside fuel stations

I have heard at least three gold Rolex stories connected to boat filling stations, places where boats fill up with fuel. I guess boaters either take their expensive watches off before pumping or lose them struggling with the hose or gas pump, either way if it's safe to search in the water close to dockside fueling stations you could hit the jackpot. I'm sure other jewelry is lost and it's worth a try if it's a popular filling up station.

Beach showers

Every year I pick up gold jewelry around beachside showers, the busier the tourist beach the more you are likely to eyeball gold on the ground. Soap and shampoo cause just as many rings to slip off fingers as suntan oil and  sunscreen.
Around the drain is a good area to spy a gold chain, bracelet or ear ring, lost by people rinsing off their hair.
Heck I even take the drain grills off next to showers checking for gold and it has worked in my favor many a time.
People also put valuables on walls next to beach side showers, especially after normal beach hours when alcohol is involved!

Tot lots

Big or small jewelry it's all gold to me and some of the kiddy bling you can pull out of a beachside kids playground is amazing.
High end beach resort and hotel sand lots are the best, sometimes you hit mum and dad jewelry too. Use a small search coil and  take out all the junk if you regularly search tot lots. Check out the area at the end of slides and underneath the baby swings, where chains and bracelets often get snapped.
I like searching sandy tot lots on rainy days, no kids or parents to deal with and you can often see undetectable thin gold chains against the wet ground.
I'm a dad and know just how many times my young girls used to come home from the tot lot missing jewelry, luckily stuff I had found !

Cross walks

Main street crossing points at busy tourist beaches are excellent places to find gold jewelry if you keep your eyes open.
They are areas people wait to cross the road to the beach adjusting bags, beach chairs, beach umbrellas or anything else they are transporting too and from the beach.
Bracelets and watch straps get snagged and broken, especially by people carrying small children or babies. More importantly it's an area where people put their hands in pockets to pull out car keys, cash and anything else they took off for safe keeping.
You obviously cannot detect the cross walk but keep an eye on the curbs as they collect stuff  you can see and pick up. I once found a nice 18K bracelet in the middle of a cross walk going to beach hunt and another time I picked up a $50.00 note.