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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.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Always something to find

I am not a big fan of negativity in metal detecting which is why I always head out for a search believing anything is possible and I will probably find something.
In my opinion there is always something to find at any beach if you put your time in and look beyond the conditions you see. 
I chuckle reading beach blogs and detecting forum reports about poor beach hunting conditions and lack of finds, I imagine someone walking the same stretch of beach waiting for something to happen week after week. 
The best way to deal with any finds drought is to mix things up starting with a change of scenery. 
Searching in a straight line along the lower beach at the same beach everyday because you found something there a couple of years ago is not a good beach hunting strategy. 
Avoid getting in any type of beach hunting comfort zone because the more you mix things up the more you will find. 
Just trying new things is a step in the right direction, even if you do not find anything you will have tried something different and probably learned something new.
I recover jewelry, coins and artifacts in some of the weirdest places and often when I least expect to. 
One reason why I detect and recover good stuff on a regular basis is because I search a wide variety of areas and I do not assume anything other than there is always something to find somewhere.
I was recently at a metal detecting event held on a beach in Canada and saw something I love seeing in the hobby, enthusiast beginners.
Not one of those beginners asked me when or where should I go beach hunting.
No doubt the majority of those newbies are going to go beach hunting whenever and wherever, more than likely having beginners luck I hope.
Beginners are my favorite type of beach hunters, unpredictable and not set in any ways.
At a heavily hunted beach I dare say they are more competition than experienced beach hunters more likely to search a certain way all the time.
I don’t say this as a shot against experienced beach hunters, just an observation.
When you don’t know what another beach hunter is going to do, they are probably doing something right.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pin-pointer advice for beach and shallow water hunters

I like to carry a waterproof pin-pointer when I go beach and shallow water hunting, especially when I know I am going to be searching rocky shorelines.
Most waterproof pin-pointers are only depth rated to ten feet, usually ruling out using them in deeper water searches.
I have used several different waterproof pin-pointers and the one I have been using for over a year now is the Minelab ProFind 35.
I am very impressed with the way it is detects small targets and the way it works in saltwater, something many so called waterproof pin-pointers struggle to do.
The ProFind 35 has also been put to the test in a wide variety of beach and shallow water hunting situations.
Being able to stand up to a little abuse is important to me as I often search harsh environments for metal detecting equipment, including brackish swamps, saltwater mangroves, coral reefs, compacted shell and jagged rock beaches.
My pin-pointer has been has seen serious action and been dropped on rocks, spent a couple of days on an offshore coral reef and run over by a beach cleaning tractor.
Or as I will say if I have to one day send it the Minelab repair center, normal use!
However, I am happy to say that it has taken a licking and it is still ticking
Pin-pointers are not usually associated with beach hunting, but they are a valuable accessory if you search tough terrain where recovering targets is much more difficult that detecting targets.
I have given a shout out to my Minelab banana, but there are other waterproof pin-pointers to choose from.
Read reviews and make sure the waterproof pin-pointer you choose to use can do two things, detect a small ear ring back on the highest sensitivity setting and be used in saltwater without going nuts.
Again do your homework before buying a waterproof pin-pointer as some pin-pointers advertised as waterproof behave erratically around salt the one mineral saltwater beach hunters have to deal with on a regular basis.
Remember, you have to turn the sensitivity down to use a pin-pointer in saltwater, don't worry about losing pinpointing depth after lowering the sensitivity on your pin-pointer.
If you are carrying a pin-pointer to the beach you obviously need one to help locate and recover detected targets trapped between rocks, shell or coral.
All of these type of tough beach recovery areas act as natural coin, jewelry or artifact traps, prohibiting the stuff you are searching from sinking out of metal detection range.
A waterproof pin-pointer helps you to isolate a detected target in touch to search areas, how you extract the target is up to you.

You don’t always have to walk around or past difficult to search areas, put your metal detector and scoop down, use the pin-pointer and a flat head screw driver or pair of needle nose pliers to winkle the good stuff out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Old dog, same tricks and new toys

Although I have a lot of beach and water hunting miles on my clock I don't dilly dally when it comes to trying new equipment if I believe it may possibly help me to find more and better treasures at the beach.
In other words if you see me using something on a regular basis you can be sure I like it!
My result came back as 99% pirate 1% scallywag so sometimes I have mixed feelings about advertising how good something is for beach or water hunting when I search heavily hunted beaches.
I figure I will still get my share, but some of the new metal detectors like the Minelab Equinox for example make it easier to get ahead faster.
Me thinks metal detector companies are actually listening and designing metal detectors that beach and water hunters have long been asking for.
The main three things or features I look for in a metal detector as a beach hunter are waterproof, balance and versatility, probably in that order.
I prefer balance over weight as a feature because even a moderately beefy metal detector can be swung for hours on end if it is well balanced. 
The Minelab CTX 3030 is a perfect example, looks can be deceiving as it is a surprising well balanced metal detector. 
I predominantly metal detected inland back in the day so I also know how important the word waterproof is in rainy old England.
Been there and done that with the covering metal detectors in plastic bags thing, ruined my share of Etracs, Explorers and Sovereigns. 
If your at the beach salt may be more of a problem for a non waterproof unit than water, no matter how far you stay away from the waters edge. 
Salt spray and sand cannot be washed off and they begin to do a number on your metal detector.
Versatility used to mean being able to change search coils to me, but now it also means being compact enough to travel on metal detecting trips.
How does a metal detector pack comes into play and it often makes a difference on what metal detector I pack to travel with.
I love my CTX 3030 but Im tired of lugging my big green suitcase all over the place, the only suitcase the upper shaft will fit in diagonally. 
We live in good beach and water hunting times as we have more waterproof, balanced and versatile metal detectors to choose from.
Heck even the non waterproof metal detectors are more compact and well balanced than in years past.
Like anything else in these techy times, you have to change with the times, try new things or get left behind.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Eyes on the prize

For every piece of gold I used to post I probably recovered dozens of unwanted targets before finding gold, it’s just the nature of the hobby searching for treasure amongst the trash. 
Some of my best finds have come after first getting bogged down digging unwanted targets. I fondly remember the morning I found my magnificent Spanish 1715 fleet treasure ring, what I thought to be just another crushed beer can turned out to be the ultimate Bobby Dazzler.
Just when you are tired of digging mundane junk like pull tabs, bottle caps or nails, the detecting gods answer your prayers.
That is why you never walk away from an area you have chosen to search for a reason, playing a treasure hunting hunch often pays off if you stick to the plan and keep your eyes on the prize.
I recovered many pieces of Spanish silver, copper, bronze and iron before recovering gold at the Treasure Coast beach my precious was found.
I knew if I persevered I would eventually recover gold long after other beach treasure hunters had given up mistakenly believing this beach was sanded-in for the summer.
When I search for modern platinum, gold and silver  jewelry at tourist beaches, I use the same kind of strategy by relying on knowing where I am likely to recover bling. 
At least a couple of times a year I recover gold in areas I know other beach hunters probably moved on from, the reason I will clean out areas saturated with pennies as I know they can easily mask gold. 
The next time you choose an area you feel good about, stay the course and battle through dissapointing targets because there is nothing better than seeing an unexpected Bobby Dazzler come out from amongst the unwanted stuff.
Site selection and playing hunches will pay off when you least expect it, but quite often when you know what you are searching for is probably to be found in the area.
All good things found metal detecting are worth the hard work you put in digging mundane targets before finding the good stuff. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Using small search coils

Several followers of this blog have pointed ou to me how I often mention large search coils but rarely mention small search coils and question if I ever use them, my answer is most definitely yes but only when the site makes a small search coil necessary.
In my opinion small search coils are like pulse induction metal detectors, very site specific and not something to be used all the time. 
Some of my favorite finds have been recovered using small five to eight inch size search coils, I just don’t think about ground coverage and target depth when I know a small size search coil is right for the site.
Several years ago I remember hammering two trashy beach sites after major beach erosion had taken place and when I say hammering I mean hammering!
One site I searched just about every night for two months straight, recovering good stuff every time I used a small search coil. 
I used the cover of night not to be seen because I used to post fresh finds on my Facebook page back in the day. 
I would often check the area out during the day and see other people metal detecting across the area but not stopping and I knew the two reasons why, iron and target masking. 
This beach was very trashy and even a ten or eleven inch search coil meant you were not going to hear any good signals in the area unless you were moving very slowly and concentrating hard. 
Both ferrous (Iron) and junky non ferrous targets in high numbers mask potentially valuable targets at trashy beach and inland sites using the ten to eleven inch size search coils most people now use on metal detectors.
Stick a small five to eight inch size search coil on your metal detector and the same site comes to life if you hunt by tones, FE - CO numbers on a metal detector VDI screen or a combination of both at the right site.
Even an elliptical shape search coil can make a difference at a trashy site, an elliptical shaped small search coil even more of a difference, bigger isn’t always better in metal detecting, especially for people who search a wide variety of sites.
Your metal detector can often be used with a higher sensitivity setting using a small search coil because it is reading less of the ground, running hotter I find the target depth differential is nominal between an eight and ten inch search coil.
Target recovery speed is increased using small search coils and you can get closer to large iron in the search area, for example iron pipes or beams on a beach. 
The next time you find yourself in a finds drought, put a small search coil on your metal detector and see how many more targets you start digging.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Taking care of your equipment

I try to take very good care of my metal detecting equipment, when I am not using it up to my neck in swamps and saltwater lol
Your metal detecting equipment is the gear you invested in for beach hunting success so it makes good treasure hunting sense to keep the tools of the trade in tip top working order.
I clean anything I use at the beach with fresh water after every use and allow my gear to dry naturally before storing it.
Leaving a metal detector to dry in the sun is not a good idea as it will eventually cause irreparable damage to electronics and cables.
So too does leaving metal detectors, search coils and pin-pointers in vehicles between beach hunts, always store your metal detecting equipment in a cool dry area.
The cleaner you keep your equipment the more chance you have of seeing a potential problem and dealing with it before it ruins your fun.
Once a month I inspect all my metal detecting equipment for wear and tear, checking the bottom of my search coil and the cable for splits or cracks.
A marine epoxy from the local hardware store can be used to fill splits of cracks on the bottom of a search coil, liquid rubber can be used to seal a damaged cable.
When you use a metal detector at a beach, sand and small pieces of shell can build up and lead to damage if you do not rinse off your equipment properly.
Metal detector shafts are prone to freezing or locking up because of sand and salt build up,  breaking down your metal detector shaft once a month helps you avoid not being able to travel with your metal detector to detect.
There is nothing worse than breaking down your metal detector excited about a metal detecting vacation and discovering you cannot separate your upper shaft from the lower rod, that usually happens just before you are preparing to travel.
Specially designed two or three piece travel scoops should be taken apart regularly as they are also prone to locking up. I have both a travel shaft and travel shaft and only use them for detecting abroad, that way I know I am good to go.
The more you clean your equipment the more you will be ready for any beach hunting situation that comes along.
I am predominantly a saltwater beach hunter, searching in tough conditions so I go the extra mile with the prevent maintenance.
From polishing metal detector shafts so they collapse easier and lubricating battery seals, to towel drying and AC storing metal detecting equipment, anything it takes to protect my investments in this great hobby.
Here are a couple of tips to help prevent damage to your metal detector and search coils. 
Use a few wraps of electrical tape in three or four places to secure your search coil cover to your search coil, plastic zip ties secured too tight lead to coil covers splitting prematurely. 
Yes you have to change the tape more often than zip ties but if you search areas with high amounts of black sand you have to flush your search coil cover out regularly anyway.
Avoid sealing your search coil cover to your search coil with adhesive silicone sealants, it only attracts more sand and shells particles. You may also unknowingly void your metal detector warranty sealing or using truck bed liner products on search coils.
Change your search coil bolt washers when you see they are worn, preventing further damage to the search coil ears.
You keep on top of things when you clean and inspect your gear, it pays to look after your stuff when you play in mud, sand and saltwater.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

If in doubt keep it

I take everything I find at the beach home with me, as long as I can carry it off the beach because sometimes you never know what you have found until you become an experienced beach hunter.
I say experienced because over the years you become familiar with a wide variety of objects  recovered at the beach which’s makes them easier to identify and helps prevent you from discarding something potentially valuable 
Many moons ago I was into bottle and clay pipe digging along tidal river banks back in England, I still scour river banks when the opportunity arises. 
I would recover all kinds of interesting  finds scouring tidal river banks, usually taking bags of stuff home until I had a chance to clean and identify what I had found using my “ Twin optical” scanners. 
Everything from pottery chicken eggs and victorian glass christmas lights to boars tusks and fossils, you name it my dear old mums kitchen sink saw it lol
I remember stinking out the kitchen many a time removing corks from old bottles that were encased in river mud for three or four hundred years. 
One of the great things about the hobby of metal detecting is you never know what you are going to return home with, it could be a find of a lifetime if you are patient, persistent and lucky.
A ring encrusted and scratched up that at first looks to be junk, could turn out to be a bobby dazzler platinum or gold ring when cleaned up.
A blackened disc shaped object could turn out to be an old silver treasure coin after cleaning, you just never know until you gain experience at identifying objects recovered at the beach.
That goes for inland sites too, I have a really cool dinosaur egg I found while hiking in a western desert, yup the lucky horse shoe up my butt works in the desert too lol 
I believe because we spend so much time looking down at the ground spotting things that stand out becomes second nature.
A word to the wise if you look at a metal detector VDI screen instead of the ground you are moving over. 
Bag and tag anything unusual you pick up at the beach until you are able to identify what the mystery object it, another good thing about metal detecting is you are learning all the time. 
I class myself as quite knowledgable when it comes to identifying old shipwreck coins, jewelry and artifacts, if I do not know what something is I eventually find out and learn something new in the process.
If the beach conditions are bad or you cannot get to the beach, get stuck into some research on the stuff you are likely to find at your local beaches.
Shipwreck or maritime museums and exhibits are excellent places to check out possible future finds, perhaps you will recognize something you have found already.
Remember take your finds home just in case you make the mistake of leaving something good for another beach hunter who does recognize what you decided to leave behind.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Double check habit

The trashier the beach site the more important it is to recheck any hole you dig before moving away as you often don’t hear multiple targets under your metal detector search coil.
When two or more metal objects are buried in the same area it is always the strongest signal your metal detector detects, large size metal objects over power small size metal objects, but not always.
A smaller piece of iron like a washer will completely mask a gold ring buried next to it, the reason I always sweep my search coil slowly to aid target recovery speed.
Target recovery speed is the time it takes for your metal detector to respond to a second target after detecting the first target.
Perhaps you get lucky and detect the gold ring before the iron washer sweeping from a direction using a slow metal detecting pace and sweep speed.
Getting back to dug holes during the target recovery process,I make a habit of always rechecking holes and the spoils I dug out of the holes.
Fans of the TV show “ The Curse of Oak Island” may have seen the ending of season five when I recovered a jewel from a broach after rechecking the spoils dug from a hole.
The old broach that came out of the hole was missing its jewel, my habit of rechecking the hole and spoil pile paid off as the jewel was set in a silver frame.
I have found everything from Spanish treasure coins to modern diamond rings checking other beach hunters holes, knowing the object that caused the other beach hunter to dig may not have been the only thing in the hole.
When I search in land I always sweep around the inside of a dug hole using my pin-pointer before filling the hole, especially if the initial target was a good one.
That attention to detail has led to many a good second or third find from the same hole for me. 
Studying how both iron and target masking effect you will help you to winkle out good finds in trashy areas.
If you want a really eye opening experiment, try using a garden rake over a very trashy area you believe you have cleaned out, no doubt you will detect good targets after taking the area. 
Get in the habit of rechecking any hole you dig as one day it will pay off for you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Transitioning between areas and settings

Im not big into using other people’s metal detector programs or settings, as you have to set your metal detector up to suit the area you are going to search.
A beach hunter may set their metal detector up to search on the dry sand and wander over wet sand or get into the water to search, the reason why it is important to know how to adjust settings to suit the ground being covered.
Hands up how many beach hunters the  same settings no matter where on the beach they are searching?
The low beam car headlights in the fog seeing better analogy translates well to lower beach hunting, the area a lower sensitivity level will work better over salt or black sand.
I usually crank up the metal detector sensitivity the further away from the water I search, I also use more discrimination up in the dry sand which tends to be trashier than the lower beach.
Different areas of the beach require different metal detector settings, even search patterns make a difference over different ground.
Sweep your coil close to the water searching along the shoreline and listen for the false signal you get  on the end of the sweep away from the water.
Your metal detector will be working overtime searching over the constantly changing sand close to the water.
If your metal detector does not have automatic ground balancing you should really stop and ground balance your metal detector to better suit any area that is significantly different to what you first started out setting up your metal detector and searching.
 I often see people using metal detectors I know have to be ground balanced moving from the dry sand into the water and vise versa without stopping to ground balance.
Get in the habit of setting your metal detector up when you get to the beach to suit the conditions, start searching and tweak your settings to see what you can get away with in the area you are searching.
If you move close to or inside the water tweak again looking for a smooth operation without much chatter, remember less is often more over difficult ground.
If you move away from the water tweak your settings with an eye towards running a little hotter over dry and less salt saturated ground.
At the beach salt is the thing that is going to effect your metal detector the most, adjust your settings to handle the salt content.
A little trick I use when searching over constantly changing ground is using a ring on a string, if I can detect the 14 K gold wedding band on the string at a certain depth my settings are fine, but if I cannot detect the ring  I tweak my settings until I detect the ring.
There are no set and forget metal detector settings when you search a wide variety of areas at the beach, salinity levels, black sand, even the amount of seaweed searched over effect your metal detector.
Tweak and tweak often at the beach my friends.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

You can not find what you can not detect

A poor metal detector search coil sweeping technique is often the reason for an empty finds pouch. 
Beach hunters swinging metal detectors like golf clubs or scythes cutting grass, only really have a chance of detecting anything in the small area the search coil passes over on the bottom of the swing.
Beach hunters lifting or raising a search coil at the end of each sweep have target depth drop off substantially towards and at the end of each sweep.
Beach hunters walking at a normal walking pace along the beach, only detect a small part of the sand they are walking over.
Poor search coil sweeping technique, search coil control and metal detecting pace make more of difference in finds to a beach hunter than any metal detector being used.
You can not find what you can not detect!
Here are several things I do to maintain a clean sweeping technique and search coil control when metal detecting at the beach. 
I always keep my search coil as close to the sand as possible, including scuffing or scrubbing the sand ahead of me. 
I have a couple of youtube videos showing my search coil sweeping technique, check them out. 
To prevent me from traveling across the sand too quickly I always step (Not walk) forward and never step ahead until I have swept my search coil twice, slightly over lapping the previous sweep.
I only sweep slightly past shoulder width, a narrow sweep prevents me from over extending and raising the search coil towards the end of each sweep. 
These search coil sweeping techniques insure I never cover the ground ahead too quickly, miss easy to detect targets or lose any target depth. 
Help your metal detector to do it’s job of detecting the things you are searching for at the beach, the more targets you successfully detect the more success you will have.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Get busy digging

I had another successful gold jewelry hunt this weekend after finding a target rich area.
Several other people were metal detecting at the beach I chose to search, but doing more walking than digging.
It could have been really easy to do the same but I never walk away from any area I get busy digging targets, after all that is what a beach hunter goes to the beach to do right?
The more targets you dig the more gold you find at tourist type beaches, so in my opinion when you find a site with a lot of targets it makes no sense to walk away from the area.
When I do not see obvious areas to search first using my beach or people reading skills, I start out using a loose "W" type search pattern to help locate a target rich area. 
I believe this type of search pattern helps you to detect a good area faster than walking and detecting in a straight line, especially on the lower beach or inside the water.
My style of power tourist beach hunting does not allow me to stay out all day hoping to stumble across gold, Im usually knackered after two, three or four hours of intense digging at the beach.
If you have to spend all day every day at a busy tourist beach to find gold your doing more walking than digging.
Find the hot area stay put and clean it out, finding the hot areas is the key to tourist beach hunting.
Beach and people reading skills are very important, but they often do not help when visiting a beach for the first time.
I get around a lot and search a wide variety of beaches, it may be several weeks or months before I hit the same beach, sometimes the only way to find the hot areas are to detect using W, spiral or zig- zagging type search patterns until you find a target rich area.
The longer you go between signals on a busy tourist beach the more valuable metal detecting you are wasting, if your not digging you are certainly not going to find what you are searching for.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

My take on target ID numbers

If you are a coin and jewelry hunter using a metal detector with a VDI screen here are a few reasons why target IDs should only be a potential estimate of the metal object detected.  
Numbers, numbers, numbers, everyone seems to be obsessed with Ferrous and Conductive target numbers, but several different things can throw throw target numbers off on a metal detector screen.
Typical FE-CO number responses from commonly found coins or rings laying flat buried in sand or soil are usually going to be the same nine times out of ten. 
Place that coin or ring on edge at the same depth and the FE-CO target numbers will probably read differently. 
The angle you sweep over the target may also effect the read out, especially if you happen to detect another metal object close to the initial target, add saltwater washing over the area and watch those target numbers change even more. 
I always advise people using a metal detector with a screen to just use target ID numbers as a second or third opinion, the first opinion when using a metal detector is always made by listening with your ears.
Hunt by ear and use your eyes to scan the ground you are metal detecting over, if you are searching for old treasure coins and artifacts always trust your ears over target ID numbers.
Searching for modern coins and jewelry, make sure you know the target ID numbers darn well before skipping over stuff because you are certain something has been identified correctly.
I have recovered plenty of impressive 10K gold rings that responded with stinking Lincoln numbers and chunky silver rings disguised by typical quarter target numbers.
One of best uses of target ID numbers is to identify nuisance objects in areas littered with what ever the nuisance object is in the area being searched.  
A few years ago I had an excellent beach hunting opportunity in an area littered with old fashioned roofing nails, I knew what roofing nail FE-CO numbers came up on my Minelab CTX 3030 screen and I spent a couple of hours detecting and and removing the roofing nails.
I purposely went after and removed the nuisance target because I knew they had the potential to mask the old gold coins I was searching for, being able to identify but not dig the trash was not a good option. 
This was a perfect example of knowing how to use one of the so called bells and whistles of the Minelab CTX 3030. 
Another good use of target ID numbers is searching for high potential targets in heavily hunted areas, about the only time I will play the percentages by skipping targets with the Minelab CTX 3030 or Equinox.

There are times to rely on FE-CO target numbers on metal detector screens, just not all the time.  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Beach closed or open for business?

Many tourist beaches are widened or built up with sand during beach replenishment projects, especially after beach erosion caused by powerful tropical storms or hurricanes. 
Watching trucks dump tons of sand on your favorite jewelry and coin hunting spots may be disheartening, but there are sometimes opportunities if you think outside the beach hunting box.
If you are looking for recently lost jewelry or coins it does not take very long before you can start finding stuff again, perhaps sooner than you think.
Try finding out where the new sand is coming from, perhaps the sand is being dredged from an offshore location, trucked in from another beach or an inland lake beach many miles away from the coast.
All of these scenarios may provide an excellent opportunity to a beach hunter who ignores the sight of the trucks or bulldozers on the beach and at least gives it a try.
At many replenished tourist beaches considered heavily hunted, the majority of regular beach hunters go elsewhere and do not return when they see their regular spots covered in several feet of sand.
Replenished tourist beaches may have old jewelry, coins or even artifacts waiting for a beach hunter willing to at least search the new sand. 
Perhaps the offshore dredge was put on top of or close to a shipwreck or sand bar containing jewelry or coins washed offshore from previous storms. 
The inland lake beach could also have been a popular swimming area back in the day, who knows what could be dumped on your local beach during a sand replenishment project.
I do the opposite to the majority of beach and water hunters by thinking outside the beach hunting box and never assuming a beach is sanded-in or a waste of time.
You can find a lot of good stuff not long after a beach has been replenished, especially when the regular beach hunting crowd avoid replenished beaches.
If you are there during or soon after the sand replenishment has taken place, you may get lucky and find stuff you never would have expected to recover at that site. 
I have recovered a wide variety of good finds at replenished beaches, from three hundred year old Spanish treasure coins and artifacts to still ticking dive watches. 
There could be a silver or gold lining in any beach replenishment project, if your willing to find out.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

How to find interesting sites to search

There are many easy ways to find good sites to search if you do a little research.
A few of my favorite ways of adding to my secret sites list in Florida are going to postcard, bottle, coin shows, internet property appraisers sites and watching old TV movies / shows for background references.
I have had many multiple gold ring days thanks to taking notice of crowded areas in the background of the 1980s Miami Vice series, areas up and down the Florida coastline that are now totally different.
Postcard shows are easy ways to get a glimpse of what areas looked like back in the day, go straight to the old local postcards and look for crowded areas, beach entrances or swimming holes that are no longer there.
Bottle shows, head to the older bottle tables and you will sometimes hear stories from sellers of where the bottles were recovered or tales of bottle digging.
In Florida I like to head to the tables full of black glass and hear diving stories from old timers.
Coin shows are the same, if you seek out the tables with older coins nine times out of ten the person detected many of the shipwreck coins, it helps if you don't say you search for bottles or coins lol  
Property appraisers sites have all the dates houses were built, if you are a beach hunter seek out areas close to the beach and try figure out where old beach access and swimming areas were located back in the day.
Old maps are obviously a great research tool, check out place or road names, I have found many old sites by researching why an area, road or lane starting with the word "Old" got its name.
When you do your research and find areas you often have the area all to yourself to metal detect. 
I search many different beaches and stumble on areas that produces coins and jewelry, the area is often off the beaten track away from beach entrances, hotels or parking lots used today.
There is no obvious reason why the coins or jewelry ended up there, but I find out by researching the areas past history.
It almost always end up the same explanation, back in the day the area looked very different to what it does today.
The gold ring in the photo was one of several pieces of gold and silver from the 1950s I recovered a few years back after attending an old postcard show and picking up an old swimming area from a postcard.
If your tired of going to the same places metal detecting, look to the past to move ahead. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Watching and learning from other beach hunters

This week I spent a lot of time at the beach and I saw a lot of people using metal detectors, not surprising as the hobby is now very popular.
One of those days on a Treasure Coast beach I saw three different pairs of beach hunting buddies trying their luck for Spanish treasure, without being mean luck was probably their best chance of finding anything that day. 
All six people were using large search coils in the 14-15 inch size range and swinging their metal detectors like they were using a scythe to cut grass.  
I know from experience many of those search coils are heavy and swinging them like golf clubs must have been hard work.
Another old timer was using a heavy pulse induction metal detector with a large search coil tilted up at the front, I see this guy at that site quite often and he always has the front of the search coil tilted probably five inches higher than the back of the search coil.
I would say he is probably struggling to carry that heavy metal detector, also the lower shaft attaches to the back of the heavy search coil so its a bad choice of equipment anyway. 
In my opinion, search control control is a very important part of metal detecting.
Just keeping your search coil level and low during the sweeping motion will increase the amount of good stuff you will find.
You get near maximum target depth no matter what size search coil being used and you are actually covering the ground not swatting flies!
An extra large search coil tilted five inches higher at the front on a badly balanced metal detector is no help even if you dig it all. 
I always say for every inch above the sand or soil your search coil is swept, its an inch less in the ground you are detecting good targets.
Basics my friends, why swing a large heavy search coil and only detect targets directly in front of you which you are not probably going to detect because your already a yard ahead. 
Large search coils need to be swept low and level throughout the sweep.
All the pros of using large search coils are negated when you do not have good search coil control skills.

Friday, April 6, 2018

More weekend tourist beach hunting tips

It is that time of the week when "Weekend warriors" finally get a chance to hit the beach and go metal detecting so if you live to detect the weekend here are a few tips to help you find stuff left behind by full time beach hunters.
I am not going to tell you to wait until late Sunday for weekend crowds at tourist beaches to lose stuff. 
Get out there and go for it, avoid fretting over who has already searched the place you have chosen to search.
Take your time and cover any area you search as thoroughly as possible, think site selection over ground coverage.
Avoid traveling long distances if you have busy beaches within reach, nine times out of ten other beach hunters will travel to heavily hunted beaches, that is why they are heavily hunted.
Less metal detectors equal more finds and every hour spent driving down a road is one hour less your search coil is over sand potentially detecting targets. 
Be prepared to search all three areas of the beach, the upper dry sand, lower wet sand and inside the water if you need to.
Nine times out of another ten, only one or two areas of the beach are heavily hunted leaving one area untouched.
The more areas you are capable of searching the more chance you have of recovering something good when you are an all around beach hunter.
Choose your search coil wisely if you have a choice of different size search coils for your metal detector, average is often above average when it comes to search coils 
Leave the extra large and small search coils home, go for the one that came with your detector, it will have the best combination of target depth and sensitivity to a wide variety of targets. 
Arrive at the beach early to get a good parking spot and always check out where people are crowded at the beach, if you get a chance to detect Sunday head straight to areas you now know have potential.
Lastly go with the flow if you arrive at the beach and other people are already metal detecting as I have recovered some of my favorite finds in areas I had to search because they were the only areas not being detected.
Good luck this weekend my Facebook friends!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Eyes down

A couple of weeks ago my wife lost one of her favorite emerald ear rings, she was gutted until yesterday when I spotted the gold and green ear ring on the edge of the driveway. 
It was the second piece of gold I have picked up off the ground this week, I guess you could say looking at the ground Im walking over is a work related habit. 
Many beach hunters now use metal detectors with VDI screens and get into the bad habit of being obsessed with target ID numbers and looking at the screen instead of the ground.
I now see people searching beaches intently looking at metal detector screens instead of the ground around them.
Believe me, there are way too many distractions at south Florida beaches to keep your eyes only on a detector screen lol 
Beach treasure hunting should always be about looking for good stuff as well as trying to detect good stuff.
Your metal detector is a tool you use to help you detect unseen metal objects, but it’s not the main detection tool.
Never under estimate the importance of your “ Twin optical scanners”, an important thing to remember if your just starting out metal detecting.
A metal detector screen will not help you read the beach or tell you where the most promising looking area at the site is, it is just an aid to identifying metal objects. 
I often use metal detectors that have multiple ways of identifying targets after they are detected, but I rely on my baby blues to get me to the decision time. 
Here are a few examples of things I have pulled out of mud and sand after only seeing an inch or two green, black or white.