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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.

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.