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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. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

If in doubt dig it all!

Sometimes the only way to really clean a good site out is by using no discrimination and digging every signal response, even a break, slight raising or lowering of your metal detector threshold. 
If I am taking no prisoners at the beach or in land, I go all out by taking a spade or rake with me to a site I feel is going to produce something good.
At my favorite sites, I will often dig down a couple of feet and even rake the spoil piles detecting every metal target possible.
Like I often say in my blogs and beach hunting related books,  I go to the beach to find good stuff not to walk along the beach for hours on end hoping to stumble across something good.
Discrimination and notching out select targets is good at the appropriate sites, but at many of my favorite sites I need to know Im getting it all which means digging all I can in my allotted search time.
As a tourist beach hunter I know the effects of both iron and target masking, I  use a little discrimination knowing I am potentially trading some high value targets to detect more lost tourist gold faster.
As a Spanish treasure hunter searching for old coins and artifacts, I know Im in for a work out.
There are times to dig it all and roll the detecting dice, it just depends what you are searching for and where.
My advice to beginners is always to dig it all as you learn to interpret signals and get to know your metal detector. 
Bells and whistles on metal detectors help in certain situations, but until you have experience you are going to have to dig it all or miss out on one of metal detecting greatest pleasures the surprise find.
I will leave you with two things to mull over, if your metal detector cannot identify a target at depth it will reject the target no matter what it is and larger targets always over power smaller targets.
Put a gold coin close to crusty bottle cap, sweep your search coil over them and you will see why you have to dig it all to be sure.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Back up sites

I try not to have too many preconceived beach hunting plans when I head out the door to have fun apart from a good back up or secondary site.
Before a couple of hurricanes dumped tons of sand on one of my favorite back up sites, I had a unbelievable run of success at one back up beach.
This bobby dazzler was the only signal I got after visiting a secondary site I ended searching after striking out at the first site.

A complete change of beach is sometimes just what the doctor ordered if sanded-in conditions give you a headache. 
Having two different search sites within reach of each other makes beach hunting sense.
I rarely stay any place above three or four hours if a beach is just not producing what I am searching for, depending how big the beach is.
If it is not happening on the upper beach, lower beach and inside the water in four hours, its time to move on in my book.
I often know within the first thirty minutes how a beach hunt is going to go and I sometimes pull up anchor sooner.
Knowing when not to search comes with experience and it is probably more important than knowing when to search which is much easier to learn.
Time spent metal detecting at local beaches will help you to know secondary sites worth searching that are likely to be different to the bad situation you walked away from at the first site.
I often pull up bobby dazzlers and top pocket finds at back up sites, instead of wasting beach hunting time at the first site my instincts told me to walk away from. 
If you have only one beach within reach, make sure you do not just search one area of it.
For example, if you are a dry sander hit the shallow water or if you only wet sand and water hunt get yourself up in the dry sand.
The more places you search the more you find, avoid grinding away for hours and hours by having a good plan B. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekend beach hunting tips

My favorite weekend jewelry hunting tip is grab your metal detector and try your luck, in other words don't get too cute waiting for low tide or the beach conditions to improve. 
Experienced beach hunters and especially water hunters often outsmart themselves by over thinking the situation.
For example, experienced beach and water hunters waiting until two hours before low tide to go searching.
Detecting forums and beach hunting blogs are full of "It was two hours before low tide and I hit the beach" stories, I know because I like to see who I beat to the tourist gold and treasure coins. 
I do a lot of early morning and late night beach hunting, mainly because I have a business and a family who I like to spend time with.
As you would expect, the tides and conditions are what they are when I get to the beach and I deal with them. 
You could say I have an advantage over the competition because I get to search so many different areas on the beach and deal with so many different conditions.
In my beach hunting books I am fond of saying jewelry, coins and artifacts are not lost in the same area of the beach all the time.
Being in the right place at the right time in beach metal detecting is often about being in place to detect the find, sandy coils detect and dusty coils do not. 
If this weekend you are not sure when you are going to hit the beach, I guarantee there are people who know exactly when they are heading out the door because they worship the low tide.
This weekend hit the beach and adapt to the tide and conditions when you get there, I believe you will be in the right place more of the time when you do not put needless restrictions on yourself.  
Leave the "It was not the best tide" or "It was not the best conditions" lamenting to others, go out there and get some!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Down to the wire

It may surprise you to know that when I hit the beach with a metal detector I do not go searching for big finds, I make detecting and recovering small targets my number one priority.
There are some nice things that come in small packages metal detecting at the beach, like this emerald wrapped in a 22K gold wire. 
I am pretty sure this is a piece of Spanish treasure because of the area it was recovered, close to a known Spanish shipwreck. 

The signal from this piece of jewelry was the slightest of crab farts, but I heard it because I was searching with small targets in mind.
Sweeping slow and low is how you detect small wire type targets often missed by other people using metal detectors at the beach.
The next time you see a nice diamond engagement ring, check out the band and see how the diamond is held in place.
It is basically platinum or gold wire with prongs, unlike your typical wider and thicker platinum or gold wedding band. 
Don't get me wrong I enjoy finding wedding bands, but anyone can find these easy to detect circles of platinum, gold or silver and they are the most commonly found piece of jewelry at the beach.
I slowly hone in on the smaller thinner platinum or gold bands, making sure my metal detector is set up to detect the more expensive pieces of jewelry.
Look at diamond rings and gold chains as being the hardest two things to detect at the beach, when you start to recover them on a regular basis you have found the perfect mix of equipment and search techniques. 
When you can detect the small stuff you never have to worry about detecting the big stuff, if it is there you are going to hit on it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Bobby dazzler hunting

Although I really love searching for old coins and artifacts the odd modern bobby dazzler is always a welcome site in the scoop.
The morning I recovered this diamond encrusted gold chain and cross a few years ago, I remember thinking I was going home empty handed after a two hour predawn tourist beach raid.

Going back to my previous blog, it was a re-occuring situation I was familiar with after deciding to search a few yards in the opposite direction I started out from just in case.
I could not just leave the beach without trying my luck in the opposite direction, boy did my instincts pay off!
The old me would have probably spent another two hours searching the area, but previous experiences taught me that the chances of recovering something similar were very slim.
So off I pops down the road with a big smile on my face, until realizing my wife and girls were probably still sleeping as it was 7 am on a Saturday morning.
I swung by another beach close to home for a couple more hours knowing I had bling in my top pocket and the pressure was off. 
Walking onto the beach I saw four other people metal detecting, one in the wet sand and three in the water, I figured what the heck I would give it a go anyway and search the only area left open to me which was the thigh deep shallow water.
First signal was a beer can, second signal was a yard of 14K gold chain weighing 2.5 ounces, I put it in my top pocket and walked straight out of the water, jumped in my van and drove home with an even bigger smile on my face.

Four ounces of gold and diamonds will do that to you and I always wanted to do that, find something good and walk off the beach and not turn back lol 
That was like the Caddy shack game of golf in the lightning, except I was not going to upset the surf gods by rolling the dice one more time.
I have no regrets I cashed in and went home, Im pretty sure I read and played the beach hunting situations just right. 
Bobby dazzlers are out there my Facebook friends, you just have to mix things up and try different things and you get rewarded more times than not.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Reoccurring situations at the beach

Although I was born with a lucky horseshoe up my butt, I try not to rely on luck too much when metal detecting on the beach or inside the water.
When certain things happen on a regular basis I take note and make sure I learn from previous beach or water hunting events that led to recovering something good.
For example, detecting and recovering something good with multiple people metal detecting in the same area.
I look at why I was able to come away with a really good find with so many people searching the same area, it often has to do with ignoring the competition and sticking to my game plan.
Instead of thinking about what other people may find before me, I double down on my metal detecting and search techniques to make sure I thoroughly search the area I can detect stuff.
Sometimes I recover something good in an area I have been forced into searching because other people are searching the area I would have probably chosen to search first.
No worries, different areas often lead to good finds because they are searched less often than the better looking area you intended to search first.
The timing of a beach hunt is sometimes the reason for beach hunting success, not waiting for low tide before hitting the beach.
You may recover something in the high tide line in an area you may have chosen to ignore if it was low tide with more lower beach to search.
My metal detecting books have many photos of impressive metal detecting finds, hardly any of the stories about a good find start with I got lucky being in the right place at the right time.
The reason is because I work on putting myself in the right place to recover good stuff by knowing how to take advantage of situations that often arise at the beach.
Its not luck when you recover good stuff doing things on purpose because it is not the first time it has happened to you.
Recovering something good a few yards in the opposite direction past the point you began searching away from is a common occurrence at beach entrances, I always check a few yards beyond where I first started out searching before leaving the beach.
Finding a gold ring close to another gold ring has a perfectly logical explanation, as objects of the same size or density often settle in the same area at the beach due to tides and the natural sifting effect of the water.
Recovering something good in an area searched by a person metal detecting ahead of you, shows you have a better technique or metal detecting equipment than the other person you are following.
These examples show there are quite a few different reoccurring situations or set of circumstances that a beach or water hunter can learn from instead of relying on luck.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A bank open for business

The word bank originates from a time when people dug a hole in a bank and hid their valuables for safe keeping.
If you search shorelines hit by unusually high surf you may detect something of value buried or lost a long time ago in the eroded beach bank. 
This photo is a good example of an eroded shoreline hit by a winter storm that I had an opportunity to search last year. 

Shorelines change all the time in areas that are hit hard by coastal storms, leaving behind excellent metal detecting opportunities if you are lucky enough to search them.
They are what I call a "Twofer" treasure hunting situation, an opportunity to recover something good either flushed out of the eroded bank or something washed up and deposited against the eroded bank.
Two opportunities you can take advantage of when you know how to search an eroded river or beach bank.
I always like to search the face of any cut beach or river bank first, as you are often the first person ever to search the exposed layers, afterwards I search the from the base of the erosion to the waters edge looking for flushed out or washed in goodies.
The older the area and more history connected with the site, the more chance you have of detecting and recovering something old.
You can also recover good stuff long after the initial erosion took place if you know what to look for.
The back of the beach, river bank or dune line will often fill back in as if nothing had ever happened, but returning sand hardly ever makes it back up to the highest eroded levels. 
If you see roots dangling high up on the bank, check out the lower beach opposite at low tide.
The higher the eroded bank the better your chances are of recovering older jewelry, coins or artifacts.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Don't forget where you started

When you start heading somewhere searching with your metal detector at a beach, be sure to search in the opposite direction a little before leaving.
Treasure is often where you find it and many times I have found it just a little ways from where I first started searching, but in the opposite direction.
I have got that used to recovering good finds around starting out points that I now search a little in each direction before moving away from my starting out point. 
Im not a big fan of going for long walks on a beach, I prefer to grid an area out well instead of walking long distances hoping to stumble across coins, jewelry or artifacts.
If you saw a group of people metal detecting on a beach, I would be the one you see staying in the same search area.
One of the biggest mistakes a beach hunter can make is to assume things can only be found between point A and B in a straight line. 
For example, I often see beach hunters stop to scoop a target then continue searching along the same line, instead of spiraling around the recovery area before moving on.
I also see people walking onto a beach and almost immediately dig a first target before moving on towards where ever their intended beach turn around point is. 
The other persons initial dig site is often the place I start searching, but around not away from the site.
You could say I have the beach hunting competition show me a good place to start searching.
This is a trick I often do at Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches, heavily hunted sites that have very few targets to detect as they get hammered on a regular basis.
You can learn a lot about a beach watching the competition for ten minutes from a beach entrance. 
Where there is one thing you can find other things if you look hard enough.
I do the same at heavily hunted tourist beaches, by watching who is stopping to scoop what and where.
Nine times out of ten people will keep walking in a straight line after detecting and scooping a target.
I have recovered many pieces of Spanish silver just a few yards away from where other beach hunters had walked onto a beach or dug something in the same area but kept on walking.

Are you walking away from a good find?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Obstructions at the beach

I love searching close to obstructions on the beach as they often lead to good finds, a giant boulder, a washed up tree trunk or even a pier may be an obstruction that can lead to a good find.
Obstructions break up the natural movement of surf and sand, causing lost coins, jewelry or artifacts to end up in the slip stream of the obstruction.
Some of my best beach and water hunting finds have come out of areas with an obstruction on the beach or in the water.
I know my local beaches like the back of my hand, I also know where many obstructions are at every beach.
I use large movable pieces of iron as jewelry traps, knowing the average beach or water hunter will go around large iron objects on the beach and inside the water.
Every few weeks I will move my jewelry traps and search the place they probably stayed since the last time I moved them.
I study the way water moves across my local beaches, then search close to and around any obstructions looking to detect anything diverted by an obstruction.
At beaches where the high tide washes up to a concrete barrier (Wall or building foundation) it is very difficult to detect close to the concrete barrier.
At areas I know jewelry is lost, I will often change to a small search coil so I can detect closer to the wall.
I use my scoop to drag sand away from the base of a wall, beach hunting is not all about swinging a search coil sometimes you have to use other tools like a spade or a rake to help you ferret out good stuff close to obstructions at the beach.
Obstructions are just that to the majority of beach and water hunters, nuisances to go around. 
Obstructions on the beach and in the water help break up the natural movement of surf and sand.
In areas you are likely to recover jewelry, coins or old artifacts, obstructions become areas where the stuff you are searching for collect in numbers. 
Remember the more difficult an area of the beach is to detect, the more likely you are to find something.

There are three potential traps in this photo, the wooden bridge, tree branch and vegetation mid slope preventing stuff from being washed higher.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Expand your beach hunting horizons

On Saturday morning in south Florida I could go to any beach and see people I know search the same area all the time and you could probably say that about any heavily hunted beach in the world.
So why are many beach and water hunters so predictable searching the exact same area every time they go to the beach?
Perhaps they previously recovered something good in that area or know something good was recovered in that area, whatever the reason having a predictable beach hunting plan is not a formula for success at the beach using a metal detector.
If you only search the same one or two areas of a beach you miss out on so many beach or water hunting opportunities.
Regular readers of this blog will see me posting photos of items I have recovered from the beach in the past, referring to the place I recovered the item as "One of my favorite beach or water hunting sites" notice the word one.
I search a wide variety of beaches and an even wider variety of sites at those beaches so it is highly unlikely I will ever be referred to as that guy who is always searching there. 
The main reason I try other beaches is because I often find good stuff in the most unexpected areas, at beaches you would never expect to find anything let alone something good.
Another good reason to expand your horizons is when you do recover good stuff you are often the only person with a metal detector who knows about those production areas.
Dont get me wrong you often get skunked trying new beaches or different areas of those beaches, but when you do detect something good the rewards far outweigh the time wasted previously getting skunked.
It does not take very long before you compile a wide variety of productive areas to search.
Perhaps even putting a damper on further exploration, but in my opinion you can never have enough productive areas other people do not know about. 
I never give away any of my hard earned potentially productive sites, gained through research and time invested discovering the sites.
The next time you realize you always see the same person searching the same area every time you visit a beach, be thankful you have predictable beach or water hunters in your area.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Every inch counts using large search coils

I often see people swinging large search coils at the beach and I mean swinging! 
If you are going to use a large search coil for beach or water hunting you have to work on making sure you keep the large search coil low and level throughout the sweeping process. 
Search coil control is important if you want to take advantage of the extra target depth provided by the larger size coil.
If your metal detector balance is thrown out of whack by a heavy search coil, you may get sloppy struggling to maintain a level sweep. Large search coils are often heavier than the standard size coil that came with your metal detector. 
Using a metal detecting harness or a search coil stabilizer will help you from struggling with the extra weight and sweeping higher above the surface of the sand than normal, also the dreaded raising of the coil at the end of each sweep.
If you feel a metal detecting harness is too cumbersome, try using a sash type sling with a bungee cord attached from the sling to your metal detector shaft. 
This simple type of harness to distribute the weight of the metal detector is similar to what people using garden weed whackers or pressure washing poles use. 
Ground coverage is the main reason beach or water hunters use large search coils but in my opinion it should be about target depth and having the ability to detect targets at greater depths than the standard size search coil. 
Walking around with a large search coil several inches above the sand because you cannot control it often negates most of the extra target depth, having to lower the metal detector sensitivity to use the large search coil takes away the rest of any perceived depth advantage.
One pulse induction metal detector I had my eye on for a while has a large search coil mounted to the lower rod at the back of the search coil.
Every beach hunter I see using this metal detector has the front of the large search coil tilted up at the front, this put me off buying and using the metal detector.
Search coil control is very important to me and I know every inch quite often counts at the beach so I prefer to use search coils that mount towards the middle of the search coil.
Search coil control is probably why some beach or water hunters find stuff over ground covered by other people, especially when using the same type of metal detector.
When all things are equal metal detecting equipment wise, its the person with the better basic metal detecting skills including search coil control that has the advantage. 
A large search coil is only an advantage at the beach if it is swept level and very close to the sand.