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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.