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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!