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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hidden in plain sight

This year I have found some pretty cool things in the most unexpected areas and I have crossed two things off my metal detecting bucket list.
What this year has taught me is to never overlook anywhere just because I have more success in other areas I know to be more productive.
I go on about beginners luck and trying to think like a newbie to perhaps get some beginners luck.
People new to metal detecting with few beach reading skills are less inclined to head directly to a good looking spot before turning on their metal detector.
An experienced beach hunter may think a beach hunting newbie is wasting their time searching a certain area but I never do, you can detect and recover something of value anywhere on the beach.
On a recent shallow water hunt I was not detecting any targets, two newbies on the lower beach were detecting and digging their butts off in an area I would not have bothered to search.
After seeing the two newbies walking away from the area I quickly went to the spot they were busy digging targets at, its a pity they were not using deeper metal detectors because the good stuff was deeper down in the mushy sand.
Earlier in the year a similar thing happened way up in the dry sand at the top of the beach, you just never know unless you get outside your comfort zone by searching iffy looking sites.
It is surprised to know what good stuff is hidden in plain sight, if you just give areas a once over.
Hey even if you do not find anything in an area you would ignore 99% of the time, at least you can say you have ruled it out.
In fact beach hunting is often about covering ground and ruling areas out, when I consider the beaches to be sanded-in or not looking good, I spend my time wisely trying areas I know darn well are not going to be productive.
But.... every once in a while you are proven wrong and detect something awesome.
Something that makes you wish you had searched the area before or sooner, which has happened to me  a few times this year.
Are you overlooking areas like everyone else?



Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good or bad beach hunting signs?

On a recent search at a heavily hunted tourist beach I saw both good and bad beach hunting signs. 
Little signs that at first may not appear significant, but they can and often do have an outcome on your beach hunts.
The beach I went looking for tourist jewelry at is searched 24/7 by beach and water hunters at night using headlamps, but you can still find gold if you know what you are doing.
I am an area searcher, meaning I look for an area of the beach I believe has the signs to be productive, instead of trying to cover the whole beach relying on luck.
One of the ways I know I have found a promising area to pound is by the coins I detect.
Coins coming out the sand can tell you a lot about an area, especially at a heavily hunted tourist beach.
For example a US quarter, checking out the condition of it and determining if it is a “Fresh drop” or not.  
A quarter is a sizable target and if more than one unrelated quarter is detected in an area it tells me to hang around. If undetected large denomination coins are in an area what else is there? 
You would have to be a very sloppy beach hunter to miss several easy to detect quarters in an area.
Nickels are always a good sign in numbers because they sound good and respond with gold like numbers on all metal detectors with VDI screens. 
The cent isn’t just a nuisance target when detected in high numbers. Two or three humble US cents can easily mask a solitaire diamond ring, even when you sweep a search coil very slowly across the area.
Swap that diamond ring out for a large 10K class ring and I double dare the average beach or water to hear the gold ring between the stinking Lincoln cent. 
The same applies to three or four unrelated dimes in an area, they mask good targets.
Whenever I find a quarter, nickel, dime or cent, I need another coin in the area to help me identify if they are fresh dropped recent losses or unrelated coins.
The condition of different coins in an area help me to do that, an obvious pocket spill is not as good as coins I deem to be lost over time.
Even the grouping of coins in an area tell you something, quarters and nickels detected in close proximity get my toes tingling ! 
They would not be in an area at a heavily hunted tourist beach if the area had been searched thoroughly.
My last two tourist beach hunts in areas with quarters and dimes have coughed up gold, instead of walking in a straight line away from the area like others do, I spiraled and pounded and eventually found gold.
Coins detected at tourist beaches can and often do tell a story if you connect the dots.
The odd coin can be a bad sign, but when they have friends in the same area they are often a sign of good things to come.



Saturday, July 7, 2018

What and where in the comfort zone

I have been in the beach hunting comfort zone for a very long time, thanks to metal detecting equipment choices I made a very long time ago.
Without doubt one of the most difficult decisions anyone getting into beach hunting must eventually get right is what gear are you going to use.
More to the point what metal detector are you comfortable using and relying on to get the job done.
Im a big fan of using Minelab metal detectors because I feel comfortable using them and I can rely on them to detect the stuff I am searching for at the beaches I search.
The two things I mainly search for are small silver Spanish treasure coins on remote shipwreck beaches and fine gold jewelry at modern tourist beaches, so I use metal detectors that can detect both of these type of metals at saltwater beaches. 
Although I say Im in the beach hunting comfort zone when it comes to the metal detectors I use, I do try and test other metal detectors when I get an opportunity.
When I meet other people metal detecting at the beach I always try to get a sense of how and why they are using their metal detector.
Old timers like myself tend to stay loyal to one or two metal detectors that are tried and trusted, happy and content in the beach hunting comfort zone knowing if its out there Im detecting it!
Here is the beef in todays beach hunting sandwich, if you know a veteran local beach hunter known for finds instead of subscribers and detecting forum posts, you may want to check out what metal detector they use.
The best responses from people I meet at the beach as to why they are using a certain metal detector always begin with I feel comfortable using it and its the right fit for me.
Im still trying to get used to it and Im still trying to get past the learning curve are red flags, especially from people who have been beach hunting a while and should know better.
If your new to beach hunting, research is the key to choosing a metal detector you will be comfortable using.
Why you choose to use a type of metal detector should always be because of the what and where from your research. 





Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Searching after crowded beach events

The beaches are going to be crowded this 4th of July presenting an ideal opportunity to detect something good, if you know how to make the most of your metal detecting time after the festivities have ended.
Beaches are littered with sprinkler wires and trash the morning after firework displays so don’t be afraid to turn the discrimination setting up a notch to suit the temporary trashy beach hunting conditions.
Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be the first person at the beach using a metal detector to find good stuff lost after a crowded beach event.
All you have to do is take your time and cover the area you to choose to search methodically.
Trying to cover the whole beach before other detecting dudes show up will guarantee you go home empty handed unless you are extremely lucky.
Hit prime beach hunting areas hard and slow, have a back up area of the beach in mind just in case you decide to stay searching longer.
Before I hit the beach I plan ahead to see where beach and street closures are going to take place, so I know where to park and when I can get on certain areas of the beach.
I never drive to the beach after the festivities on a beach have just ended, too much traffic and too many potential drunk drivers around for my liking.
Sometimes you are better off letting the beach cleaning crews do their work before hitting the beach, it just depends on the amount of metal detecting competition you have at your local beach.
After a music event at a beach last year I did not get to the beach until mid morning, the beach was still littered with fast food wrappers and beer cans.
Just as bad was crater like holes in the sand, left behind by a small army of beach hunters who search the popular tourist beach.
Figuring I know how the competition like to race around trying to cover the whole beach I would take my time and work one prime area opposite the beach entrance.
Using my foot to sweep cans and fast food wrappers to one side, I saw the glint of a gold reflecting in the morning sun before detecting a superb 18K gold rope chain with a one ounce gold krugerrand pendant.
I wonder how many people using metal detectors detected the beer cans on top of the sand or walked around them before dawn. 
The bigger the beach event the more packed a beach is, making the beach the place to search for lost jewelry and coins.
Freshly lost jewelry and coins are not going to be very deep so you can use your target depth gauge to help you cover ground more efficiently, knowing any deep targets are not worth digging on a post beach event hunt.
I also prefer using a VLF metal detector with a VDI screen on these type of beach hunts to avoid digging ferrous (Iron) trash and undesirable non ferrous objects.
Keep your eyes peeled for surface finds such as sunglasses and paper money, jewelry if you are lucky! 
Searching after large gatherings at the beach remind me of searching after coastal storms, a chance to hit areas you know to be previously productive and recover something good because of the area.
Where are you going to search when the crowds leave the beach?  
You could search on the fly but it is better to have a plan ahead of time and stick with it in my opinion.
Pick a high beach traffic area or two and be a discriminating beach hunter, cover the areas you’ve planned to search for high priority targets you are really trying to detect and recover.      
Crowded independence beaches are great opportunities to find something good for a beach hunter, but I always spare a thought for the people who’s celebration turned to disappointment after losing something they valued.
I always check the local newspaper  “ Lost” notices and Craigslist for a chance to keep the Karma rolling with a happy return story.




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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.