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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How to avoid a finds drought

Ever wondered why some treasure hunters always seem to be in the right place at the right time, it’s because they go to the right places! 
Treasure is often found where you least expect to find it so if you only search one or two areas all the time don’t be surprised if you go home empty handed.
The number one mistake people new to the hobby make is copying what they see other beach hunters doing, mainly going to the same site or area as many times as possible.
It’s been a while since I have travelled to a few beaches out of my area, but I can guarantee if I showed up today at those beaches I would see the same faces searching the same main areas at those beaches.
You have to be careful you dont go from being the master of your local beach to the slave of your local beach.
Beaches are constantly changing sometimes overnight when the conditions are just right, but you won’t know if you only go to the same beach, same area, same time every opportunity you get to go beach hunting.
The wider variety of beaches or areas of the beach you search the wider variety of finds you will recover, you will also recover more stuff often because other areas are not metal detected as frequently. 
Getting back to the right places from the start of today’s blog, if you don’t actively make a point of searching new areas you end up being at one place all the time which is not a good beach hunting strategy even at the busiest of beaches. 
I occasionally check out metal detecting forums with regular posters who live in attractive areas to search, from beaches known for old shipwrecks to tourist beaches packed with vacationers.
Most posts start with “I headed to my usual spot” and many end in I haven’t found anything in a while, blaming competition or conditions for a lack of finds.
It’s no coincidence that many of the successful posts start with “I decided to try somewhere different” and end in a tale of a good recovery.
Putting yourself in the right place to have success as a beach hunter is easy when you search a wide variety of areas.
The next time you see a familiar face searching the same area think about all the places you    are going to search before you see that person again.
Contrary to what you read on metal detecting blogs and forums, it’s not how much time you spend metal detecting it’s where you decide to spend the time searching. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Storm beach hunting tips

Here are a few beach hunting tips for people who live in areas effected by hurricanes, tropical storms or other strong coastal storms.
My number one rule of searching on beaches after storms is safety first, especially in areas with downed power lines or flooding as no amount of treasure is worth getting injured for or worse !
You can often find good stuff many weeks or even months after major beach erosion has taken place.
Assuming you can get to a beach it is best to be prepared for anything by taking extra clothing, snacks, water and don’t forget the spare metal detector batteries.
If you have a back up metal detector with s different size search coil, take it just in case you need it.
After a storm had impacted a coastline you should expect the best and plan for an excellent beach hunting situation.
If the beach hunting conditions are excellent you want to take advantage of them for as long as you possibly can, believe me I wish I would have stayed longer on several memorable searches after major storms.
One thing I also do is stay put when I am finding what I am searching for or at least detecting targets associated with the targets I hope to find.
The grass often looks greener but I never take a chance by leaving a potentially good area, as sometimes all you have is one or two incoming tides worth of time to clean a good eroded stretch of beach out.
I also stay the heck off social media sites and metal detecting forums, you won’t catch me posting photos of beach erosion and alerting other pirates to a good site I have discovered and in the process of searching.
I remember several occasions when I did not find anything good on the first day of searching an eroded beach but the next day came away with several great finds.
Good stuff washed off the beach often washes back in on the next high tides when a beach generally begins to fill in.
My preferred method of searching a “Cut” eroded beach is to go for the easy to detect shallow non ferrous targets first then dig everything on a second sweep of the cut if I deem it necessary.
In other words use a little discrimination searching for high value targets then go for any high value targets masked by the removed junk on the second search.
Searching eroded beaches is all about making the most of the short window of opportunity Mother Nature presents to a beach hunter.
When the wind and waves subside check out the shallow water close to shore for good stuff washed into the water from the beach.
You may get lucky and discover holes or troughs inside the water caused by the surf pounding the coastline from different angles.
Remember safety first, bring extra gear and make the most of the beach and shallow water hunting opportunities.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Weekend beach hunting tips

Here are a few tips from my “Hardcore Beach Hunting” book to hopefully help you to find what you are searching for this holiday weekend.


Avoid racing to the beach early Saturday morning if you are trying to take advantage of weekend crowds at the beach.  
I know it’s tempting if you are a weekend warrior but patience is a virtue when you are dealing with tourist type beaches.
Head to the beach on Saturday afternoon or evening or better still wait until Sunday before you go metal detecting. Sunday evening would be the best time to search after two busy days of beach activity.

Traveling to detect

If you live within reach of several beaches but you only have a few hours to metal detect, hit the nearest crowded beach instead of traveling long distances to detect big name beaches. 
You cannot find jewelry and coins sitting behind a steering wheel unless they belong to you. 

Be ready for anything 

Spare batteries, a search coil, digging tool or metal detector will insure equipment failures do not ruin your chances of finding something good this weekend.
I think like Noah and take two of everything, just in case it goes pear shaped or I end up staying longer than expected.

Plan ahead 

I always plan to hit two beach hunting sites with two different intended parking spots.
If the site I had planned to search first does not look very promising I can quickly move on to the back up site.
I also keep an eye on local beach cams towards the end of the week to help me identify crowded sections of the beach. 
If I have to search on the Saturday at least I know where people may have lost jewelry before the weekend.

What competition?

If the site is already being searched take the area not being searched or follow the other searcher or searchers. 
You never know what the beach hunting gods have in store for you. 
I have recovered so much good stuff following other people using metal detectors or from areas I perhaps would not have chosen to. 

Don’t miss the forest for the trees

The weekend is a great time to see where people crowd or congregate on the beach and in the water close to shore.
 More than likely you can see where to search the next time you hit the same beach.
People watching is one of my favorite site reading skills, I see what groups are more likely to lose what and where. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The 10K gold cut off line

10 K gold is the reason why I barely use any discrimination on my metal detectors when beach or shallow water hunting.
You may be surprised to know the low metal detector discrimination setting that jewelry made of 10K gold is not detected at.
My books are full of 18K gold ring keepers dripping in diamonds I have recovered from the beach and Davy Jones locker, but it’s the 10K gold that moves the scrap gold scales and helps fund the pirate lifestyle. 
Often the largest gold rings and gold chains are made of 10K gold, so you better make sure you are not using too much metal detector discrimination.
In my opinion bottle caps are the main reason beach hunters walk over large 10K gold jewelry without detecting it, if you raise your discrimination level to reject bottle caps at trashy beach sites you will probably miss a lot of 10K gold jewelry.
Use a metal detector discrimination level that helps break up the audio response from a bottle cap but a setting that does not totally reject the bottle cap audio response.
A pesky nuisance target like a bottle cap will be easier to identify when detected and you will not have to worry about missing 10K jewelry.
A couple of years ago I recovered nine ounces of gold over a two day period at a local beach after beach erosion, many of the 10K gold pieces of jewelry were heavily encrusted in sand.
Encrusted 10K gold jewelry is easily missed if you raise your metal detector discrimination setting or rejected certain VDI screen numbers to avoid bottle caps.
When I test a VLF metal detector I always want to see where the different cut off lines for gold jewelry are, 10K gold is always the first gold to be rejected followed by 14K and 18K gold if you try rejecting aluminum pull tabs.
I actually like hearing trash targets at the beach because I can yell the difference between good and bad targets, but if you cannot hear the bad targets you are surely not going to hear good targets.
At trashy tourist type beaches use the minimum amount of discrimination you need to identify bottle caps, any more and you can kiss 10K gold jewelry goodbye no matter how large it may be.
When you find the sweet bottle cap discrimination spot you will find the big gold.
Telling the difference between a bottle cap and a gold chain helps you avoid having to dig bottle caps, telling the difference between a pull tab and a gold ring in five feet of water comes with experience.
In case your wondering, I hear the difference between the shape of the pull tab and the gold ring.
Lay off the discrimination even in trashy areas by using just enough to help you avoid missing 10K gold, often the gold jewelry with the higher amount of alloys in the mix when it’s made into something bigger.