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Sunday, June 16, 2019

How to find new beach and water hunting sites

Today I checked out a few metal detecting forums and beach report blogs that I used to post my old bobby dazzlers on, of course they still had the same old posters peddling the same old outdated beach and water hunting advice.
Even more surprisingly I saw the keyboard experts still tossing a few barbs in my direction, no wonder they haven't found anything good if they can't find the remote to change the channel lol 

Here are a few site research type tips that perhaps will help you to find new beach & water hunting sites to plunder. 

Postcard shows and collectors sites

If you ever see a postcard show / sales event advertised in your area you have got to buy a ticket and you will be sure to come away with new metal detecting sites.
Victorian postcards of beaches, lakes or rivers are fantastic leads to jewelry and coins for a beach or water hunter. 
I browse ebay sites searching for old postcards of Florida beaches and lakes, taking screen shots of interesting areas on old postcards without even having to buy the post card.

Library card 

Hands up who owns a library card? The local history section in your local library will have more potential beach & water hunting sites than you can handle if you take the time to walk thru the front door!

Talk to your neighbors

Yup if you take the time to chat to your elderly neighbors you will find they have some pretty good tales to tell you. Ive picked up many a beach or water hunting site from saying hello and chatting to old folks on my dog walks.
They don't have to be old people either, you never know what occupation your neighbors have that will help you to find coins or jewelry.
For example, one neighbor of mine is a lifeguard who hears lost jewelry stories on a regular basis, another is a beach condo manager who have a top floor office view of some of my favorite local jewelry hunting sites, giving me plenty of good beach and sea conditions reports.

Take the initiative 

Metal detecting forums, youtube videos and beach conditions bloggers lull you into spending more time looking at a laptop to phone screen than searching at the beach. 
Stop surfing the internet and get next to or into the real surf, any beach info you gain from a forum post, video or beach report already happened and was viewed by many beach or water hunters.
Live it and reap the rewards for being in the right place at the right time, kinda what the person you are following chose to do.

Check out the boring stuff 

If you get a local newspaper or you subscribe to the local fish wrapper online, check out the proposed building permit planning permission for excellent future beach hunting sites.
Beachside construction projects are fantastic opportunities to find old coins and jewelry lost 
way before current building or structures were in place next to the beach.
Proposed beach sidewalk and parking lot projects can also be gold or silver mines during the clearing process.

Follow the signs

Driving on roads next to the beach can be a little frustrating, especially if you are following tourists checking out sites or stop starting at every traffic light or pedestrian crossing you hit. 
Perhaps like many forum members or beach report bloggers you are on your way to that beach you always go to get the same old beach hunting results. 
I look at pedestrian crossings and traffic lights along beach road as potential new beach or water hunting sites, the more stop and starts along a beach road the better!
Small beach entry sites can be little gold mines in out of the way areas, even if they are not far away from larger well known beaches.

Have a movie night 

I live in the state of Florida where a lot of movies and TV shows were filmed with plenty of beach scenes. I love watching old movies and TV series that were shot in Florida, mainly for the information I can get from beach or beachside scenes.
Some of my favorite older pieces of jewelry and coins found in Florida were the result of information I got from freeze framing beach scenes shot in the 1950s, 60s,70s & 80s.
You'd be amazed how much beaches have changed in the last 70 years and what areas used to be the hot sites back in the day.
If you live in an area featured in movies and shows, put the popcorn in the microwave!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Gary Drayton beach and water hunting blog: Spoiler alert! hi tech scanning

Gary Drayton beach and water hunting blog: Spoiler alert! hi tech scanning: Site reading skills put you in position to detect what you are searching for, no matter what brand or model metal detector you use. I scope...

Spoiler alert! hi tech scanning

Site reading skills put you in position to detect what you are searching for, no matter what brand or model metal detector you use.
I scope any potential search site out first using my "Twin optical scanners" before turning on my metal detector.
To borrow a good phrase from a friend off mine, everything starts with eyes and boots on the ground.
No metal detector will find you as much good stuff as the hi tech optical equipment Mother Nature gave you.
Site reading skills involve being able to recognize certain ground conditions necessary to be successful and just as important being able to recognize significant surface finds associated with good sites.
For example, surface finds like small pottery shards, broken glass or clay pipe stems indicate that a site has seen habitation and most likely have detectable coins and artifacts.
Im fond of saying in order to find treasure you have to go thru the trash first, but you can only find treasure if you are able to recognize surface trash linked to what you hope to detect.
Another example, towels, items of clothing and alcohol containers left on the lower beach from the previous night, say please find my jewelry Gary.
Some of my best pieces of jewelry have been "Flip flop finds" the golden rewards for seeing a pair or two of humble flip flops left behind on the lower beach, knowing someone shouldn't have had a skinny dip opposite the hotel last night.
My twin optical scanners can also spot bum cheek impressions and foot prints in the sand left by courting couples when Im searching for lost jewelry at tourist beaches.
Im always looking down and around searching for clues to help me narrow down my search area, wether it be surface finds or surface features left behind by people in the search area.
Over the years I have eyeballed so many good metal detecting sites and recovered an unbelievable amount of surface finds, you can too if you take the time to look for things that stand out at sites.
Metal detecting isn't about covering ground and hoping to get lucky one day, learn how to improve your odds by eyeballing the non metallic stuff that leads you to what you hope to find with your metal detector.
The Victorian pot lid in this photo was just a little half inch piece of pottery I eyeballed on a river bank, it led to the discovery of a really productive bottle digging site.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Start and finish point finds

I often return to sites I previously had success at because I know I have a chance of recovering something good in the same general area.
There is usually one previous find that motivates me during the search and inspires me to keep hammering away because I know what can happen when everything comes together.
That everything coming together refers to using good metal detecting form in tight search patterns at sites selected because of beach or people reading skills.
Your start and finish points often come into play when you are searching an area, especially if you put all your allotted metal detecting time into searching in one area as I often do.  Ive found so many good things just as I started searching an area or just as I was about to leave an area.
I chalk the first target good finds down to site selection, the last target good finds down to learning from past experiences.
Because I have recovered so many good finds at my search pattern starting out and finishing points, I now actually leave a little extra time to make sure I search a few yards past these points.
Some people may call these type of finds lucky, but I don't like to rely on luck and class them as rewards for site reading skills and methodical search techniques.
I recovered this large gold ring on an Easter Sunday a few years ago, right at the end of a three hour water hunt in Florida, but it wasn't recovered from inside the water.

After three hours of methodically searching inside the water using a tight east to west directional search pattern, I did my usual last sweep of the perimeter of the search area.
The extra attention to search pattern detail helped me pull up the large gold and diamond ring from the wet sand down by the waters edge, an area I had ignored until just before leaving.
The gold ring was a fitting find for an Easter Sunday, perhaps even a sign from above lol 
If you want to get "Lucky" more often, always cover the area you first started searching away from or the area you are about to walk away from.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Metal detecting event take aways

I recently attended a metal detecting event in central Florida, meeting old friends and making new friends in this great hobby of ours.
The positive attitudes of the people attending the event really impressed me, from young kids to old timers everyone excited about the prospect of pulling something good up the next time out searching.  
I don't think you can beat having a positive attitude when it comes to metal detecting as you can have long periods between good finds, due to conditions or site selection. 
Over the years Ive had to deal with a lot of negativity, mostly associated with the incredible finds I recover which I put down to a case of the green eyed monsters.
I must admit I chuckle knowing the naysayers are rambling on about me and my finds instead of concentrating on their own searches. 
Heck I have to try hard to even think negative things to write because I am so full of positivity.
Whats not to like there are places to search and fantastic things waiting to be found, certainly no time to be fretting over peoples good fortune. 
The people at the event I got to shake hands with and chat to, told me they attended the event because they hoped to learn something new or win a metal detector in the raffle.
I was also pleasantly surprised how much site research people told me they were doing, along with testing targets to see the capabilities of their chosen metal detector.
These are two very positive things to do if you are going to have success at metal detecting.
Another positive thing I picked up on was people going metal detecting regardless of the conditions and being willing to try new sites, after all isn't that how undiscovered sites are discovered? 
Waiting around for good detecting conditions or hitting the same area every time you go detecting very seldom bring positive results. 
Following fluffy advice from negative people in the hobby with no finds behind their name is not a good beach or inland treasure hunting strategy either.
I love the positivity I witnessed at the recent metal detecting event and especially from the rookies.
A beginners positive attitude and untethered search agenda will often lead to "Beginners luck" something I try to duplicate every time I walk onto a site with a metal detector.
Be a positive treasure hunter, your going to go search because you always have a chance of finding something good in the next hole.
In previous years this would be the part of the blog where I insert a photo of a ridiculously expensive piece of platinum or gold jewelry, but as former US president George H. W. Bush would say "Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent"  
Stay positive my metal detecting friends and let your finds do the talking!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Beach hunting ergonomics

All the metal detecting gear I use for beach and water hunting was chosen with ergonomics in mind.
I use lightweight metal detecting equipment whenever possible, but if I have to use heavier gear I make sure it is well balanced.
There is nothing worse than not being able to search during prime beach hunting times because you have a bad back or tennis elbow caused by using heavy or awkward metal detecting equipment.
I often see people using heavy or awkward metal detecting equipment at my favorite Spanish treasure hunting beaches, places you have to put serious hours in to get lucky at.
Lugging a heavy unbalanced metal detector around without a metal detecting harness will effect your search coil sweeping motion, leading to poor ground coverage and of course an aching back, shoulders or arms.
Earlier in the week I saw a guy struggling using a heavy metal detector with a search coil mounted at the rear of the search coil, the front of the search coil was tilted up as he struggled to hold and sweep the heavy metal detector.
If you must use a heavy metal detector make sure you use a metal detecting harness to help you maintain the search coil in a level position thru out the sweeping motion.
A straight shaft can also help distribute weight and balance a metal detector, assuming your metal detector can be mounted on a straight shaft.
I also see a lot of scoops with small handles, why bend down to scoop every time when it is better to use a long handled scoop saving time and energy during the target recovery process at the beach.
Sometimes your choice of search coil can be a problem, why use a large and often heavier search coil if it is throwing the balance of your metal detector off.
Using a large heavy search coil for an extended time at the beach will lead to aches and pains and eventually time off recuperating backs, shoulders or elbows.
Using and maintaining a good metal detecting technique is essential for a beach hunter trying to cover a lot of ground so ergonomics are important.
Lightweight or well balanced heavier metal detecting equipment help you cover ground effortlessly  and help prevent bad backs and other aches and pains that can keep you away from the beach.
The heaviest metal detectors and search coils are often advertised as the deepest metal detectors or search coils, but what good is target depth if you negate any advantage using poor metal detecting technique caused by struggling to use the heavier gear.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The edge of detection range

I often talk about how the majority of my best beach and water hunting finds were recovered within the first six inches of sand, but I do detect and recover many cracking finds on the edge of detection range.
The edge of detection range varies with the type of metal detector and the size search coil being used, also the matrix the detected target has been detected in.
A slow methodical approach to beach hunting will help you to detect targets on the edge of your metal detector depth range, giving you a chance to actually hear an often "Iffy" target response at depth.
The slower you sweep your search coil the better a deep target on the edge of detection range will respond.
Keeping your search coil close to the sand will insure you have a chance of detecting "Deepies" in the first place. 
If you swing a 10 inch search coil four inches above the sand you will only detect targets six inches below the sand, every inch you swing your coil above the sand is one inch less you are able to detect metals below the deck.
Walking and sweeping slow and low along the beach is the only way to experience the thrill of pulling up valuable targets from the edge of detection range. 
If you search tourist beaches the big mamma jammer gold rings you are searching for are probably going to be recovered from deeper layers of sand. 
At shipwreck beaches old coins and artifacts are often way down in older layers of sand, shell or rocks.
These two old Spanish buckles from the 1700s were recovered two full moons apart using a pulse induction metal detector at a Treasure Coast beach, the signal responses from both artifacts were a break in my metal detector threshold. 
Check out the hand file marks on the one buckle and the pin still attached to the other, I love me some Spanish buckles!

A slight drop or break in a metal detector back ground noise can easily be a deep target, a slight tick of a signal from one direction can also be a deep target.
Whatever the deep target you are not going to hear it unless you are traveling across the beach slowly and sweeping your search coil low and slow.
Targets on the edge of detection range they are often difficult for a discriminating VLF metal detector to identify, the better the VLF metal detector the better the discrimination features.
Unfortunately most VLF metal detectors will classify a target on the edge of detection as junk, giving wonky FE/CO number readouts, bouncy target cursors or other incorrect VDI target IDs on popular VLF metal detectors. 
There are many things to learn about beach hunting, understanding how targets on the edge of detection range respond and what they could possibly be comes with experience.
The first step towards being able to detect high value "Deepies" is always getting to know your metal detector really well, using good search techniques and being able to identify easy to detect targets.
Once using your favorite metal detector and identifying targets within detection range becomes second nature, you'll be better prepared to understand the nuances of targets on the edge of detection range.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Average is good enough at the beach

I always have the word average on my mind when I step onto a beach with a metal detector, especially at heavily hunted beaches I know are hit hard and often.
Recently I searched a local tourist that had five guys searching it with metal detectors, two pairs and a single guy.
I regularly see people searching with hunting buddies, or fifty percenters as I like to call them as that is what you end up finding if you take someone with you metal detecting.
Pirate Gary prefers going home with 100% of whatever is it is Im searching for at the sites I choose.
Most people would be discouraged after paying for parking, walking down to the beach and seeing people already searching the beach, but I always play the percentages when searching for lost jewelry.
I figure the average person into metal detecting will go to the same place every time they hit a local beach, the average person losing jewelry will not have a clue where they lost it and the average piece of jewelry will be recovered 3-6 inches deep from the sand.
Like rain man Raymond in a Las Vegas casino my mind is going over all the averages and figuring out how to put myself in the best place to recover what Im searching for.
Any so called competition already searching the site helps decide where you are now going to search, surprisingly putting you in a place you perhaps wouldn't have chosen to search first but often putting you in position to find something good.
If that was the competitions first choice of search area it is often many other peoples first choice to search using metal detectors.
Once detecting I go for the easy stuff, jewelry I know from experience I don't have to dig half way to china to recover.
My average beach hunt is 2-4 hours so I cut out wasting time digging junk, concentrating on recovering targets that are two way repeatable signals.
The average chance of recovering one good find after digging 100 iffy signals is not very good, does it happen sure but I am at the beach to make the most of my average beach hunting time.
I have more chance of getting to something good digging two way repeatable targets.
The average size search coil I prefer to use on my metal detector insure I have an average chance of recovering a wide variety of sized targets at average depths.
See how this word "Average" keeps popping up? but I assure you there is nothing average about the finds you can recover playing the averages at the beach using a metal detector.
The law of averages is an often overlooked factor to a beach hunter, but in my opinion its a factor that works when dealing with the dynamics of beach hunting.
Tides, beach conditions, weather, people (depositors) and competition, all make the beach bank an interesting place to find something anywhere at any time.
Average days during average conditions in average areas are when you find above average finds when you think outside the beach hunting box.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Bogged down at the beach

I love getting bogged down detecting and retrieving the same type of target in one area, scooping things that drive you nuts to the point of knowing its probably the next thing your going to see in your scoop basket or spoil pile as you drop a spade full of dirt.
It takes will power to stay searching in an area that is littered with one particular target, for example corroding pennies, pull tabs, bottle caps or small iron. 
This year Ive posted a few finds from recent beach hunts, if you follow my posts you may have noticed I often post multiple Spanish silver treasure coins from shipwreck beaches or multiple gold rings from tourist beaches.
One reason for some of my gold jewelry hunting success this year is staying the course at nuisance target rich areas, getting bogged down digging unwanted junk until I found what I am searching for.
If an area is frustrating to search because of pull tabs, bottle caps or pennies, you can be sure nine out of ten regular regular beach hunters skimp over the same area.
Im the 1% that puts up with the pain of knowing the next target is probably going to be the same thing.
The reason I allow myself to be bogged down is because of the natural sifting, sorting and placement of objects in tidal areas. 
Objects of the same size, shape and density often end up in the same area at beaches, especially on the lower beach and inside the water. 
If what you are searching for at the beach has the same size, shape or density as a ring pull, crusty coin, lead fishing weight,  or squashed tin can then you have a chance of detecting what you'd really like to find in the same area. 
Ive seen things in the bottom of my scoop this year that I expected to be another ring pull, another corroding coin or another tin can, instead they were spectacular finds followed by the statement thank god I didn't walk away. 
When you know what goodies your sites are capable of producing, don't let nuisance targets fool you.
If you use and rely on a metal detector VDI screen, remember its just a potentiometer and it can be fooled just like you can before you look in your scoop basket.
I love getting bogged down digging at my favorite sites because sometimes its really nice being wrong no matter how experienced you are, another squashed beer can perhaps not?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Performance is everything

For a beach treasure hunter there is no better time to go metal detecting than after beach erosion has taken place, a prime beach hunting opportunity if you have the equipment to take advantage of the situation.
Leaving home with excellent beach hunting conditions ahead is when you grab your go to metal detector, when your choice of metal detector is put to the test.
Over the years I have been able turn metal detecting finds into metal detecting equipment, insuring I have the right metal detector to detect the different types of treasure I search for.
Searching for old coins and artifacts at shipwreck sites or modern jewelry at tourist beaches, I use a metal detector that gives me the best chance of detecting what I am searching for at the chosen site.
After recent high surf gave me an opportunity to search a cut (Eroded) Treasure Coast beach, I relied on my trusty Minelab CTX 3030 to sniff out three hundred year old silver treasure coins at a Spanish 1715 fleet wreck beach.
Five silver reales and three musket balls, some of these finds were detected following other people already searching the heavily hunted site.

This just goes to show that you don't have to be the first person searching the beach to be successful.
When the sand hits the fan I know I can rely on my Minelab CTX 3030,  just like I can using other Minelab metal detectors in my beach hunting arsenal.
Performance is everything when duking it out with the competition at heavily hunted beaches, never having to worry about saltwater or black sand effecting your metal detector is always a huge advantage.
You cannot detect what you cannot hear using a chattery metal detector and a prime beach hunting situation just isn't the place to find out you are using under performing equipment.
When the wind is howling and the waves are whipping I don't have to think twice about what metal detector is going beach hunting with me.
When searching eroded beaches and expecting a little competition, I leave nothing to chance by taking a metal detector I can rely on to perform the best.
Another one of my favorite metal detectors is the Minelab Excalibur, my go to choice for water hunting at tourist beaches searching for modern jewelry.
When beaches are eroded the sand along with coins and jewelry are washed into the water, after the waves subside you can get the goodies washed into the water opposite.
Performance is everything in the water too, these four pieces of gold jewelry along with several pieces of silver and junk jewelry were recovered using my trusty Excalibur.

Beach & water hunting happiness is knowing when the conditions are favorable for finding, you don't have to worry about your choice of metal detector being up to the challenge.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Shifting sands

While showing a friend a nice diamond ring recently I was reminded how coin and jewelry hunting at the beach is a game of inches. 
Several years ago I was searching a local tourist beach when a distraught young lady asked me if I could find a really nice diamond ring she had the misfortune to lose in the same area the previous day. 
The lady was laying in the wet sand when an incoming wave washed the ring off her finger, after quickly stepping on the ring to stop it from being dragged down into the water another wave washed over the area and the ring was lost. 
After taking the time of day and the previous tide times into consideration I performed a methodical search of the slope on the lower beach, but to my surprise I could not detect the $5000.00 diamond engagement ring. 
The lady thanked me for trying to recover the ring on the lower beach, an approximately one hour tight pattern search of the wet sand and the shallow water opposite the area.
I was told no worries as the ring was bought the previous day on a credit card and her fiancé had already filed an insurance claim before returning to Europe later that day.
I was given a detailed description of the ring and I was gutted they had to fly back to Europe without their engagement ring, but at least they were going to get their money back.
The only explanations I could think of for not being able to recover the ring was perhaps another beach hunter had detected the ring or really high surf from the previous high tide has washed the ring into deeper water.
Three weeks later after getting a sweet signal I pulled the diamond engagement ring out of the sand in the exact spot where I had first tried to detect the bobby dazzler.
I now believe the lady pushed the ring deeper into the wet sand when the ring was stepped  on to prevent the next wave from washing it away, more sand was probably pushed over the area with the rough surf from the following high tide.
Add foot traffic from the many tourists walking along the wet sand at this popular beach and it is easy to understand how quickly a lost ring can disappear.
You may have to wait several tide cycles like I did for lost jewelry to come into detection range.
I have had similar experiences at shipwreck beaches searching for Spanish treasure coins and artifacts, nothing one day but the next day in the very same area I recover treasure.
All it takes is one or two inches of sand to be washed away from an area for the beach bank to be open for business.
Get in the habit of using permanent objects at the beach as sand level markers, especially objects on the lower beach such as pilings or large rocks.
You can gauge how much sand is on the lower beach and how much has to be taken away to improve your chances of recovering coins, jewelry or artifacts lost in the area.
The first thing I look for when checking out a beach I haven't searched in a while is my sand level markers because they tell me how far away my search coil is from deeper and firmer layers of sand more likely to trap valuable targets in place.
Sand higher up on beach markers normally only contain lost items washed into the area, more sand than good materials.
If you are a beach hunter, when its your time to find something good it is almost always when you are sweeping your search coil over less sand. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Hitting the beach or the keyboard

Its that time of the year when beach hunters looks back at finds from the previous year and set goals or expectations for the new year.
Beach hunters who post finds on metal detecting forums and blogs usually show year end totals and first finds of the new year, Im not into metal detecting forums but I will browse this time of the year to see what people in areas I search have recovered.
This is a perfect lead into one of todays basic beach hunting principles, the less time you spend taking and downloading photos/videos and posting on metal detecting forums and social media sites the more chance you have of going to the beach and actually finding something good using your metal detector.
You may have noticed I posted fewer blogs last year, the reason was because I spent so much time using my metal detector instead of a keyboard.
I also cut back on making and posting youtube videos as it was too time consuming for me, I found myself spending a lot of time editing, posting and replying to comments.
I could have been at the beach finding gold in the time I spent going over the previous hunt, also it was really tough editing out shots of the background that gave away some of my favorite beach and water hunting sites.
Post finds on metal detecting forums, reply to comments and you will see how easy it is to miss the big beach hunting picture that you only find stuff when you are at the beach.
Every type of metal detector, search coil and target ID numbers question takes time to respond to if you like posting your metal detecting finds online.
The same applies to cranky old bloggers and forum members posting smack about me, I love it as every sentence wasted on me at the keyboard is time they could have spent metal detecting and finding stuff at the beach.
Talking about wasted time and beach hunting opportunities, don't get caught out waiting for second hand beach reports a round about way of waiting for good beach hunting conditions.
Good beach hunting window of opportunities are often only open one or two tide cycles, reading about them probably means you already missed the opportunity.
Surf projections and tide tables will almost inevitably cause you to miss valuable finds, in my opinion it is what it is when you get to the beach to search with your metal detector.
Wait for low tide or higher surf to erode beaches and someone like me who does not follow outdated beach hunting forum or blogger advice will have beaten you to what you hope to find.
In my opinion the best use of a keyboard for a beach or water hunter is to research new areas to search because the next best thing to metal detecting is finding new places to metal detect.