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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!

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.