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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Patience is a beach treasure hunting virtue

I am making the most of my computer time before hurricane Irma hits fortress Drayton cutting off power, and you know darn well I am checking out beach cams and news reports from the beach.
Probably wishful thinking as the beaches are in evacuation zones and we are under a curfew this afternoon. I have replied to a ton of when is the best times to search after a hurricane and what is the best metal detector to use questions, although our house and family is my top priority and beach hunting is a distant second. 
However my toes are tingling at the prospect of getting through this powerful storm and getting back to the beaches.
Watching TV news beach reports I have seen people already on beaches metal detecting as tropical storm force winds from feeder bands are moving across our area, but you will not see me out there yet for obvious reasons including I know better lol 
Some of my best finds have come after coastal storms have eroded beaches, many weeks or even months afterwards. 
Believe me, you don't have to be out on the beach during the storm or be one of the first people to hit the beach after the storm to find good stuff.
Hit the beaches when it is safe to do so and go with your gut feeling as far as the best place you are likely to detect what you are searching for.
I am partial to old stuff, so I will be hitting the best areas I know in search of older coins and jewelry. 
Beaches close to home, as traveling to and from distant beaches is a waste of metal detecting time and precious gas in the current situation. 
From previous experiences beach hunting after storms, I know I will be using a VLF metal detector and a little discrimination.
Digging everything on a ripped apart beach is no fun, think target separation over target depth. 
When conditions settle down and it is possible to get to more beaches, you should be able to do well many weeks after a storm, one of the perks of being a beach hunter who tries different beaches.
The more time that has passed after the storm, the more digging everything using an all metal search mode is the way to go, depending on the site.
Water hunting may be the best option at many beaches long after a storm has passed, this is where beach and water reading skills come into play.
This 5 ounce chunk of Spanish 17th century religious silver came off a Florida beach a full month after a hurricane, probably because it was a good hundred yards past everyones turn around point. 

Patience is a virtue when searching after a coastal storm, wait until it is safe to hit the beach then hammer areas you hope have opened up. 
If you are going to hit the same place everyone else is hitting, you better be a good beach hunter.
Although, patience can be a virtue at the most heavily hunted beach if you take your time and cover the sand instead of the whole beach. 
Its not who gets to the beach metal detecting first after a storm, its where you go and why!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Everyones favorite metal detector

You really find out just how much you like and I suppose depend on a certain metal detector when you have a perfect metal detecting opportunity.  
What would you put in your suitcase to go search a dream site, or use when a perfect treasure hunting scenario is ahead of you.
I know what metal detector I would use, a reliable one I know like the back of my hand. 
Although I have used a few metal detectors over the years, I rarely move away away from the type of metal detector I have become comfortable using.
I look at a metal detector as an important tool for beach and water hunting, but not something that is going to set me apart from other beach or water hunters, its just a metal detector. 
A lot of thought, practice and testing went into my choice of metal detector, it does all the things I want it to do so I can have a successful outing and just as importantly it detects the things I am searching for.
Im the operator and I use my metal detector to help me detect metal objects in the areas I like to search.
Site selection, site reading and search techniques make sure your choice of metal detector detects the stuff you would like to find.
Your choice of metal detector is important, but unfortunately you only find out what metal detector is best for you after you figure out what you are searching for in the areas you search.
In my opinion, metal detectors are just a tool and a craftsman must select  the right tool for the right job. 
I remember a friend and wise man Stu Auerbach once telling me to start off with "In my opinion" when talking about metal detectors to metal detecting folk as people are passionate about their favorite metal detectors.
I go one step further by not mentioning what favorite metal detector I always put in the suitcase.
If you have a favorite, you probably know what Im talking about.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Are you really digging it all ?

I use every trick in the book to recover good targets at productive but trashy sites, places where a good target can easily go undetected if you are not careful.
The double whammy of both iron and target masking may cause you to walk away from a find of a lifetime in trashy areas if you are not careful. 
I only dig everything when I know it is worth digging everything in a trashy area, meaning I know from previous experience the site holds what I am searching for.
In my opinion, site selection, pinpointing, target sizing and target recognition skills overcome trashy sites containing good stuff.  
When I hammer a trashy site, I hammer it hard making sure I recover as many targets as possible. 
From experience I know the more ferrous and non ferrous metal objects I pull out the area, the more likely I am to find something good being masked by iron or larger non iron objects.
I actually rely on both iron and target masking at my favorite trashy sites, as they put other people metal detecting off the scent. 
Good trashy sites are where your pinpointing, target sizing and target recognition skills come into play.
What use are they if you are digging everything you may ask, my answer would be because they help make sure you do not miss anything. 
So too will understanding that a good target response is not always a one or two way repeatable signal. 
A null or break in your metal detector threshold, a slight raising or lowering in threshold volume can also turn out to be a potential find of a lifetime at a trashy site.
Trashy sites are hard work, but when you know good stuff may come out of trashy sites the hard work is well worth it.
Something to think about the next time you walk away from an area full of pennies, bottle caps or small iron nails. 
I have found many a gold ring scooping up pennies at heavily hunted sites I know other beach or water hunters walk away from. 
Some of my favorite finds stories start with I rechecked the hole or after digging so many ........ I pulled out this beauty. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What are you in it for?

It would be nice to find out what readers of this blog are into metal detecting for, no matter how much expensive modern jewelry I recover I prefer finding old stuff.
Sometimes you get the best of both worlds, returning home with an old piece of gold with precious stones.
I have had more than my fair share of old jewelry, found on the beach and inside the water using a wide variety of metal detectors.
Old jewelry is hard to find at the beach, but it can be found if you are a slow methodical beach hunter.
At least two or three times a year in south Florida I run across a hot spot containing several pieces of old jewelry.
I am talking about areas where I recover multiple gold class or college rings, due to favorable tides or some type of beach erosion.
Although old gold class rings are not exactly old compared to gold rings recovered in other parts of the world they can still be quite impressive when found in numbers.
Last year I recovered nine gold class rings over two three hour water hunts at an eroded section of beach.
Before the ring returners blow a gasket, I did manage to make contact with three people who lost their rings and were very happy to see them again, even encrusted in green coral lol
The other gold rings were impossible to return, with no owners initials from the 1940s and 1950s from schools that are now long gone.
I dont make a big deal about returning rings, iphones, or wallets found at the beach, I look at the returns as good Karma to appease the beach and water hunting gods.
I also like finding old coins at the beach, it still amazes me some of the old coins that can be recovered at tourist beaches or beaches in the middle of nowhere. 
Which goes back to what I always say, the more sites you search, the more variety of things you will recover, including old jewelry and coins if they are there. 
Heres a few older finds from florida beaches, some from places I expected to go home empty handed from. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jewelry hunting

I always find it hard to add the word coins when people ask me what I am searching for at the beach, as jewelry is what I am really searching for when I am on a tourist type beach using a metal detector.
Although for every piece of jewelry you find I would say on average you find fifty or perhaps a hundred coins. 
When I post jewelry I have recovered at the beach, I rarely show the hard work I put in to find the jewelry I recovered, which would be a large amount of coins of all denominations.
The reason I do not post coins is because they could give away the site I found the jewelry.
I know my local beaches like the back of my hand, I also know what coins look like when they come off one of the local beaches I search. 
Foreign coins are recovered in quantities in certain areas, so when I lurk on detecting forums and see local hunters posting photos of foreign coins I know exactly where they are hunting. 
Shiny fresh dropped coins are often found opposite beach parking lots, especially quarters.
Black or dark grey coins are silver and have spent time in saltwater, the tarnish is oxidization from spending an extended time in saltwater. 
Green encrusted coins usually come out of the wet sand or the slope leading into the water.
Black and green encrusted coins I would not dream of posting, just in case I am still working the site.
You probably get the point of todays post, you can tell a lot about a jewelry hunting site by the coins you find.
Heck you could say I go to the beach to search for coins, because if you are finding coins there is a really good chance jewelry can also be found in the same area.
Jewelry and coin hunting go hand in hand, although coins are easier to find than jewelry for a couple of reasons.
The first reason being people take more coins than jewelry to the beach, obviously you are going to recover more coins than jewelry.
The second reason jewelry is harder to find than coins is target masking, the damn coins mask the good stuff at tourist type beaches.
A half ounce 10 K gold class ring will be invisible sitting next to a couple of pennies, you may even dig the pennies mistake the chunky gold ring for another penny and decide to move on.
No doubt this happens a lot at heavily hunted sites when the most important thing is to cover the prime ground before the competition, yeh right? 
Not me, I pick an area I believe is promising and let the coins lead me to gold. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Are you detecting deep enough at the beach?

In my opinion, the hardest targets to detect at the beach are often shallow targets, but the majority of beach and water hunters obsess over target depth. 
If you mistakenly believe you cannot find anything at the beach because the good stuff must be deeper, the latest greatest deepest metal detector or search coil is not going to help you.
This $5K diamond engagement ring was recovered in the dry sand approximately three or four inches deep, so were the Spanish silver treasure coin in the next photo.

Search techniques, beach reading skills and site selection, are far more important than target depth for a beach or water hunter.
Heck I believe I could probably find more jewelry using a garden leaf rake at the beach than someone using a deep seeking 10K metal detector and a 20 inch search coil.
The silver treasure coins in this photo were lost over three hundred years ago, but ended up close to the surface and easily detected on a Treasure Coast beach.

I know they were recovered due to site selection and knowing when to go look for them, you could say I waited for Spanish treasure to come to me. 
The diamond engagement ring was recovered very close to several pieces of surface junk at a tourist beaches, bottle caps and corroding pennies that work like a Klingon cloaking device to mask jewelry.
My goal at many tourist type beaches is to recover shallow hard to detect pieces of jewelry left behind by speedy beach hunters.
When I walk onto a beach I aim to find and recover anything of value within the normal detection range of the equipment I am using. 
I am not concerned about what may lie much deeper, as the majority of the gold, platinum and silver jewelry I detect at the beach is recovered within the first six inches of sand.
Depth is very over rated and often used as the excuse to why a person cannot find jewelry at the beach.
Improving your search techniques, beach reading skills and site selection will help you avoid falling into the trap of believing everything good is just out of reach at the beach.
It only takes a little trash to cloak or mask a lot of of treasure! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Search coils and settings

I am a search coil junkie, which can be a little tough on the old wallet as some search coils cost as much as a metal detector now.
One important thing to remember when changing search coils on your metal detector is you have to adjust your settings to suit whatever search coil you have installed on your metal detector.
You have to make sure you use the right metal detector settings for the size search coil being used.
For example, you should not be concerned about discrimination or settings geared towards recover speed or target separation when using a large search coil.
Large search coils are always best used for ground coverage and target depth at non trashy beach sites.
The opposite is true when using small search coils at trashy beach sites, where target separation not target depth is the most important factor. 
You can run much hotter manual sensitivity settings using smaller search coils than you can using large search coils.
The reason why there is not a lot of difference in target depth between the 8 and 10-inch search coils on one of my favorite metal detectors the Minelab Excalibur.
Hot or high sensitivity levels will result in a noisy ride at the beach, so you often have to lower the metal detector sensitivity control to operate smoothly.
A chattery metal detector because of an incorrect sensitivity setting for the size of search coil, may cause you to walk over valuable targets missed in the threshold chatter.
If you dumb down your metal detector to use a large search coil, any potential target depth advantage of using the large search coil is wiped out. 
It is not just settings you have to adjust, a fast sweep speed will also negate any depth advantage of using the large search coil.
You have to sweep large search coils slower than small search coils.
If you are using different size search coils on a regular basis, more than likely you know how and why they serve a purpose in your beach or water hunting arsenal.
Unfortunately, people new to beach or water hunting use different size search coils but do not understand their "Normal" settings do not always do a different size search coil justice.
To get the maximum benefit from investing in a different size search coil for a metal detector, you have to find the best settings to run the new combination at.
Different set ups require different settings to make the reason you are using it work.