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Friday, February 16, 2018

Obstructions at the beach

I love searching close to obstructions on the beach as they often lead to good finds, a giant boulder, a washed up tree trunk or even a pier may be an obstruction that can lead to a good find.
Obstructions break up the natural movement of surf and sand, causing lost coins, jewelry or artifacts to end up in the slip stream of the obstruction.
Some of my best beach and water hunting finds have come out of areas with an obstruction on the beach or in the water.
I know my local beaches like the back of my hand, I also know where many obstructions are at every beach.
I use large movable pieces of iron as jewelry traps, knowing the average beach or water hunter will go around large iron objects on the beach and inside the water.
Every few weeks I will move my jewelry traps and search the place they probably stayed since the last time I moved them.
I study the way water moves across my local beaches, then search close to and around any obstructions looking to detect anything diverted by an obstruction.
At beaches where the high tide washes up to a concrete barrier (Wall or building foundation) it is very difficult to detect close to the concrete barrier.
At areas I know jewelry is lost, I will often change to a small search coil so I can detect closer to the wall.
I use my scoop to drag sand away from the base of a wall, beach hunting is not all about swinging a search coil sometimes you have to use other tools like a spade or a rake to help you ferret out good stuff close to obstructions at the beach.
Obstructions are just that to the majority of beach and water hunters, nuisances to go around. 
Obstructions on the beach and in the water help break up the natural movement of surf and sand.
In areas you are likely to recover jewelry, coins or old artifacts, obstructions become areas where the stuff you are searching for collect in numbers. 
Remember the more difficult an area of the beach is to detect, the more likely you are to find something.

There are three potential traps in this photo, the wooden bridge, tree branch and vegetation mid slope preventing stuff from being washed higher.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Expand your beach hunting horizons

On Saturday morning in south Florida I could go to any beach and see people I know search the same area all the time and you could probably say that about any heavily hunted beach in the world.
So why are many beach and water hunters so predictable searching the exact same area every time they go to the beach?
Perhaps they previously recovered something good in that area or know something good was recovered in that area, whatever the reason having a predictable beach hunting plan is not a formula for success at the beach using a metal detector.
If you only search the same one or two areas of a beach you miss out on so many beach or water hunting opportunities.
Regular readers of this blog will see me posting photos of items I have recovered from the beach in the past, referring to the place I recovered the item as "One of my favorite beach or water hunting sites" notice the word one.
I search a wide variety of beaches and an even wider variety of sites at those beaches so it is highly unlikely I will ever be referred to as that guy who is always searching there. 
The main reason I try other beaches is because I often find good stuff in the most unexpected areas, at beaches you would never expect to find anything let alone something good.
Another good reason to expand your horizons is when you do recover good stuff you are often the only person with a metal detector who knows about those production areas.
Dont get me wrong you often get skunked trying new beaches or different areas of those beaches, but when you do detect something good the rewards far outweigh the time wasted previously getting skunked.
It does not take very long before you compile a wide variety of productive areas to search.
Perhaps even putting a damper on further exploration, but in my opinion you can never have enough productive areas other people do not know about. 
I never give away any of my hard earned potentially productive sites, gained through research and time invested discovering the sites.
The next time you realize you always see the same person searching the same area every time you visit a beach, be thankful you have predictable beach or water hunters in your area.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Every inch counts using large search coils

I often see people swinging large search coils at the beach and I mean swinging! 
If you are going to use a large search coil for beach or water hunting you have to work on making sure you keep the large search coil low and level throughout the sweeping process. 
Search coil control is important if you want to take advantage of the extra target depth provided by the larger size coil.
If your metal detector balance is thrown out of whack by a heavy search coil, you may get sloppy struggling to maintain a level sweep. Large search coils are often heavier than the standard size coil that came with your metal detector. 
Using a metal detecting harness or a search coil stabilizer will help you from struggling with the extra weight and sweeping higher above the surface of the sand than normal, also the dreaded raising of the coil at the end of each sweep.
If you feel a metal detecting harness is too cumbersome, try using a sash type sling with a bungee cord attached from the sling to your metal detector shaft. 
This simple type of harness to distribute the weight of the metal detector is similar to what people using garden weed whackers or pressure washing poles use. 
Ground coverage is the main reason beach or water hunters use large search coils but in my opinion it should be about target depth and having the ability to detect targets at greater depths than the standard size search coil. 
Walking around with a large search coil several inches above the sand because you cannot control it often negates most of the extra target depth, having to lower the metal detector sensitivity to use the large search coil takes away the rest of any perceived depth advantage.
One pulse induction metal detector I had my eye on for a while has a large search coil mounted to the lower rod at the back of the search coil.
Every beach hunter I see using this metal detector has the front of the large search coil tilted up at the front, this put me off buying and using the metal detector.
Search coil control is very important to me and I know every inch quite often counts at the beach so I prefer to use search coils that mount towards the middle of the search coil.
Search coil control is probably why some beach or water hunters find stuff over ground covered by other people, especially when using the same type of metal detector.
When all things are equal metal detecting equipment wise, its the person with the better basic metal detecting skills including search coil control that has the advantage. 
A large search coil is only an advantage at the beach if it is swept level and very close to the sand.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Drag on the lower beach

One of the things I like to explain during beach hunting lessons is how objects we search for move on the lower beach, especially sloped or steep beaches. 
In my beach hunting books I refer to the lower beach as the giant sandy conveyor belt, with tides helping to move objects up and back down the lower beach and shallow water. 
Flat objects like coins will move more easily than jewelry, coins tend to be found higher up sloped or steep beaches than rings.
The shape of a ring will help it settle in one place as the band creates drag, often before being pushed higher up onto the beach.
The bigger the ring the more likely it is to be closer to or inside the water when the beach is steeply sloped. 
A coin line or line of deposited coins from a previous high tide will often be found higher up the beach than jewelry.
The way jewelry is shaped in rings, chains and bracelets creates drag in the sand, when you know where flat coins settle you can search for jewelry that did not make it all the way up the lower beach to the line of coins.
This is why I prefer to search a known coin line using a loose W type search pattern, instead of a straight line and risking walking away from gold.
This is how this heavy platinum and 18K diamond ring ended up in my finds pouch instead of being found by the person who walked a straight line ahead of me scooping coins a few years ago.

A loose W type search pattern around wooden beach steps hanging in mid air on an eroded beach has worked out well for me over the years.
There are many little things that make a big difference in beach hunting, knowing how objects you are search for move up and down the lower beach is one of them.
For example, I have eyeballed more gold chains on the beach than I have detected on the beach.
I would'nt even be at the beach to see them if I only went to the beach two hours before low tide, as many beach and water hunters getting advice of metal detecting forums do.
High tide is the best time to see gold chains tangled in seaweed or flotsam, chains tend to ball up or get tangled in other things.
The object they became tangled in may not always make it up a sloped beach, but I lump gold chains in the drag category as they tend to ball up too.
At heavily hunted beaches I will often sacrifice the coins to go for the jewelry, especially after rough surf when you often see coins laying on the sand washed up.
Searching down from a visible coin line will give the competition something to dig while you search for jewelry stopped by the drag effect on the lower beach. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

The metal detector I use on TV treasure hunting shows

I get asked a lot of questions about why I use the Minelab CTX 3030 so here are a few reasons why this metal detector is the one I use the majority of the time.
The main reason why is the waterproof Minelab CTX 3030 is a good all around metal detector, with bells and whistles for almost any metal detecting situation I come across.
Do not let the beach and water hunting tag fool you, I search for a wide variety of things in a wide variety of places and so I use equipment that is not just suited to detecting one thing in one place.
I would make no sense for someone like me to only use a metal detector designed to do one thing, with one size search coil or very few available accessories.
Traveling to detect and not knowing what sites I will search or the conditions I may encounter, a CTX 3030 with different size search coils is always my first choice of treasure hunting equipment.
With a price tag of over $2K this metal detector is not in everyones budget, although it is very easy for a beginner to use I always tell people new to the hobby to choose a cheaper metal detector and see if they really like metal detecting before laying out serious money.
I know once you have a CTX 3030 there is no where to go after using the Rolls Royce of discriminating VLF (Very low frequency) metal detectors, forget about upgrading lol
However good the CTX 3030 is in a wide variety of metal detecting situations, there could be a metal detector that does a better job detecting a certain thing at a certain site if that is all you ever search for.
Choosing the right tools for the job is very important in all walks of life, in the hobby of metal detecting it is no different.
Buy the tools within your budget that help you detect what you are searching for in the areas you search, doing plenty of research before you buy is always the best policy.
That is what I did when moving from predominantly land hunting to beach and shallow water hunting, 
I needed to use metal detectors not effected by mineralized sand and saltwater, as the single frequency metal detectors I had always used in England struggled on beaches.
After spending years pounding fields, rivers, lakes, beaches and oceans with a metal detector I have turned finds into metal detecting equipment and I am fortunate enough to be able to use what equipment I like.
Hopefully the Khalessi mother of dragons is not reading todays blog entry lol! although husbands everywhere should know jewel encrusted baubles do get you serious metal detecting permission.
I still count the research I did before buying as a very important step towards hitting the beaches running.
Things have changed a little since my early experiences with metal detectors, metal detector companies are seeing people travel to detect and bringing out more lightweight waterproof and versatile metal detectors, especially my favorite metal detector company Minelab.
My CTX 3030 has all the qualities I look for in a metal detector and that is exactly why I use it where ever I go. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Be a stalker not a walker

I am not a big fan of walking miles on the beach to find stuff or putting in ten or twelve hour beach or water hunting days to find stuff, I use beach and water reading skills to maximize my beach hunting time. 
I search small areas thoroughly and never walk away from any area I find gold, especially at tourist type beaches where gold is the main thing I am searching for. 
Been there done that and learned my lesson many moons ago, returning back to places after going walk about and recovering more gold in the area I walked away from.
Theres a lot to be said for being a veteran (Old fart) beach hunter, if you learn lessons along the way lol
A very good reason to be a gold stalker and not a walker is you often find more than one piece of gold in the same area, either because it was part of a set or an area where objects of the same size and density have settled.
My personal record is twelve gold wedding bands in one afternoon several years ago, beating nine gold rings in one morning hunt a few years before that, nothing too special but not too shabby. 
That explains why I like to use a box shaped search pattern and I am reluctant to walk away from areas I start finding gold in numbers. 
Look at it as the game of battleships for beach or water hunters, hitting gold hiding not far away from the first piece you tagged.
These three 22K gold bangle bracelets were recovered several yards away from each other at a tourist beach, it would have been such a shame to split them up by walking away from the area.

I would have probably seen them posted on some metal detecting forum or Facebook group and thought buggar I left gold behind, but I know that will not happen to the metal detecting ninja because I never walk away from gold.
It could be a gold ring, gold pendant or gold chain, who is to say it was an isolated find?
Dont walk away once you find an area holding what you are searching for, use your eyes and ears instead of your feet to find gold beach and water hunting. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Read between the beach hunting lines

Site reading skills fill finds pouches and pockets with stuff a beach hunter is searching for.
You can follow surf charts or waste time waiting for second hand beach reports, but every beach has something to find when you know the sites within a site to search. 
One easy way to combat sanded-in or less than ideal beach conditions is to search for previous high tide lines.
Often referred to as "Coin lines" in beach hunting terms, previous high tide lines can hold jewelry coins and artifacts at sites with a little history.
Just because you cannot see previous high tide lines does not mean you cannot locate and recover stuff from these productive areas of the beach.
A loose W or snaking type search pattern will help you find previous high tide lines that are now sanded over.
Remember to keep glancing behind you while searching at the beach to see if holes you have dug line up, stop and go back over any area that looks like it could potentially be a coin line.
Look for obvious high tide lines containing seaweed or shells left high and dry, a dead seabird or even a bottle half buried in sand may be a clue, talk about a message in a bottle. 
I have always found the best coin lines (Previous high tide lines) to be mid beach or higher at tourist type beaches. 
The reason being most robotic wet sanders and water hunters only search the lower beach and water at heavily hunted beaches.
Meaning any previous high tide line (Coin line) will have been ignored quite some time even at the most heavily hunted beaches.
Notice how coin line and previous high tide line are one and the same as I go through todays blog entry, because they are.
Anytime you dig up a few targets out of a different matrix to the surface sand it is a good sign, it could well be a more compact line of shells from a previous high tide line that has been covered over for a long time. 
I like to look at the beach as if its a push penny arcade game, where have the gold rings, coins and artifacts been pushed to and waiting to drop for me.
Find those hidden and not so hidden lines at the beach my beach hunting friends and you will often find what you are searching for. 

Four of these expensive diamond rings were recovered in previous high tide lines I searched for, fortune favors the beach hunter with site reading skills.