Friday, August 30, 2013

8/30/13 Report - Classifying Specific Beach Detecting Areas, Detector Coil Selection & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is the National Hurricane Center Map showing two systems in the Atlantic right now.  The first (yellow) has a ten percent chance of becoming a cyclone, while the orange one has a forty percent chance of becoming a cyclone.

We'll keep an eye on both of those.

On the Treasure Coast, nothing but 1 - 2 foot surf for a few more days.

The Labor Day weekend might bring a few more people out to the beach.

I used the illustration below a few days ago.   This is an area that I simply selected for illustration purposes. As I said before, my observations on this area are out of date, but that doesn't affect the general principles that I want to illustrate today.  Remember the observations are some years old and things have changed since then.

You won't necessarily find things exactly as I'm describing them today if you visit these locations.   I know for certain that some spots have been altered by construction projects as well as nature. The same strategies and techniques that I'm illustrating are applicable any time and anywhere though, including on the Treasure Coast.

As I mentioned before, spot 1 was a good jewelry spot, whereas spots 2, 3, 4 and 5 were places where you could find old coins when conditions were right.  The shallow water off of spots 2 and 5 also produced some small amount of modern jewelry.

At the upper left, you see a causeway leading to the key.  It was common, and I'm sure still is common, to see people detecting along the left side of the causeway.  That area was never a favorite of mine even though modern gold could be found there on occasion.  The area had a lot of junk and the targets there were on average not real high quality.

The area between spot 1 and 2 also had a few scattered targets back in the day, but nothing like the concentrations found at the well defined areas at spots 1 and 2.

Between spots 3 and 4 was a mucky mangrove area that was difficult to access.  Targets there were very scarce also.

Between spots 4 and 5, could be found some modern coins and gold.  It was, how should I say, a nude beach, that attracted some, but not high a high density of sun bathers.  Targets were generally sparsely scattered.  Shallow water hunting along there would also turn up a few gold items, but very few.  Not as many as along the causeway and much less than spot 1.

As you walk south from spot 5, you would come to the main park swimming area, which was relatively heavily hunted.  Targets were generally spread thinly out over a wide area, but you could often find some gold there.  That was due to both the fact that the area was frequently hunted and nature of the beach.  You could usually find some coins and a piece of gold or two.   As an example, I remember one day I went there when I was sick as a dog and didn't have much energy but felt like hunting anyhow and made a loop out through the area and hit one nickel and one class ring.  I didn't stick at it long simply because I didn't have the energy.  But that is the type of place it was.  Few scattered targets but usually some gold.

As you continue south and out of the park, the first area was pretty barren.  Not many swimmers, but a lot of growing sea weed.

The next spot worth checking would be in front of a condo.  Enough swimmers there to produce something on occasion, but not frequently.  One thing to note:  Condo beaches do not produce as much gold as tourist beaches.  Condo owners often leave their valuables in their condos.  Tourists aren't as likely to leave their valuables in their room and aren't as familiar with the dangers of frolicking in the waves with their valuables on.

The next spot was in front of a beach hotel.  It was a good small well-defined swimming area that often produced good quality finds.  That area was hunted by other detectorists but not a lot like the park swimming area or other heavily hunted areas.  Just beyond that was a good beach area with volley ball courts and a recreational area that produced good items.

Continuing in the same direction a short distance you would come to a beach club where there was a life guard and a fair number of swimmers.  For some reason that one produced some coins but very little gold.  It was a place where I would have expected more.  I guess beach club members are more like condo owners than tourists.

There was then a rather barren area with few good targets until you came to the State Park.  The first swimming area produced some jewelry on a regular basis, but not high quality.

Continuing in the same direction until you come to the heavily used beach and picnic area near the old light house, that beach produced quality finds on a regular basis.  The beach was narrow and most swimmers stayed in the shallow water.  A good number of quality gold finds (not the very highest quality, but good quality) were common there even though a good number of other detectorists hit that spot on a regular basis.

I did not mention today the spots that produced older items other than coins in this listing.  There are a couple of places along this stretch where artifacts have been found.

My intention was not to point you to specific detecting sites.  My point is that every area along a beach will have its own characteristics.  You should get to know what every area is likely to produce in terms or quantity and quality of finds, if it is detected by others frequently, what good, poor and average conditions look like at each spot, and how it is likely to change with changes in the weather.

If you know an area like this, you have a lot of choices.  I talked about the decision making process in the past, which considers both the frequency of finds, the average quality of finds, and current conditions.

One real advantage of a stretch like this is that you can scan a lot of different sites relatively quickly and pick out the ones that you want to pass up or focus on.  Some can be scanned from the car as you pass by.  When one site is not producing, there are enough sites that some probably will be.   They face different directions and when some look poor others will be good.

You can check the secondary or tertiary sites while you are in the area or moving between primary sites.  It usually doesn't take long and it can add to your finds while you are in the area.  It can give you additional options when the site you intended to visit doesn't look good.

I guess I owe a bit of an apology to Whites.  Michael H. wrote in to say that Whites has a non-buoyant coil for the Dual Surf PI.  You should make sure you have a coil that isn't too buoyant before getting any detector that you plan on using in the water very much.  Personally I generally like a detector that works reasonably well for a variety of situations even though I will use special purpose detectors on occasion.

Above I talked about a series of contiguous sites that include both water and land sites.  If I see a water site that where the water looks good, I want to be able wade out into the water.  And then if I see a spot on land that looks good, I want to be able to wander back up onto the beach without changing equipment. 

One of the things that makes the weight more of an issue is the size of the coil.  To make a larger coil neutral-buoyant would require more than it would take to make a smaller coil neutral buoyant. that A lot of weight added to a larger coil would make it less buoyant obviously, but also heavier for land.

Of course you can select different coil sizes for most detectors too.  I usually prefer a smaller coil over a large coil.  First, I've never found large coils that much of an advantage in most situations even though I've used 14 inch coils as well as two-box detectors.  Overall, I've been more successful finding gold using smaller (not real small) coils, and my detecting style does not generally place a high premium on getting the absolute last smidgen of depth.  And when the situation does occur that I want to go for maximum depth, I can switch detectors.  I also like being able to get a smaller coil in and around bushes and other obstacles.

That brings up some issues to consider when purchasing a detector.  Think about the size and buoyancy of the coil.  I have a number of detectors that I will use for different situations, but generally prefer something that is flexible and does a decent job for a broad range of circumstances.   When I go out and go past a series of sites like those I talked about today, I don't want to have to take a different detector for each different site, nor do I want to have to switch coils or whatever.  That is partly my style.  Your detecting style might be different.

Happy hunting,