Written by the treasureguide for the exclusive use of treasurebeacheserport.blogspot.com.
|Tropical Depression Two|
I've been talking about the importance of search strategies. One that I use in certain situations, I call Step Search. A step search is done in multiple hunts. The important thing about a step search is not that it is done in steps but that at each and every step an analysis of findings is made and then adjustments are made.
The Step Search strategy can be conducted over a longer time period when it is inland. The same strategy can be also be used on the beach or in the water, but since conditions change more frequently there, you never know when how much time you will have. In the water and on beach front, conditions at a particular spot can change very suddenly and quickly. On the other hand, you might be able to return several times without an appreciable change in conditions.
One of the important things about the Step Search strategy is that you gather data during each step or hunt. During each step you analyze the finds, or the lack of finds, and come up with your best estimate of what you think might be there. You might decide after any one of the steps that there is not enough there to warrant additional time at that location. Analyze all finds and signals, both junk and good, to get an estimate of the likely value or probability of good targets.
After each step make adjustments select the best detector for the next step. Select settings and search modes for the next step. And decide which areas of the overall area to focus on.
Switching detectors is often a good idea. If the area is very junky, for example, but you suspect there might be good targets mixed in with the junk, a good discriminating detector might allow you to test the area to see if there are good targets in with the junk. If you fail to find many good shallow targets during the first step, you can then switch to a deeper seeking detector to see if there are any deep targets below the junk. If you find evidence of enough good things to continue the hunt, then you can make additional adjustments by selecting different settings and/or adjust your search method.
Remember, in the water or on the beach front, a productive area might remain productive for only one day or a few days and then suddenly disappear at any time. A step search should be completed in those areas as quickly as possible. You will probably not be quite as hurried at an inland site.
Switching settings between sessions allows you to test or sample different kinds of targets. You might focus on relics one time, coins another, and gold other precious items on another.
I'll usually do a very general sampling on the first session, evaluating how much junk there is and what kind of items might be spread around and how deep. I'll often use all metals mode during the first session. It is not necessary to dig everything during the first session, but you do want to get a good sample of what the area might hold. Then depending upon the analysis you might switch your detector and/or settings to focus on coins next. That would be if you were interested in coins and if the area showed promise of the types of coins that you might be interested in. An alternative approach at this stage would be to remove any large items such as iron, for example, if it might be masking good targets. After each step or stage, your analysis determines what you do next.
The ultimate goal at a good promising site would be to completely clean out the site, but you might decide to stop at any stage, depending upon your analysis. Doing a complete clean out is especially warranted if it seems there is a good chance of ANY high value targets.
As I showed in my Math for Metal Detecting post, one high-value target can be worth more than a lot of low value targets and can make cleaning out an area very worthwhile.
I think you'll find that as the area gets cleaner and cleaner, you'll hear smaller and deeper targets that you didn't hear when there was more junk and more large and shallow targets remaining. Adjust your detector settings and do a very tight grid wherever warranted. Don't be afraid to go over the same ground very slowly.
You might be surprised how many new good but subtle signals seem to appear as you thin out both the junk and good targets. When an area has been fairly well cleaned out, select your most deep seeking detector and go slow to finish up.
Here are some coin cleaning methods you may not know. One particularly interesting one that I have not yet tried involves freezing a dirty coin in water and then thawing it out. The water mixes with the dirt in cracks etc., and then when thawed the dirt comes off with the water.
Here is the link for detailed instructions.
I don't know exactly where it came from now.
On the Treasure Coast we still have the one to two foot surf. The tides are getting pretty flat.