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Monday, 25 July 2016

How to beach metal detect -part 2- locating the treasure!

I have been metal detecting on the beach and all I found is ring pulls, what am I doing wrong?

This has got to be the main question successful beach metal detectorists get asked by people who are just getting into the hobby, hell, I asked the same question myself a few times at the start of my journey! By the end of this post hopefully some of you will be finding more 22ct rings instead of the coca-cola variety.
There are a few reasons as to why you are only finding ring pulls
and luckily all are quite easy to resolve, so let's get right to it.

  • The first and by far biggest reason you are finding crap instead of the goodies is because you are looking in the wrong area to begin with. I would hazard a guess that 99% of the time the guy who comes off the beach with the most gold and coins is the one who has put the hours in on that particular beach, never under estimate the value of local knowledge. To the untrained eye or someone that has never been to that beach before the whole beach might look game, but this just is not true. Every beach changes with every tide, sanded is moved from one area and dumped in another which can often lead to several feet of sand between your coil and the targets. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to put in the hours and take note of the sand levels, failing this get on speaking terms with any local detectorists and ask for their opinions. 
  • Another reason for this can be searching to high up the beach at the high tide line, ring pulls and cans ect are made from aluminium. Aluminium is a very light metal that is not very dense and because of this it will usually get pushed up the beach by the incoming tide and deposited towards the high tide line. Don't get me wrong though parts of the dry sand are defiantly worth investigating for modern losses but in my opinion the the higher up the beach you get, the more crap you will have to put up with.
  • If you are digging cans and ring pulls on the wet sand you are digging in the wrong area and need to move along. Light aluminium on a far out wet sand area is a big giveaway that the tide has shifted some sand and dumped it where you are detecting. Move along until you start hitting some denser metals such as iron and lead.

Metal detecting on rocks and gravel.

I have found one of the most productive areas of the beach to be areas that are rocky and gravel outcrops such as the one shown in the photo below.

This is because any heavy items such as gold and coins will inevitably find their way into the stones and gravel and get trapped until released by your spade or trowel. At this point I must stress that a small pointed digging trowel is essential for metal detecting in these areas as a big spade or sand scoop will not stand a chance of moving the stones and boulders. Once you have found the technique it will be a breeze and your finds rate will go sky high.

Metal detecting in cuts and troughs.

This is undoubtedly one of the most important tips for your beach metal detecting find rate. If you want to be an expert you need to read the beach and a big part of this is looking for cuts and troughs in the sand. These are caused by the action of the tide and strong winds which literally cut low points into the beach essentially getting you closer to the bedrock by many inches or even feet. Have a study of the photo below and you will see what I mean, not all cuts are as extreme but every inch deeper that you can get plays to your advantage.

Small coils are great on the beach.

One last tip for now is to invest in a small coil for your machine. Many of the manufacturers sell what are often known as sniper coils for their machines. These may not be great for coverings areas of flat wet sand but they are amazing for the rocky little outcrops and from  in the iron infested areas. Depth is not necessary in these areas as the finds are closer to the surface stuck between the rocks and stones. There will usually be a lot of iron in these places as well and a large coil will mean you pick up to much iron and lead finds and maybe miss out on the smaller coins and rings. By switching to the smaller coin you will find you get a better response and target separation.

Thanks for sticking all the way through this beach metal detecting guide and please check back for more updates in the near future.

Happy hunting all.

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  1. Thanks very much for the comment Terry

  2. One of the best articles I have seen on this topic. Nice job!

    1. Hey thanks very much, I'm buzzing with your comment :)

  3. Now you and me know that small coils do the biz - big style! Yet, we still see people using coils that are half the diameter of Yorkshire....find cola tins at 4-ft. Let 'em find out the hard way.

    Great article Andy.

    1. Haha your right there John, to be honest I learnt the hard way myself trying to weed my way through a clay and gravel bed towards the low water mark that was littered with rusty crap, there were good targets mixed in but because my coil was so big I couldn't pick up the good stuff without it coming through as iron!

  4. Thanks for the article. It has some nice tips.

    1. Thanks very much for taking the time to read and comment it's much appreciated


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