Beach metal detecting -
5 tips that will help you find more!
Beach Metal detecting can be a very addictive hobby and this is mainly due to the fact you never know what you may find. This is true of fossil hunting along the Jurassic coast (another one of my hobbies where you just never know what might turn up), you just never know what will appear out of the sand.
This will be the first in a series of articles dedicated to metal detecting and we start with a few tips on beach metal detecting.
Beach metal detecting can be a specialised business as not all metal detectors can handle the ground. This is due to the high salt content of the sand and muds. If beach metal detecting is your passion then make sure your metal detector of choice can handle the ground conditions. For myself I chose the Minelab Explorer XS, which is a quality all round metal detector with full band spectrum detecting that will handle many ground types and situations, including the harsh conditions on beaches. In general, this particular metal detector is for the more advanced user and can take a lot of getting used to, but has superb handling and performance. There are unbox and go settings for the beginner but to get the most from this metal detector you need to understand it’s functions and capabilities and more on this in another post.
All beaches will give up their treasures differently and at different times, but there are a few tips that will aid in your search of the beaches. These tips are by no means guaranteed but will help if adapted for your chosen beach.
You can hit the beach and start to detect randomly and see what comes up. I have certainly done this on a number of occasions and with great success. There is no problem in going this at all and in winter on my local beaches this approach is a good as any.
On other occasions, especially on new beaches you are not familiar with, it does pay to take a step back and look at the lie of the land. You will have to do this on a regular basis even if you metal detect on the same beach over and over. I mention this, as unlike metal detecting on farmland, the beach is always on the move. In winter my local beaches can change beyond recognition as the winter storms smash into the beaches and take away those layer of sand that have built up over time. Such activity can rip into sand dunes bring down cliffs and the fields above the beach spreading the metal finds far and wide all over the beach.
More gentle weather and even the strong tides can change the shape of the beach making some areas more of a hot spot than others.
Beach Metal Detecting Tips
Beach Metal Detecting, Tip 1 – Dips and Gullies
When looking at the beach always look for the dips and gullies in the sand. The areas just before a sand bar or just after. Natural dips in the sand that are lower than the surrounding beach. It is in these places that the tides can deposit objects as the water in these depressions is not moving as fast as the water above it. This causes many objects that are being washed around in the tide to be dropped into these depressions and covered by the sand.
Beach Metal Detecting, Tip 2 – Rocky outcrop and pebbles
Rocky outcrops on sandy beaches and areas of pebbles and rocks can also be great areas to run your metal detector over. Don’ be afraid of these areas and always head for them if you get the chance. I say this as the rocks, stones and pebble areas, especially if they are along side sandy areas populated in summer with the hundreds of ring wearing sun worshipers, can be hot spots. This is because the rocks and rough areas can trap coins, rings and other metal items amongst them.
Beach Metal Detecting, Tip 3 – Rock Pools
Always pay some attention to shallow rock pulls on beaches. Rock pools should also be on your agenda to visit as these areas can be a natural dumping ground for the tidal action and trapping metal objects. Like stony and pebbled areas, if the rock pool areas are near sandy popular beaches it really is worth paying them a visit. Beware when doing this as it’s easy to forget that the seaweed covered rocks can be hazardous, especially for a metal detectorist with his Wellington boots on.
Beach Metal Detecting, Tip 4 – Storm damage
Storm cuts are always a must visit place for a beach metal detectorist. Those areas you see in winter where the storms and rough weather have sliced sections of the beach and sand dunes away. This allows you to metal detect on layer of the beach you do not get access to in the winter, so ALWAYS take advantage of this if it arises.
Beach Metal Detecting, Tip 5 – Exits and entrances to the beach
If you are looking for modern finds, then popular areas to focus your beach metal detecting are the exits and entrance ways onto the beach. All beaches have them and these areas can focus the modern finds for you. Places where beach visitors can buy food and drink is also another area where modern coins are dropped.
Beach metal detecting can be a very rewarding hobby and a very lucrative one, especially for the metal detectorist that does his home work, studies the beach and puts the hours in at opportune times. It’s also a very addictive hobby as you just never know what you are going to discover while metal detecting on the beach. Will you next signal be a modern coin? Will it be that gold ring you have been trying so hard to find, or will it be a much older metal object churned up from the lower sand layers by the recent storm. You can never really tell until you dig the object and it’s this unknown that keeps beach metal detectorists, metal detecting in all weathers.
If you are looking to expand on some of the beach metal detecting tips I have highlighted above then I recommend the following metal detecting books.
Metal detecting on the coast is a favourite book of mine that highlights some great beach metal detecting tips and watch out for an insight into this book coming soon.
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