Rookie Corner

by Andy Nunez

Hot enough for you? I talked last month about hot weather, buggy weather, and just plain nasty weather. We've experienced all of it lately. Some people have taken the summer off (like me), others hit the beach, and some fall into the Mad Dogs and Englishmen category. I did take half a day for the club hunt for June, but that was it. Even after carrying a water bottle with me and trying to stay in the shade, I was done by lunch.

Most people stayed, and some good finds surfaced. Bill has detailed that elsewhere. This time of the year is the best time to try hunting on the beach or in the water. In my younger days I did both with mixed results. The challenge of successful beach hunting is two-fold: being at the beach at the right time, and setting your machine to get gold rings.

There are some optimal times to hit the beach. Your biggest enemy is that machine that cleans the beach. It scoops up all the trash and most of the treasure. You want to find out when the beach machines do their work and beat them to the punch. Your timing, though, should coincide with the lowest possible tide, to expose more of the beach. People lose a lot more stuff below the high tide level than above it.

On beaches with no cleaning machines, the tide is more important. Even with a totally waterproof machine, the lower the tide, the farther you can get out. Make sure you have your sunscreen, bug spray, etc. and unless you want to risk cutting your feet, make sure you have some beach shoes or flip flops, at least.

There are beach machines that are real good, and real expensive. Most of them are pulse induction machines that pick up everything so you have to be good at listening to the signal before digging. The rest of the typical VLF machines have the good points and bad points. To successfully beach hunt, you need one with ground balance to avoid the dreaded magnetic "black sand" which causes all kinds of falsing. Sometimes just going from wet sand to dry sand will make your machine false. Automatic ground balance machines false a lot unless you turn down the sensitivity, which will cost you depth.

Also, set your discrimination as low as possible. Thin ladies' rings will read below nickel. While on the beach, look for uneven areas where debris tends to collect. If shells and seaweed collect there, so do coins and rings. Think about tidal motion, the laws of gravity and look around to where most people hang out. Putting all that together will maximize where to look for coins instead of just randomly wandering the beach. Get a beach scoop. Land diggers are nearly useless at the beach.

Ok, that's it for this month. Avoid over-exposure and if I don't see you at the meeting, maybe I'll see you walking by while I'm sitting on a nice deck with a cold drink.

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