Fisher CZ21 Review

I sold my Minelab Etrac and bought myself a beach machine since I found myself 99% of the time beach hunting. If the Etrac was waterproof, I would never have sold it but since it was not, the time came to rather invest in a fully waterproof machine, one that would let me venture out into the deep waters with no worries… and even though I was set on a Minelab Excalibur II, due to price and good reviews, I settled on the Fisher CZ21. So now that I have had it for roughly 4 months, its time to post my thoughts on this water machine.

CZ21

I am not going to do the usual standard review of mentioning all the specs of this machine, that can be found easily on Fishers website. This is more about my personal findings about the machine and how it has performed with me so far.

You get a choice of an 8″ coil or the 10″ coil, to which the dealer I bought from only had the 8″ version available so my choice was already made for me. The machine is completely sealed, you cannot change coils so make sure you choose wisely when you first make your purchase. The headphones are also connected as part of the machine, so they are not replaceable. This so far is all good, but the concerns I have are when the headphones pack up one day, it will mean that there is no way to replace just the headphones, I will need to send the whole machine back to Fisher or my dealer in order to get it fixed which is certainly less than ideal – fingers crossed nothing packs up!

Now that I have had a good chance to use the machine, looking back I think I would have chosen the bigger 10″ coil had I been given the choice. There is nothing wrong with the 8″ coil, it finds deep targets and easy to pin point with but I would have appreciated the wider coverage that the 10″ coil offers.

The shaft that is supplied stock with the machine, in my opinion is terrible in every way. It feels cheaply made and the lower rod also seems to be made of a cheap plastic which coming from the carbon fibre shafts and rod of the Etrac, was a big disappointment to me. Not only does it feel cheap but it also feels very unbalanced because of the placement of the unit on top of the handle and makes the machine feel extremely heavy. I would not have been able to detect for more than an hour at most without it killing my arms in stock configuration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think Fisher are well aware of this issue which is why they supply a belt clip where you can take the CZ21 unit off the shaft and attach it to the belt clip to wear around your waist. This does indeed make it much lighter but also comes with its own set of problems. Firstly the cord could get damaged as you should never tug hard on the cord that is attached to the unit and by placing it on your belt, I feel that there is more of a chance that the cord could get twisted or pulled harder than it should. Another big factor when I tried this method was that the back of the top of the shaft would often catch on the unit during my swinging. To alleviate this issue, I had to place the unit further away from my side, more towards either the front or back of my body which again, was less than ideal.

fisher1Luckily there are alternate aftermarket shafts and I ordered myself the Anderson carbon fibre shaft for the CZ21. The quality and workmanship of the shaft is superb and places the unit behind (and upside down) the shaft making it feel much more balanced and much lighter. I can now detect for 3 hours with no weight problems whatsoever. After seeing just how good the shaft is, I have ordered the Anderson carbon fibre lower rod which will soon replace the cheap stock plastic lower rod that I am currently using.

What really grates me about the quality of this machine, is the fact that it was designed for sea and fresh water hunting, designed to be fully waterproof, designed to even go diving up to 250 feet yet there are signs of rust on the machine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the knobs of the main machine, the screws are all rusting… now this may not have any particular negative impact on the machine itself, it certainly is not aesthetically pleasing. Also on the lower rod, the little silver ball that “clips” into the holes of the shaft, is also rusting away. This was another reason I ordered the Anderson lower rod as I don’t expect that one to rust as my Anderson shaft has shown no signs of rust whatsoever (I do believe if I was still using the stock shaft, that it would certainly have signs of rust).

Ground balancing the unit I find rather tricky as well. I have read from other user reviews that each machine is different, even people who own two CZ21’s say that each one sounds and behaves differently. I have watched a youtube clip which makes ground balancing look so simple yet on my machine it seems to be a little tricky. Now this may not exactly be the machines fault, it could well be the mineralisation of the different beaches that plays havoc with me but this is one side of the machine that I find difficult to use. I have tried both the bobbing and the easy method and certainly find the easy method easier but still not easy on the beaches I frequent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The discrimination is top class, with an easy to hear low, mid or high tones. The low tones are generally the iron which I ignore, the mid tones are the gold / pull tabs / foil and the high tones are generally the coins / silver range. The discrimination notches from 0 to 6, where on 0 you will hear all the tones, but I usually leave it on 1 where it will ignore the low tones and only hear the mid and high tones. Anything from 2 and above and you will start missing gold targets so it’s not worth putting discrimination on anything higher than 1.

The volume is great with levels 1 – 5 which will make you hear deep targets as faint tones and shallow targets as loud tones or from 6 – 10 which puts you in “boost” mode and even the deep targets will be enhanced as a loud tone. I often keep my machine on around 7 or 8 and even in extremely windy conditions, have a clear loud volume.

Sensitivity as with all machines, try and run as hot as possible without getting false signals. Sometimes in the wet surf, I often have to reduce very low between 3 – 5 to reduce the falsing which does worry me about what kind of depth I am getting from reducing the sensitivity that low but naturally there will be a trade off of depth but at least the machine runs stable and does still find targets.

There is also the “All Metal” mode which does not discriminate at all, and produces a very different kind of sweeping tone. I often like to hunt in this mode and once a target is found, switch to discrimination mode and find out what kind of target I am over. You can also run the all metal mode with a higher sensitivity with less falsing and therefore should be able to pick up deeper targets. However on certain tests I have done, it seems at times that the discrimination mode picks up deeper targets even at a lower sensitivity better than the all metal mode.

I have found tiny board short buttons at reasonable depths so I am confident that this machine is capable of finding the tiniest of objects at acceptable depths comparable to that of my previous Etrac.

Am I happy with this machine and would I have bought it again if I could go back in time – the answer is yes, loving the waterproofness and the batteries seem to last forever but the Garrett ATX is certainly still high on my wish list.

I have a hunting buddy who seems to find gold and platinum rings often and he uses the same machine, so I know the CZ21 is a capable performer. In my find lists from this machine are coins, chains, watches, rings and jewellery items (mostly junk or silver) – but this particular machine still needs to prove to me that it can find gold.

I bought my machine from MetalDetectors 4 Africa who are the official Fisher suppliers for South Africa – Contact Wolfgang Roux at http://www.metaldetectors4africa.com/

ralph - January 5, 2015 - 3:45 pm

11.7 grams stamped PT950 yeah baby, happy January to me.

admin - January 6, 2015 - 12:49 pm

UPDATE: The machine just found me a gold ring, so its slowly proving itself :)

A Beach Hunters Tale – 2014

I don’t often include other peoples articles in my blogs but I came across this one today and thought it would be a really great article to end off the year with.

It is written by a local South African metal detectorist (or treasure hunter as I prefer to call him) who has done exceptionally well this year and who truly inspires me. His name is Henry Clapton and he has kindly given me permission to post his article and pictures. Please enjoy!

***********************************

It’s time to look back on 2014 and take stock, not just physical stock but mental as well. Having being detecting for 20 plus years and not taking things seriously; 2013 / 2014 saw a change in my lifestyle. Metal Detecting was one of them. I decided to set personal goals, the beaches being my challenge and finding gold my ultimate goal. Hunting means many things too many people and we all have our reasons for doing and enjoying this hobby. I made finding gold my challenge due to it being so difficult to locate, but also knowing it is there in large quantities. The key and challenge is how to get at it.

This story was not written for bragging rights, but to show you and what is possible. There are many hunters here in SA that have tally’s larger than mine in many many ways. So many factors come into play when we have to show figures and lay the cards on the table. Time and good equipment was number one on my list. Basic knowledge of your quarry, how it behaves and where it lives is a close second. I forced myself to play to a given set of rules and the results were astounding when one applies these rules.

My driving force was not personal enrichment as many would think. It was pitting my skills against the elements and the ever presence of the grinding competition this hobby commands.
It was a good year looking back. I have grown and still am. I had to draw knowledge from great local and international hunters to get to where I am today. The support and willingness to share info and techniques was invaluable and I thank you all. Being able to ask, listen and apply was crucial.

The finds:
In the past I would not record any items of value and had no system of keeping track of my finds. It was time I got organised. In the latter part of 2013 when the penny dropped, I kicked into top gear. Every find of value is recorded, especially gold. Gold and silver are weighed, bagged and tagged. I keep a meticulous photographic record of the days finds. Photos of the location and current conditions came into play on many occasions when returning to a site.

The ever presence of coins was a big speed bump in my book. Dig em out or leave them and cover more productive ground. In 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I was digging an average of R1000 in usable coins per month! I’m down to about R 200 per month now. Eventually I saw the coins as the beaches way of slowing me down. Very cleaver Neptune! I eventually got over my pre-programmed mindset of having to dig coins; it was difficult at first but no more. I’m not here to collect coins. My coin count is ridiculously low for 2014.

2014 Finds:
1 x Platinum ring, 76 x Gold rings, 18 x other gold items (283.2gr in total).
32 x Silver rings (76.8gr), 16 x Silver coins and 47 x other silver items (205.8gr), 2 x Titanium rings.
25KG’s of lead, 954 x pull tabs (yes, I kept them all) and 164 x junk rings.
It is actually quite amazing to look at all the items I kept over a 12 month period. Each item represents a signal and a hole……..that’s a lot of holes!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND HAPPY HUNTING IN 2015 !!

– Written by Henry Clapton, December 2014

Ralph - December 23, 2014 - 8:40 pm

Quite a lot of stuff. I enjoyed seeing the photos as well. Personally I cannot wait to empty my moonbag’s contents into the recycling bag.

Lindsey - January 5, 2015 - 11:00 pm

Hi – I am writing a bit of fiction for a Writer’s Circle I belong to. I am battling to find out what happens to found / buried objects worth quite a bit. My main character in my story is digging for jewellery that was buried by his jewel thief father. Someone told me that you can never trade this in as every jeweller has a record of the precious stones and metal he has in stock. All else has to be declared – so therefore there would be no point to finding buried treasure? Is this so? what happens with the stuff you find? Do you sell it to secondhand shops or jewellers or how does it work? Surely the value would decrease dramatically if it went to a secondhand shop? Thanking you, Lindsey

Youtube Channel

I have decided to make a few metal detecting videos of my digs, so you can watch and subscribe to my channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Mav747/videos

Here is the first one, I look forward to making more videos soon…


 

Gary - June 19, 2014 - 1:38 pm

Well done you posted a great video, thanks mate

admin - June 19, 2014 - 6:11 pm

Thank you, I appreciate the comment.

Ralph - July 4, 2014 - 2:13 pm

Dig that coin.

Detecting accessories

There are so many different metal detecting accessories on the market – as they say, too many choices leads to much confusion. I will give you an insight as to what accessories I have found most useful in making my hunting easier but ultimately you will need to decide for yourself what will work best for you and your style of detecting.

  • PRO POINTER

propointer

 

The pro pointer will help you locate a target quickly and easily.

I know I mentioned in a previous blog post that you probably wont use this at the beach (as you will use your beach scoop instead) but I was very very wrong! Even at the beach, the Garrett brand I use works wonders in both the dry and wet sand as an addition to the scoop when I am battling to find the target. A little handy tip, if you switch on the pointer and place it in the wet sand, you will get false signals. Switch it off, place it in the wet sand and then only switch it on – this allows the pointer to adjust to the wet sand environment and it will then search with no false signals.

So at the beach, park or wherever else I may be digging, this is one invaluable little tool that comes with me everywhere. Highly recommended.

 

  • BEACH SCOOPS

metalhandscooplongbeachscoopMost of us enjoy beach detecting, probably the easiest place to pick up gold / silver jewellery and modern coins – so when your detector picks up a signal, you gonna need to dig that sand! The idea is really simple, scoop up sand in the target area, let the sand fall through the scoop holes and your gold ring (or more likely a pull tab or bottle top) remains in the scoop.

The little hand scoop comes in two varieties, a metal and a plastic version. The plastic version some prefer as it wont interfere with your detector but this scoop is good for the dry sand only. The metal scoop is more hardy and will work better in the wet sand but still not ideal. Firstly, it becomes a bit of a back breaker to bend over on each dig and scoop up the sand, and secondly with the wet sand, the sand is not going to flow out the holes with ease – it takes a lot of effort to shake the scoop and get the wet sand out through the holes.

That brings us to the metal scoop with long handle. This is what I have been using of late, mine being made of steel and is pretty darn heavy but rock solid. The idea is you can scoop without bending down, so much more comfortable and I find this method the easiest for both dry and wet sand. The drawback is you carrying an accessory that is more likely the same size in length as your detector, and slightly more heavy! I am sure there are much lighter ones on the market compared to the one I use but I like the fact that mine looks indestructible…

  • BEACH BOOTIES

reef

In summer, it really does not matter, you can go bare foot if you wish, but in winter my feet would freeze especially at some of the Cape Town beaches on the Atlantic side so I decided to get something thats gonna keep my feet warm. I found a pair of Reef diving booties at Sportsmans Warehouse for around R400 and they do the job perfectly. They have rubber grip at the bottom, a zipper on the side with neoprene material behind it so no water or sand gets in. It is important to note that I only detect on the wet sand and not in the water, but this way when I am detecting on the wet sand and the water runs over my feet as the wave breaks, my feet stay completely dry.

 

  • LESCHE DIGGER

lesche

 

There are many choices when it comes to digging and I started off using a cheap mini garden spade. After research, it quickly became apparent that the Lesche digger was the industry standard with exceptional reviews all round. I quickly ordered one and it did not disappoint. Extremely tough, I doubt I will be able to bend or break it even in tough conditions.

Be careful when purchasing though, the digger comes in two options, with the serrated edge on the left or on the right side of the digger.

It does not necessarily mean that if you left handed, you get the serrated edge on the left, you need to figure out how you dig and which side will work best for you. For me it was even more confusing, I am right handed but unlike most people, when I eat food, I have the knife in my left hand rather than the right. Most people think thats weird, I think its normal and that everyone else is just weird!

So be careful when buying…

 

 

  • TREASURE POUCHtreasurepouch

Your pockets will soon become very full if you don’t have some sort of a pouch for your finds and trash. Most pouches are divided into two sections, one for your finds and one for your trash. I used to have an open pouch but I was a little paranoid that I could lose some of my finds when bending over that I decided to get the Garrett Camo Treasure Pouch. It zips closed, so no chance of losing anything, is made of high quality material and the pro pointer and accessories fit nicely on to the front of the pouch. Once you open the first zipper, there is place for a large amount of trash and then there is a second zipper inside with a smaller section for all your finds. So it’s really secure – not sure why they made the smaller section so small though, I thought it could have been a little bit bigger but I am yet to prove that I need more space than provided for my finds.

 

So those are the basic accessories that I use and recommend but again you will need to find things that work for you – at the end of the day it’s all about making your digging experience that much easier.

 

Treasure Hunter - May 30, 2014 - 8:19 pm

Good reviews.

I know I must get those booties, my crocs in the saltwater not working, got a blister!

I did find a knife today and bought a ‘modified’ spade from Cash Crusaders for R20!

Lasher as well.

limacon - November 30, 2014 - 3:50 am

https://www.academia.edu/9554076/KhoiSan_Treasure

Large reserves hidden since pandemics .

Reality of detecting

I love reality shows, I really do but with so much competition of reality tv shows on the market today, the media production houses seem to have taken the ‘reality’ out of reality tv shows.

I was watching “American Digger” with Ric Savage and they happened to stumble upon this buried metal milk canister whilst detecting. They got it out of the ground and found it was actually someones buried treasure which was filled with pennies and coins from back in the day. What happened next out of nowhere, they found a pouch which was buried in amongst the coins, and to everyones suspense, in the pouch was a 1907 $20 double eagle gold coin which they estimated a worth value of $30 000.

Now, I cant prove, nor do I want to prove that this was fake – but lets be honest, it would be a pretty boring tv show if all they found was bottle tops and pull tabs! I am convinced they plant “good finds” in order to make the show more exciting…

Either way, fake or not, its these kind of shows that still trigger our interest to get out there and hopefully find some gold, silver or rare items. Well it did for me anyway, so I decided to get up at the crack of dawn and hit a park I have never detected before, just down the road from where I stay behind a large shopping mall.

I have not detected in a while, so this was actually rather exciting, especially since the 1907 double eagle was fresh in my mind from the TV show I watched the night before.  From the moment I switched on my detector, I got signal after signal, right next to each other. This place was full of metal, so I decided to turn on the discrimination pattern on my Etrac to find only coins and started the hunt…

On my first signal, I dug and found some metal junk, oh well, in the pouch it goes to help clean up the park, however on the same hole I dug my Pro Pinpointer had found another signal. A light dig later and a coin! Excitement quickly dissipated when I discovered it was only a 2009 five cent coin – but still, a coin! Into the seperate section of my pouch for my finds did the 5c coin go. (My pouch is divided into two sections, one for finds and one for junk)

Thereafter it was signal after signal, dig after dig, junk after junk! Pull taps, bottle tops, metal wrappings and just peoples litter everywhere! It was hard work and the only reward was knowing that I had cleaned up the park… a lot!

At the end of my session, I had 1 find in the good section of my pouch, and the junk side was full. I guess this is more the reality of detecting, rather than what we see on the TV shows.

One thing we can learn from this – please don’t litter – its not fair to the environment, nor to the detectorist trying to find some treasure.

mike silverman - January 24, 2014 - 3:26 am

Your article is really amazing. That is the life of metal detectorist. Sometimes, things will not go on our way. And, that is just part of life. Whoever you are, you will surely experience such way of life.

Well… when it comes to metal detecting, in order to become fortunate in treasure hunting, I advice you to also considering where or what places to search to. Swimming areas are a most likely jewelries and coins tend to lost and found.

Iván Suárez Montes - February 9, 2014 - 6:57 pm

Really good the post. Thank you for sharing your experiences and to do it so well

Natasha Wilmot - March 18, 2014 - 6:53 am

I also watched Diggers and the others on the TV and although they were great fun and certainly inspiring, I did notice a lot of comments on the likes of Utube that, although they did find these items, these shows were re enactments! I often did wonder how on the shows, they suddenly had an excavator just around the corner :)