I have decided to make a few metal detecting videos of my digs, so you can watch and subscribe to my channel here:
Here is the first one, I look forward to making more videos soon…
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.
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.
Most 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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
PLEASE NOTE: This is an old post – we have an updated article on which detector for a beginner which can be found here:
This is a question I get asked many times by my blog visitors… “Which detector should I buy and where should I buy it from”?
I too am a novice when it comes to metal detecting but I decided on the Minelab Etrac and I think its a wonderful machine. I did lots of research before buying and for me personally, I wanted a machine I could “grow” into rather than replace when I got more involved in the hobby. However, this came at a price – both in terms of complexity and in actual purchase price. If you fortunate enough to have lots of cash, enjoy a bit of a learning curve and have big arms (it does get heavy after detecting for more than an hour) then I would happily recommend the Etrac. It has wonderful reviews, I have nothing to complain about mine (except that it could be lighter) and am sure you would be very happy with your new purchase.
Alas, to the newbie that wants to get involved in the metal detecting hobby, I would much rather recommend a completely different machine. Please note here that I have never used this machine personally but from all my hours of research on the internet it is quite easily seen as the preferred machine of choice for the beginner because of the much lighter price tag as well as it being, well a very good machine.
It is in fact the Garrett Ace 250. This machine sits nicely in the price market for beginners yet the machine includes some key important features:
Electronic Pinpointing – This will allow you to precisely locate a target and will save you time when digging (Note that the Garrett Ace 150 does not support this feature)
Some other features found in the ACE 250:
As Gene Scullion puts it “The Garrett Ace 250 is very light on weight yet heavy on features and performance”. Read his full review on this machine here:
Please note, once you have your machine there is one more little gadget you might want to consider purchasing. Its called the Garrett Pro-pointer. This pin pointer has set the standard in metal detecting and in my opinion is the best pin pointer available. Once your machine has found a target, its up to you to start digging. This pin pointer gives audible alerts to let you know if you digging in the right direction and how close you are to your target. You would not use something like this at the beach (as you would be using a scoop instead) but it certainly will come in handy everywhere else!
In terms of beach hunting, I believe that the machine works wonders on dry sand but does give some difficulty and false alerts in the wet sand. The machine is not perfect but for the price, it certainly is hard to beat.
Doculam are the official Garrett Agents in South Africa, you can buy this machine (as well as any other Garrett machine) and the Garrett Pro-pointer online here:
You can use coupon code “TH05” and you will receive 5% discount on your order of any of the Garrett products!
I found this youtube clip which gives great insight into this machine. Enjoy!
My folks have gone overseas and asked me to look after their house – a perfect time to dig up the garden without getting any moans from the old man 🙂
For the few times that I have used my detector, I always have had some sort of discrimination on. (Coin or beach mode etc) so I decided this time to turn the discrimination off and work with a completely open screen to pick up everything that the detector can find. I now know why those modes were created! beep beep beep beep beep everywhere…
I had watched an episode of “Diggers” on DTSV last night – so that sparked my interest to get out and dig again but this time just wanted to get used to listening for the different tones it was picking up. To be honest, I was not even planning to dig anything, just wanted to wonder around listening! Yeah right – what are the chances of that, you all of a sudden pick up a different tone, the numbers look good on the screen – forget everything I said, time to DIG!
I was very impressed with the accuracy of the Etrac, dug and found my finds quickly and easily. The lesche digger tool certainly helps and I highly recommend this baby for digging anything although I still need to work on plugging more neatly.
First find – looks like a war relic! In my garden! Its a rifle shell of some sort, what the heck? This got me excited to dig around some more. Next signal and I pick up what looks to be a gold ring. Seriously, a bullet shell and gold ring in my first two finds (and I had been over this garden before except remember last time I had discrimination on).
My third find was a lot less interesting – a rusty old nail. I must me honest, I was not out for very long and decided to pack it away as I was too excited to rather get a good look at my first two amazing finds.
I need to find out how to clean these things – its extremely difficult to tell what anything is if it has been underground for so long. I now have my doubts about the gold ring (which looks more like a band rather than a ring) – perhaps its just a copper ring that is used for pipes or something? Gold is not meant to tarnish but it can discolor a little if it reacts with certain elements, so who knows. How the heck do I find out what metal content it has…
I need to google to find some more answers…. but one big question remains, what else lies beneath the garden?