Something Old & Something New…

Please note this is a “personal” blog…not a website or forum.  In addition to metal detecting, I may also talk about my family, my dogs, my love of food and wine, my musical background, my memories, my aches, pains, warts and whatever else enters my mind.  You can also expect my opinions and views on a wide range of subjects.  

There are no guarantees you will come away a better treasure hunter or a wiser individual.  Read on at your own risk….

A Day In the Life of a Bubba…Stuck in Texas…

At the moment I am dealing with a minor car problem, and non-existent funds (a.k.a., I’m broke).  Hoping son-in-law Anthony, the auto mechanic, can find a solution. The thought of taking it into the dealership is not something I want to think about, especially this time of year.  They have this knack of making any problem a lot worse than you thought.

Anyway I don’t have any “quality” material or “useful” information to pass along, but will do my best to come up with something next time aroundIn the meantime I decided to resurrect a blog post from April 2012, and also share John Howland’s latest contribution to the Malamute Saloon. 


Not sure about you, but it seems that everyone who enjoys this pastime is talking about relic and water hunting. What happened to coinshooting? Are our ranks thinning? Are the coins disappearing? What’s up?

When I started in the 70’s, most everyone searched for old coins, and we were finding them with some regularity. This preoccupation continued for quite some time, and if my ability to gauge time periods is correct, it started changing in the late 80’s. Not that we coin hunters stopped looking…. just that the manufacturers realized beach and shallow water hunting was becoming popular.

Detecting the beach was pretty easy, and finding just one gold ring made your day.  The rush was then on, and all the manufacturers started designing models that were supposedly entirely waterproof. I use the word “supposedly” loosely because I knew of a few that were not!  In the past few years relic hunting has taken off, and I think it’s partly because of rural areas becoming more readily available, and because of the just “dig everything” approach.

Now, having said all that, we coin hunters have to start speaking up, promoting our passion, and in particular the forgotten art of probing. Back in the early 80’s using a probe was not all that uncommon. If you wanted to hunt a small town park or homesite, you had to be proficient in this method of recovery. Being able to “bring up a coin” neatly was the test, and the price of admission to many good areas. Today? Not sure 99% of detectorists even have a probe, and it just might be that’s why we are facing so many restrictions?

My tools of choice….

I don’t intend to dwell on this subject, but when I see all the many YouTube detecting videos I see large plugs being dug, and many times replaced hastily. Yes, I sometimes see drop cloths being used, but why aren’t we seeing anyone probing, and why isn’t it being promoted by the manufacturers and clubs?

Probing is not all that difficult, and with a little practice you can become quite proficient….

  1. Once you pinpoint your target with your detector, insert the probe in the ground where you think the target is located.
  2. Setting your detector down, probe the area until you actually touch the coin (target).
  3. Lift the probe slightly and push forward about three or four inches (keeping tip centered on the target). Then do the same from left to right. This leaves you with an “X”(or at least I hope so) in the ground (while the tip of the probe is still centered on the target).
  4. Then, either using your probe or a long handled screwdriver, gently pry the coin to the surface.
  5. Once you have the find in hand, push the folds of the grass back together and continue on detecting.

I looked long and hard online for a video demonstration but was not able to come up with one. If you have or know of one please let me know. It’s an art that needs reviving, and one that just might take you to all the right places….

“In my mind, I am this awesome, adventurous bad ass. But in reality I am just a bookworm that really likes wine”…..S.L. Jennings






BS Rules, OK!

The other day while taking a break with a flask of coffee, I noticed several detectorists (all using arm-and-a-leg jobbies) flogging the low tide foreshore apparently to no avail,  when one shouts out (for the benefit of everyone else) that he’s made a find about 18” down. Ho, Ho, thinks I, 18” down in wet sand….who’s he kiddin’….he’d be lucky to recover anything eight inches down let alone eighteen…..

What big-mouth didn’t realise and had no way of knowing, was that I already had 7-grams of 9-carat in the bag recovered from the top end of the beach where the sea-weed decorates the high-tide line. Then again, I suppose when you’ve shelled out a shed load of hard earned mazuma and are finding ‘Henry Hall’s’ brother, a little embellishment rarely goes amiss.

And Talking of 18”…

There he was, coming towards me, like the Grim Reaper…swinging – or more correctly, flailing – one of those top-end machines that costs in excess of $1,500. “Found anything?” Says the Reaper?

“Nah,” I lie, “You?”

“Only a penny,” says the Reaper, then looking down at my detector, “These are so light I can go all day, and deep,”  he says triumphantly, waving his machine aloft. Certainly the Reaper’s detector is arguably one of the lightest on the market with good depth. After exchanging further pleasantries he heads off down the beach a la, Dim Reaper, swinging the coil in an arc with lowest part a minimum of 18” off the sand and at the end of each swing his coil is 24” above the sand.

Why, I pondered would anyone spend the kind of money his brand commands, then use it in a manner that wouldn’t outperform a child’s metal detector?   Beats me. On the downside, I see this technique replicated many times over. On the upside, the goodies are safe!

Consider…. (A real favourite of mine)

….Don‘t get mad, get even!

I’ll see y’all in the bar!



Button Gallery (thanks to Robert James Ellis)

2000 Year Old Coins Found (thanks to John Winter)

Ancient Louisiana City Older Than Pyramids?

The Future of Archaeology is NOT Digging Anything Up





Filed under Metal Detecting

9 responses to “Something Old & Something New…

  1. wendell

    I still use my probe on shallow targets and thank the late Uncle Willy from the Garrett forum on Find’s for sending me some information on this.
    I combine my pro-pointer and probe to speed things up and it works quite well and pop the shallow coins out.
    It’s faster, neater and looks better especially in a park.
    Instead of using a drop cloth for targets too deep to pop out, I cut a shallow plug and then remove the dirt and put in in a small Frisbee I carry and then pour it back in once I recover my target and fold the plug neatly into place.

  2. Bigtony

    I use a probe for the shallow targets from surface to just over three inches. I use a screwdriver and it wears the tip out just by using it. I had a longer probe made of brass – probably nine inches.
    Some days to relax – I will lower my sensitivity and just coin shoot using only a probe.
    This is a hobby\sport so you don’t always have to be the best treasure hunter out there. Take some time and enjoy it!

  3. Andy Baines

    Haha John your so right, its great watching the guys with the top end machines on the beach swinging their machines coil so high that it looks like they are sending it into orbit. They also have so many know it all tips so that I too can find gold rings just like them, only I cant apparently because I don’t use a £1.5k detector.

    I bet in the 4 years I have been detecting I have found far more gold and silver than they have with their 5 times more expensive machines. Knowledge of your local beach areas will always outperform an expensive detector.


  4. Wendell

    I just carry the Frisbee in my hand but had plans to put a small hole in the side and put some heavy duty green twine thru it and put a know in it and hand it from my finds pouch where I have my pro-pointer holster, probe and screwdriver. Just haven’t gotten around to it. I use a carabiner clip to hook it to the loops in my finds pouch, like I do my floating sifter when I detect in the water.

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