What Floats Your Boat?

The heat has finally started to abate and miracle of miracles we’ve had a rain shower or two.  Sadly however the folks on the coast are dealing with hurricane Laura and she has not been kind. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and find a way to help if you can.


Well the Garrett Apex has shipped and tekkies are biting at the bit to give it a go. Forget what the Garrett rock stars and field testers said, this detector is about to be used, abused, loved and hated. The rubber will meet the road and the you know what will hit the fan. From what I see and hear the Apex should be a winner, but again the final analysis comes when John and Jane Doe detectorist get their hands on it.

Question – If you have an Apex or have one on order tell me, other than wanting a new toy, what exactly was it that enticed you to buy? What made you plunk down your hard earned money on this particular detector? I’m not asking to criticize. We all have our reasons for wanting a new detector and no matter what they are they’re valid. It’s your money and nobody’s business (but I’m asking anyway).

Is it the multi-frequencies (Multi-Flex), the built-in wireless, new Viper coil, the six hunting modes, weight, tonal ID or are you simply a die in the wool Garrett groupie? And it’s okay too if you are, every manufacturer has their loyal following.  I know a few Fisher freaks, Minelab minions and Deus diehards. I think I may have become a Nokta nut (or maybe Simplex simpleton is more appropriate)!

Next question – Once you get your detector where will you take it and how will you judge it’s performance? It’s worth? I’m guessing you’ll take it back to that site you’ve hammered for the past few years and see if it will turn up something new and exciting, but what if it doesn’t, then what? What happens if you take it to a few places and nothing much is found. How long will it take for you to give it a passing or failing grade?

Social media will soon be lighting up with in-the-field experiences and we’ll find out just how good the Garrett Apex is. Remember when reading them that a detector is only as good as the individual using it, and that it will not find treasure where it doesn’t exist. 


My Simplex+

I’ve been playing around with the Simplex, becoming more comfortable with the various controls and functions, and I’m also about to spring for the 8 inch coil. All of which is very baffling. You see I’m not a fan of pads/buttons, nor am I enamored of searchcoils over seven or eight inches but for some reason I’m smitten with this machine, especially the basics like crisp audio responses, good target separation, spot on pinpointing and oh yeah I love the wireless headphones.

I will add the Simplex has a helluva lot of very cool features that this aging tekkie probably won’t make use of, like a built-in flashlight, a vibration mode and being waterproof (submersible to ten feet), BUT they’re there if I should need them and hey who knows, I could slip, fall in the water, drown and Fay would be pleased that the detector was still working….



Originally posted in 2016 this is a three-peat!!


You all know how much I love forums, but I must tell you I routinely check them to see what’s going on in this wacky world of detecting and from time to time I do learn something that helps me be a better detectorist. They’re also good for a few laughs. So since you didn’t ask….a few observations.


“Know it All Ken” – Ken Is the guru on the forum and for that matter all the forums. No matter the topic or question he has the answer.

“Nobody’s older Nick” – no matter how long you’ve been detecting Nick has been doing it longer. He built the first detector with Alexander Graham Bell, knew the lost Dutchman, helped Mel Fisher find the Atocha and was Karl von Mueller’s best friend.

“I can fix it Frank” – No matter what’s wrong with your detector Frank can fix it. Not for real, just online.

“I’ll kick your ass Al” – takes offense to anyone telling him he’s wrong. Fifty years of detecting automatically makes him bad ass.

“Just shoot ’em Jake” – no matter the topic or category Jake thinks a gun will fix the problem.

“Screw it up Sam” – just shows up and starts arguments.

“Welcome aboard Wally” – never offers any useful information but is very good at “welcome” and “Alabama here”….

“Video Vick” – can be counted on to post at least one video every other day. Doesn’t matter if he didn’t find anything interesting …he’s just sure you want to watch him dig holes.

“Has ‘em all Harry” – Harry apparently has every detector made and lists them under his moniker. Wouldn’t be surprised if he has a big collection of willow twigs under his bed.

“What’s the best Willy” – Willy will tell you what to buy, where to buy and how much you should pay for it. Has only one detector but knows how the rest of them work.

“Charter Member Chuck” – Chuck boasts over 200,000 posts, shows up every day, all day and can be counted on to reply to every single post, no matter the category.

“Let’s see you beat this Larry” has the only detector that can detect a penny at two feet. No matter what you say HIS detector is better.

“Forum owner Fred” – tries to keep order, bans any mention of dealers or brands that aren’t helping his bottom line and swears he’s unbiased and fair.

doctor ________________________


“Do you carry a gun when you go detecting” Goes with the camo and we all know nothing gets that homeowner’s permission quicker than the sight of a Smith & Wesson.

“What is the best metal detector” good for a thousand replies, lots of biases and no real definitive answer.

“Smoking pot”nothing like having a clear head, empty pockets and a court date.

“How many detectors do you own” cause the more you have the better your chances of your wife leaving.

”What am I doing wrong” 100 replies and 20 different fixes.

“Do coins sink deeper over time” nobody knows the answer to this and honestly who really gives a shit?

“Gal new to the hobby” count on a thousand views, 500 replies and 100 offers to show her in person how to do it (detecting that is).

Of course if you posted something like “metal detecting to be banned in the in Southwest you would see 30 views and 0 replies because hey if it doesn’t affect me who gives a rat’s ass.


I’ve been envious for years of some of the cool names tekkies use on forums. Names like Relic Nut, Beepbeep, Deftones and Adambomb. Thinking I might get rid of Dick Stout and go with something like Digitforme, Cantgetup, IBhurtin or Mannytabs…..


….I usually go right away to my favorites like Dumpster Diving, Sluicing, Spelunking and Trommeling (what the hell is trommeling?). Given these popular categories why not one called “Seniors who drink”? Of course they could save space and condense a lot of the categories into just one called “Bullshit”.


Okay, now that I’ve pissed off every forum owner, admin, and groupie, have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year, have one for me and take what I say with a grain of salt. I’m old, cranky and on my third glass of red.






Filed under Metal Detecting

43 responses to “What Floats Your Boat?

  1. Joe Patrick

    What exactly was it that enticed me to buy an Apex?

    I almost don’t know where to begin as the Apex, to me, is so well done and has most all of the features I have wanted in a single metal detector for such a long time.

    Foremost perhaps is its light weight and large ID numbers – both very important to me as an older detectorist. Then, it is the selectable operating frequencies coupled with the multi-frequency modes. I am a big fan of multi-frequency operation. Overall, the Apex just has the right combination of features to aid in searching most any site. It is amazing too that you get all of this at a street price of around $425. With its wireless capability and every other feature I think it is an absolute bargain. What remains is to see exactly how well it performs in the field. My Apex has been ordered and is now being shipped. I have not had hands on yet but I don’t expect to be disappointed. My biggest concern is will the multi-frequency (Multi-Flex) modes work as well as my past and present multi-frequency detectors. That to me is the big question. If it does, or nearly does, the Apex is a winner for sure! I very much look forward to using it in the field!

    I will hunt my favorite old haunts as well as some new ones. I still like to hunt old parks and wooded sites. I like to “cherry pick” so called hunted-out sites recovering yet but a few more old and silver coins. It’s a challenge that I love! I really don’t anticipate selling the Apex and think that I will be using it for a long time to come. I have a few other metal detectors in my arsenal that I have successfully used for over 30+ years. Like them, I think the Apex is here to stay!

    • Joe, had a feeling you (and Bob) would respond….you’re Garrett guys deep down.

      Promise to write a follow-up to the Apex once you get it. I know you’ll give it a honest review.

  2. Bob Sickler

    OK Dick, here goes, you asked for it… I just purchased the Apex yesterday and I am eagerly awaiting delivery. I’ve had my name on a list to do so for awhile. I have been a Garrett enthusiast all my metal detecting life starting in 1977-78 with the push-button Deepseeker. In recent years I took to the AT series (starting with the PRO) because for me sophistication has always been simplicity. I like having adjustment options in full-view and accessible with the push of a soft button interface, not having to wade through endless cascading menus on screen. I’m a large hater of using annoying voltage controlled oscillators (VCO) to pinpoint my targets! Garrett seems to have evaded needing to use this to entice customers! I like the fact Garrett seems to listen carefully to what their customers are saying and are constantly doing their homework before a release. They build on solid, high-quality platforms and strive to improve their strong points… And I hear their customer service is second to none, although I’ve never had to return a detector to the factory for repair in the 42 years I’ve used them.

    The Apex has all the features (and more) of what I like about the AT-Max, excepting water submersion. Fact is I’m not a water hunter, so having a detector that is only rainproof is just perfect for me. My Max has an incredible depth range. No lie, it detected a colonial era plow-horse shoe the length of my arm. I touched the shoe with my fingertips after my armpit was touching ground… That’s 28″. The mineral reference for balance that day was 89 (high). The pre-dig signal in Iron Audio ON (Zero disc mode) was very repeatable and low. I knew the target was iron clearly and I couldn’t resist the temptation knowing the amount of time the field was a crop field. I had no idea it would be that deep! Impressive to say the least. If the Apex can match the performance of the Max, be a whole pound lighter, have better balance with a lower center of gravity, be more efficient at finding highly conductive targets in iron mineralized ground using multiple frequency options (singularly or collectively), have a larger more visible display and maintain the simplicity of operation, then I think I just bought a helluva nice detector for a not so large price! For me, it’s efficiency and comfort in the field, no straps, no belts, no headphone wires, that in itself is worth buying a new detector for. Hell, I even like the color scheme! 🙂

    If you enjoy reading about “signs”, you’ll love this… The day I heard about and saw the new Apex release, there appeared a small group of American Goldfinches out in my gravel driveway for the first time this year…. Hmmm, where did I just see black and yellow? It was like Charles was trying to tell me something! A few days later, as this new Garrett was now really on my mind, I was helping my wife unravel and setup a long garden hose at my father-in-laws home. At the faucet end of the hose there was a yellow plastic strain relief. As I attached the hose, the yellow strain relief revealed an embossed brand name… “APEX”! Whoa! 🙂

    • Bob you really need to write ad copy for the company…..

      “At the faucet end of the hose there was a yellow plastic strain relief. As I attached the hose, the yellow strain relief revealed an embossed brand name… “APEX”! Whoa! :-)”

      • Bob Sickler

        Great reply Dick! That’s about what it felt like at the time! 🙂 Fact is Charles Garrett did try to hire me many years ago, but the Sickler family has resided in the same state since 1730 and I’d hate to leave home. Joe Patrick and I are truly excited about the new Apex and it was a concerted effort to get this new detector. As Joe so accurately pens, it is a detector that has everything we both have wanted in a detector for years. I can assure you we both are not connected to, nor receive compensation for what we preach about Garrett detectors. They are just a well-built, quality made original American product! We just happen to be old fans!

      • I know you are and was just bustin’ your chops. I also knew when I framed this post the way I did you two would be the first to respond.

        From all I’ve heard the Apex is a darn good detector.

      • john taylor

        hi bob!
        when you say it was a ”concerted effort to get this new detector” could you possibly expand on this?…thanks!


    • Bob hope you too will share your views on the Apex, after you have had time to put it through it’s paces….

  3. Tony

    Dick,I am wondering if the Apex has a “Beltone” like the older Garrett’s did? That familiar sound of a coin!
    Oh yeah, and Dick that one about how deep will a coin go after so much time…..that one made me laugh

    • I do remember that belltione. I had an AT3 with it. Don’t think the Apex has it.

      The “how deep” question will not go away and will never have an answer. Have one for me Tony.

  4. The Apex sells in the UK for £459.95. It’s worth in the price = performance equation precisely that. It’s likely to perform better – generally speaking – than a £349.95 machine, but, there’s no way it can compete with the performance of a machine costing £1,200.00.

    Top-end machines are for discerning Tekkies who know which way is up and want a machine they can tune to local conditions; frequency; ground conditions; iron rejection; recovery speed; and visual display variations … to name but a few options.

    It’s a bit like saying that a Ford Mustang is comparable to a top-end Ferrari, or a fiddle to a Stradivarius. Both can knock out a tune but it’s the Strad that excuses class. In both cases it takes a maestro to get the best out of them. Horses for courses.

    I blame the ignorance of ivory-from-the-neck-up so-called ‘Field Testers.’ We had one in the UK the cognoscenti nick-named ‘Foggy’…because he was thick and wet. Hadn’t got a clue. Yet this numpty’s copy was taken on trust which says more about pisspoor editorial policy and know-nothing ‘editors’ than ‘Foggy’ himself.

    Then again, if a particular machine works for you…then you’ve cracked it and never mind the price.

    i’m just sayin’

    • I don’t know Bubba. I’ve known a few tekkies over the years who used low to mid range models and continually out-hunted others with more expensive machines. Experience and familiarity with your detector counts for a lot IMO.

      • John Howland

        I absolutely agree. It’s all down to the user. An expensive machine in the wrong or inexperienced hands is as much use as a concrete parachute. There’s no substitute for experience, and it always tells irrespective of the machine. Now, couple an experienced user with a top-end bit of kit and the finds will flow.

        There’s a mutual pal of ours in Eastern Europe who owns a metal detector. I doubt he could find a tart in a brothel. JMO.

      • You’re incorrect John. We don’t have any pals in Eastern Europe….

  5. John Devereux

    Hi Dick,
    Apart from the light weight I don’t see it matching my V3i. I now have a harness to clip it to so it’s no longer an issue. I agree with Mr Howland that the Apex won’t compete with the more expensive machines (how could it?)but the price is great for the functionality offered.
    Best from a wet and windy UK

    • John the key word here is “compete”. What exactly does that mean with regards to a metal detector? Does it mean one detector will “automatically” find more because it has more features or does it mean it will find more because the user is more competent and/or because it was more attuned to a particular site? i.e.was the frequency better/equal to the competing detector? The rules, rationales and deciding factors are hard to pin down precisely and because of that I will still go with the guy who knows his detector inside out.

      I hate to say it given hurricane Laura but we could use a wet and windy day here in north Texas. Have one for me John…..

  6. john taylor

    don’t think i would go to eastern europe.hear they gut commiies still livin’ there maybe is ok ,cuz they tore that wall down in ’89 thanks dick reagen!
    anyway the minelab 340,and 540 ‘dectors have been out now for around 10 months or so, and are tearin’ it up in “cooked” parks and other “burnt” places. talkin’ 3 year warranty, two coils in the “pro-pack” wireless,bonnet cover, and rechargeable batts ,with charger.i seen one up close and personal, and its build quality is exceptional for the scratch. the 340 at $179.00 and change has future ‘sleeper” written all over it!

    dick! your observation is interesting in that you ask the question: are you buying the apex to take to hammered spots to eke out a silver, or two!?..well.. this IS what i would want to do, and the vanquish is already proving to do just that! the point is, if the you buy the apex, and it “fails” to do that, then,IF your main purpose, once again is to just slam all your previous sites and you come up “empty” then you have wasted your dough, and you should have bought the “minelab” instead! ..i’m just sayin’


  7. John Devereux

    Hi Dick. Agreed. I should have clarified as in the adjustability of said detector, as the V3i can be adjusted (or messed up😂) in far more ways. It’s likely that for most, the permutations of adjustment will be more than sufficient. I’m sure it will do well at its price point. Regarding multi frequency detectors, the Equinox was much heralded by Minelab and the flunky detector magazines but incorrectly as the first MF detector. I sent an email to one of said publications correcting their assertions. No response of course. I also had an interesting chat with a younger club member regarding the Equinox. He didn’t realise that the V3i existed or was the first true MF detector. First with wireless headphones etc etc. I also pointed out the Equinox success was in no small way due to the very powerful advertising campaign embarked upon by Minelab. More units shifted = more users = more finds and the distorted perception of its abilities. As you and other more experienced detectorists have said, knowing your detector counts. In reality trying to compare detectors capabilities is very difficult and user reports are meaningless unless settings, soil conditions, sweep speeds and the other miriad variables are known. Me, I still don’t know what I don’t know 😂😂 but I still enjoy the suspense of not knowing what I’m going to find next.

    All the best from a still wet Eastbourne.

    • You are correct about the V3i features. I had forgotten. I had one and loved it, albeit a bit heavy. I remember “going for the green” and when I did the coins were there.

      • John Howland

        Yo Ricardo :

        When detecting got into its stride back in the 1980s machines were tuned to locate objects with 8” ‘standard’ coils; they being deemed to be the optimum performance diameter for ‘coin-sized’ targets. Gradually, larger diameter coils crept onto the scene as ‘standard’ coils (10” and 11”) and – Hey Presto! – Field Testers had new cliché: ”I was using my trusty ********* and I dug down 18”….” et al, ad nauseum. It was the most seductive ‘come hither’ line since Cleopatra got her claws into Mark Antony.

        Small wonder that coins were found deeper…these ‘Testers’ were using larger diameter coils. What these numpties didn’t tell their readers was the downside, that larger coils are less sensitive to small high-grade targets. The reasons behind this you’ve highlighted in your many books.

        The advances over the years have been cosmetic. Metal detectors while retaining the power outputs in line with the laws of physics, have become increasingly diagnostic thus enabling operators to alter frequencies; discrimination values; and the like, giving enhanced data about what’s under the coil. It’s the level of sophistication that separates individual makes and models. Nowadays, it’s all about target data and how that target data is disseminated and displayed to the operator.

        I thought John Devereaux summed it up rather succinctly and I imagine he’s canny enough to believe – unlike some – that you only get what you pay for.

    • john taylor

      hi john!
      as “tom dankowski” always says, “how can you know what you don’t know,IF you don’t know!”..just sayin’


  8. Joe Patrick

    Heads up John D. The first MF (multi-frequency) metal detector is the Minelab Sovereign.

  9. john taylor

    hi john! yes i’m simple like dick!,and i have invested in decent machines.ie: tesoro mojave, minelab vanquish 540 pro-pack,and other ”decent” detectors over the years.you are preaching to the choir “reverend!” what’s your excuse? the point is reverend!..you can consider a detector “decent” IF you know how it performs at the sites you take it to, and if you have developed “knowledge” over time of it’s operating parameters. THIS I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED,,soooo again what’s your excuse? dick stout, and me have “learned” all the detectors we “worked” with over the years, and dick IS correct, in that the man who “knows” his instrument (s) is a formidable adversary in the field for he ONLY uses “decent” detectors, and can out hunt others who use “decent” detectors ,BUT do NOT take the time to learn them! (simples, or not!) ehe! heh! he! ..i’m just sayin’


  10. Bob Sickler

    Hey guys…. The most productive detector you will ever experience is a good hunt site. I’ve owned way too many detectors over the years and the one that had the best performance was the detector that hunted a well researched location. Some of these forgotten locations could probably still be hunted successfully with a BFO in my opinion. To this day I have locations were colonial vintage targets can be just under the surface in wooded areas. If I had to bet on which person finds the most with a new detector, I’d bet on the person who has decades of hunting experience with one or two detectors, not somebody who owns a pile of detectors!

    • Absolutely and finding a good hunt site is becoming increasingly harder and harder. Don’t know what the answer is but I’m pretty sure the shovel played a big part in the problem. JMO.

      • John Devereux

        Thanks Dick though I have a harness to swing with.
        I am most definitely in agreement with you JH. Regarding large coils/tests of new machines. It can not be a coincidence that the club member I was talking to the other day has suddenly become the most prolific finder of really nice artifacts, the most recent a Saxon coin in almost perfect condition at a depth of 15 inches. Big coils rule on pasture. They may not get amongst the bits and pieces but they do find stuff that would otherwise be missed. As in all things the multitude of variables all play their part in us hopefully finding the illusive valuable artifact.
        Best from a now sunny and windy Eastbourne.

      • john taylor

        this is very true! digging with a ‘sampson” in a public venue is NOT the smartest play, where conservation of the hobby is concerned!


    • john taylor

      this is ‘” dead nuts” accurate. possessing a “gaggle” of detectors does NOT make one an accomplished hunter. the time spent to “learn” one, or two detectors is generally all that is required to hunt successfully “anywhere” of course, research, properly done, has always factored into how successful one can be, coupled with detector knowledge of ” audio” performance, and operating parameters.beware the man who knows only one detector,and knows it well, for he will be a formidable opponent on any hunting site, public,or private.


      • Bob Sickler

        J.T…. To answer your question asked above about my “concerted effort” to purchase the Apex… Joe Patrick and I are very close friends and we spend a lot of time communicating about a lot of things that interest us both. We both agree the Garrett Apex is a rather good design and it is detector that could fill a lot of wants and needs both of us have had. I suspect we both will report back here on what was expected and what we had fulfilled. It’s a bit early in the year for me to start hunting because I generally like hunting when the bugs can’t eat me for lunch anymore and I have to layer up to stay warm.

  11. john taylor

    too late now! mogan-david’s stock just split! gotta run out and get another case.gonna get me a piece of “minelab” too!. (hot damn!) i’m just sayin’


  12. John

    Well what can I tell you? As if by magic a CTX 3030 has just appeared in my shed. Chap who owned it just wasn’t using it. Still in warranty and came with the addition of the 17″ Smart coil. (Because it needs to make up for my lack of smarts 😂😂) This is a great hobby especially if you like gadgets which I confess I do as I come from an electronics and computing background. A bit different to the hobby detector my Dad and I made when I was a kid. Coil on that was wound on a wooden former. 😁😁
    Keep on digging.
    Best from a chilly Eastbourne.

    • John you will need to take a few pain killers after swinging that 3030. At least people will think your weed eating and not bother you. Good luck!

  13. John Howland

    Hi JT:
    The final eight lines of your post are precisely what I’ve been saying for decades. Good to know we’re singing from the same hymn sheet.

    In the hands of an experienced user, I believe that only a fully-analytical machine will make the unknown, known, to a far greater degree than a non-analytical one.

    i’m just sayin’

  14. For the record if you replying to “particular comment” use the “reply” link underneath. Appreciate you all….

  15. john taylor

    excellent point john! (well taken) precisely the reasoning behind my recent purchase of minelab’s vanquish.i want to “catch a break” (if you will) in all of the “beat up” places i have hunted the last 30 years, or so. just knowing a detector’s audio is, alas,apparently NOT enough any more with regards to enticing “deeper, junk choked” items into my pouch, hence the purchase of the minelab.it’s ”dirt balls” cheap comes with the two coils, and has been “proven” in the field for the last 10 months, or so. best of luck with your 3030,but i suspect, with out a ‘harness”you “may” encounter great difficulty “bending your elbow” at your local watering hole!..i’m just sayin’


  16. LR

    Mr. Stout, i’ve never read much or seen much in the states here about the XP Deus. rewatching my fav detecting show the Detectorists, i never noticed before, but Andy (Mackenzie Crook) is using one. Any thoughts or ideas about these machines?

    • LR have heard they’re great machines but have never used one. They certainly set the trend when they were introduced. Maybe XP will send me one to try, ya think?

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