Q & A Down Under with DirtFishMish


I’d like you meet DirtFishMish from down under. I got to know Mish after seeing a few of her YouTube videos (nicely done).  Justifiably, and like a couple of other gal treasure hunters, Mish prefers to keep her real name and private life just that – private!  

Hope you enjoy and thanks Mish for taking the time to grace my blog…

The Q & A

Q. Mish, I know you like to keep your personal life separate from your treasure hunting and I understand that completely. Having said that can you tell us a few generic things? Like I know you are in Australia but can you narrow down the area some? East? West, etc.? Are you married? Do you have kids? And if you can share these things tell us who else, if any, in the family detects?.

A. Hi there Dick, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog today. I’m situated on the beautiful southern edge of Australia, along a stunning and wild surf coast. When I’m not detecting I’m either working or spending time with my husband and teen. The husband will detect occasionally if I twist his arm — but I’m the only addict in the household! 

 

Q. Next tell us about your social media sites. I’m a subscriber to your YouTube channel and I’m pretty sure others will be too once they check out your videos,

A. I primarily create content for YouTube under the channel name ‘DirtFishMish’. I’m also fairly active on Instagram, and I try to push updates through to my Facebook also – all under the same name. Most of my videos are related to beach metal detecting, but I dabble in land hunts and underwater adventures as well.

 

Q. Okay, have to ask. Where did the name DirtFishMish come from?

A. A great question! The ‘DirtFish’ part came from dirtfishing, a nickname for metal detecting. I capitalized the Fish part though, as I’m frequently detecting, snorkeling and diving in the water. As for the Mish part? Just a nickname I’ve had for years

 

Q. When exactly did you start detecting and what was it that got you interested?

A. I took up the hobby at the start of 2019 after a long time of deliberating whether it would be suitable for me. There were two key factors in my decision to take it up – the first was an interest in coin collecting, and the second was the need to pick up a ‘mental health hobby’ as means of switching-off from the troubles of everyday life. I’m pleased to say that detecting has ticked both boxes for me. 🙂

 

Q. Mish what was your first detector and what made you purchase that particular brand/model?

A. I started out with an inexpensive Minelab Go-Find 22, as it was all I could afford at the time. It was a great and compact little machine, but I found myself upgrading several months into the hobby. In hindsight I wish I’d kept it for my hiking backpack as it was the smallest detector I’ve ever owned!

 

Q. In the beginning where did you concentrate your time? What sort of sites did you search?

A. I started out at a couple of public but discreet land sites, as I was extremely self-conscious about digging in view of others. It didn’t take long before I started trying my luck on the sand at the beach, though as my first detector had such a small and fixed coil, I never had much luck until upgrading!

 

Q. Okay, put your thinking hat on. What was your very first signal/find? Do you remember?

A. I actually have a photo of my first hunt! I found a couple of coins, some blobs of metal scrap and some cutlery (of all things!). It was a great little afternoon out.

Nothing to retire on but a great start

 

Q. And Mish what was your first good or decent find, as in keeper.

A. I didn’t swing too much with the Go-Find in my first year, but once I upgraded to the Minelab Equinox several months on and really studied my locations and signals, the finds started to improve quite rapidly. I found my first pre-decimal coins (a currency system we used prior to the decimal currency Australia uses today) in my first few weeks with the machine. The coins were found on a family property as well which made them extra special.

Pre-decimal coins

 

Q. Another memory test….how long did it take you to find your first silver coin and what was it?

A. Oh my goodness, I had to go back through my phone to work this one out! This is a two-part answer with a funny story. The first silver coin I KNEW about was a young Queen Victoria sixpence, year unknown but approx. 1860’s-1880’s. Completely toasted, but an absolute delight to see come out of the sand. It may not have been my first, however – a few weeks later I was tumbling a batch of ‘modern’ coins for spending when I found a 50% silver 1947 Florin in the mix. Goodness knows when I picked up that one, but at the time I had clearly mistaken it for a modern 20¢ of the same shape and size! Oops.

Toasted Queen Victoria sixpence

 

Q. How long Mish did it take you to find your first ring and what type of ring was it?

A. This was also a find discovered shortly after upgrading to the Equinox. I had a screaming signal in a patch of dry sand, imagine my excitement when it turned out to be a chunky 18K gold men’s wedding band. The excitement was short-lived as I did the right thing and handed it in to the police station — however it remained unclaimed for some months, and ultimately made its way back to me. This first ring still remains as the best ring I’ve found so far. Talk about setting the bar high!!

18k ring

 

Q. In the beginning did you spend a lot of time researching and if so just how did you go about it?

A. In the beginning, no – I just dabbled in areas where I thought I’d be left alone, ha ha. These days it is integral to most of my location decisions, though I will occasionally pick an area to spontaneously detect to keep things interesting. I am lucky to have a fairly thorough knowledge of my local area’s history, as my family has been established there for some generations.

 

Q. What would you consider to be your very best find after all this time, and if it’s hard to choose just one tell us about all of them.

A. My best finds are the ones I can’t keep – the recoveries for folks who’ve lost an item that’s precious to them, typically wedding rings. Last summer I assisted with several recoveries, my husband will often join me for those with our second Equinox and we have both had the pleasure of recovering rings for grateful couples. One of my favourite recoveries was for a gent who’d lost his ring while swimming in the ocean – I received the call four days later and was still able to find it in chest-deep water thanks to the footage the couple had of the moment it went missing. They couldn’t believe it was still there!

Often times my best finds are the ones I can’t keep

 

Q. Okay Mish what is your weirdest find to date? Everybody pretty much has at least one….

A. Not strictly detecting related, but I do have a strange item story while out on a hunt for sure! As I arrived at a beach one morning I was greeted by police – they’d received a report of a ‘possible human hand’ on the beach and were investigating the scene. (I let them know that if the ‘hand’ had a ring, I’d probably come across it, lol)

We ultimately came across the item in question, and both the police and I had a look – my gut instinct says it wasn’t one, but they were sending it off to forensics just in case. I guess we’ll never know that outcome…

 

Q. What is your “OLDEST” find to date?

A. Some early 1800’s buttons and relics from the central Victorian goldfields, when I went out on a hunt with my good friend Andrew (better known on YouTube as ‘The Coffee Bush Kid’). It was the first and to date only time I’ve had the opportunity to detect in a goldfields location for coins and relics, I struck out on the coins that time but we are definitely planning for a re-run.

1800’s buttons

 

Q. Mish what detector are you using at the moment and why?

A. The three full-size detectors in my arsenal at the moment are the Minelab Equinox 600, Equinox 800 and also my recently-acquired Minelab Excalibur II. The Equinox 600 has been my go-to for most of my detecting history – the 800 was purchased when my husband started coming out for a swing with me, but now I just grab whichever ‘nox is set up for the type of hunt I’m planning on. The Excalibur was funded by my amazing YouTube community and due to its rugged nature I’m intending to use it for predominantly water hunting, be it wading or as a diver, and the Equinoxes for all other situations thanks to their excellent target identification properties.

Now using the Minelab Excalibur II for my beach hunting

 

Q. Can you offer a few tips or settings/programs?

A. I mostly detect on the beach so I cannot stress enough to dig (almost) everything, I’ll often have my Equinox in all-metal mode. I’ll sometimes avoid some exclusively iron tones, but I’ve pulled up amazing items with janky-sounding signals. If you’re on a beach that’s local to you – really study the way the sand shifts over time, so that you can quickly spot any new lower sections or movement and hunt those low points. Research is also key – the places used today are not necessarily the places used in the past and this has been key to many of my successes with older finds.

 

Q. When you do go detecting what “must have” accessories do you take along?

A. Some detectorists prefer a minimalist setup – the same can’t be said for me unfortunately, hah. I’ll often have some sort of bag or accessory hanging off every limb. My bare minimum consists of a detector, headset, finds bag, pinpointer, small plastic container for sharp and/or delicate items, GoPro and some sort of mount for filming, and a digger/shovel/scoop dependent on the location. Diving hunts bring a whole extra level of gear requirements, so I don’t get out for those too often!

My gear

 

Q. Do you prefer hunting with others or are you a loner?

A. I much prefer to detect on my own, this allows me to fully focus on the signals coming in to my headset and tune out to everything else. It’s great for the mind and soul. The few folks I’ll happily detect with are like-minded and we will often rendezvous at set times rather than swinging side by side.

 

Q. Okay Mish everybody has a bucket list. Tell us about yours?

A. Where do I begin? Okay, I’ll jot down a few things off the top of my head. I’d love to find a gothic Florin, a ‘rising sun’ (Australian Army badge), some diamonds that aren’t part of a recovery mission, and the elusive gold Sovereign or half-Sovereign coin. Some of these items shall never appear in the area I live due to a relatively modern period of establishment, but hopefully the opportunities to travel will improve over time.

 

Q. Have you traveled to any other countries and detected?

A. Unfortunately not – but it’d be lovely to have the opportunity to do so one day. I’d love to meet some of my international friends that I’ve made via YouTube, as well as personally take some time to detect around Japan. I am fascinated by their historic relics and currency.

 

Q. Do you belong to a club and if so tell us a little about it?

A. To be honest, I don’t know if such clubs exist anywhere near me, but due to my solo nature I don’t know that I’d pursue them either. 🙂

 

Q. Mish can you share a little info about the video equipment/editing programs you use?

A. I primarily record my footage with GoPros – I started out on YouTube with a second-hand GoPro Hero 6 Black and these days I use the GoPro 8 and 10. Occasionally my phone will help out with some artistic snippets of nature footage, or an intro/outro that I couldn’t capture on the action camera. In terms of editing, I started out with Apple’s free software called iMovie. These days I’ve upgraded to using Apple’s Final Cut Pro which is iMovie’s professional-grade equivalent – I’m still learning new tricks with it on each and every subsequent video.

 

Q. Mish do you have any other hobbies or interests?

A. None that I have time for – ha! Between working, parenting and now being a part-time YouTuber I find I’m in a constant state of movement. If time weren’t a constraint, you’d find me camping, hiking, or perhaps simply working on a huge jigsaw puzzle (I hope Santa is reading this). But truly.. being able to go out, detect and share that with the world is an awesome position to be in.

Kicking back with a campfire

 

Q. If you were able to design it what would your IDEAL detector look like? What features would it have?

A. I love this question! That’s something I haven’t thought about until now. Being waterproof and indeed dive-proof would be a must. I’d want it to be stable in all saltwater conditions, ergonomic and come with a decently comfortable and loud headset. It’s a shame that wireless headset functionality doesn’t work underwater, as that’d be a game-changer for me. Having a telescopic shaft would be great too.. I’ve got that on my Equinoxes thanks to some Detect-Ed carbon shaft upgrades but it’d be lovely to have that by default on a machine.

 

Q. Finally Mish, if you could pass along one or two words of advice to beginning detectorists or for that matter any detectorist, what would they be?

A. Don’t be afraid to start! Buy the best detector within your means (second-hand is often a great way to get better bang for your buck), get a pinpointer straight away as well as they’ll save you a lot of time. Do your research, join some online detecting groups that have a positive culture in them and just get swinging. 🙂

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*****

7 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

7 responses to “Q & A Down Under with DirtFishMish

  1. Ed B.

    Nice interview but I’m wondering…..with the way Australia has locked down its citizens does Mish or any other Australian even have the opportunity to go detecting these days ?

    • Ed not sure, but I know Mish is making videos. I will let her answer your question.

    • Hi there Ed, yes we’ve had a long run of lockdowns and whatnot for sure, but every state in our country has had a different story. I’ve still been able to detect with varying restrictions throughout most of that time, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been able to travel freely throughout my state for some time now. Onward and upward!

  2. Tony

    Dirtfishmish, when I think of Australia I think of gold in the outback but now that I read your answers about your beach hunts have you ever found any gold nuggets?

    • G’day Tony! I don’t live in a naturally gold-bearing region unfortunately, and thus haven’t yet had the chance to try for some nuggets. It’s on the cards for a future adventure for sure – possibly with some YouTube buddies that are more familiar with the prospecting side of the hobby. Cheers! 😊

  3. This reminded me my son wants me to take him detecting for the ‘new gold’ being one and two dollar coins.

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