2/ A Few Maxims–and the Wisdom Behind Them

I recently asked a top local hunter for any tips that might go into my next book.  He replied: “Get yourself a big box of Q-Tips and clean all the wax out of your ears so you can hear the deep ones…”  Thanks–I wish it were that easy.

I include some of these maxims because of their value in teaching course correction and good judgment.  They represent tried and true general principles that can make you a more effective treasure hunter–”old school wisdom” –if you will.

If I could point to one maxim or idea that’s helped me to find treasure it would be this:

“If you want to find some gold with a metal detector, first find some gold, then place the detector directly over it” 

Simple–but brilliant.  The point is to expend your energy at the locations with the best chance of producing what you are looking for.  When you have put some thought in to why the location you are searching should have what you are looking for–half the battle is done.  For example–look for the areas of a site where activities overlap or pedestrian traffic is funnelled into a particular section.  The part with the detector and scoop are only the last part of the operation.

Well-known “Western and Eastern Treasures Magazine “Tech Talk” columnist Ty Brook also touched on this idea when he stated another idea that’s central to treasure hunting success:

“…whenever I feel that some good targets have to be in a particular area–I don’t give up until I figure some way to detect those targets.”

(Inside Treasure Hunting, by |Ty Brook, 1999, Confederate Rose Publishing).

For the beach hunter, these two ideas mean one thing: “Know thy sites!” Where have gold and silver been found before here?  Or at a new location: “What site features remind you of places that you have found gold and silver before?” Which of the equipment and methods that you have to work with will give me a better shot at recovering what’s there?  What clues are evident at a site that indicate the place is worth some effort?  One of my early experiences illustrates this:  Behind my house there was a vacant lot that was a cut-through between two busy streets.  At one point I went out there with my first detector–a White’s Coinmaster 6DB.  After hunting for a while and finding nothing I noticed the bent over links at the top of the low chain link fence.  Clearly this was where people got into the lot by climbing in.  Hunting below this section of fence produced several dozen quarters.   The point is–play your hunches–thoroughly and to completion.

An understanding of human action is also important here—the patterns of how people interact with a site over time.  This comes from observation.

I would also add to Ty’s hugely valuable advice: “…to find a way to separate those targets from what they are mixed in with.”  (More on this later).

One saying of mine that’s been quoted a lot is that:

“Detectors don’t find gold—observation does.”

So the question is not just “Where is there some gold and silver to find” but– “How and why did it come to be there?”  Let’s look at an example of these principles in action:

At one busy Caribbean site I hunt, there’s one length of beach that’s always produced gold.  The resort is high-end, and this one section is the busiest water entry point.  The sidewall is steep so people clamber to leave the water.  A lot of gold is lost this way.  Also, it’s a section where the waves can be quite rough—it’s the “head of the bay”.

Over time, observation and past success have taught me that if I just work this small section hard enough–some gold almost always turns up.  While much of the surrounding beach looks similar–even the number of swimmers–it’s this one section that always produces.  When you can consistently identify these perpetual “hotspots” and direct your efforts accordingly you are light years ahead.

Where you have areas that are almost similar with one producing finds and one not–this represents a key learning opportunity in that whatever differences there are have great importance.   These represent vital clues that teach us exactly where to look for gold.

It’s this kind of full-field, detailed observational focus that I hope to encourage with this book.

“Where there’s one, there’s more.”

A top pro buddy of mine says this often.  While there are certainly such things as “anomaly” finds, where you have ground that produces gold and silver consistently, there is always more to be found.  These finds may be currently out of detector range.  This is another important area of observation–understanding  the overall strata of a site, and watching the grade of these busy areas for changes.  At inland sites, changing moisture levels can also bring up new signals where there had been none before.  More generally, the precise set of conditions that are needed for gold to be present at a location are not that common.  Your best clue to where gold can be found is where it has been found before.  This is where experience comes in.  Every gold target you find has valuable information to tell.  How many people had to enter the water or sunbathe at a spot for a gold item to be lost?  What sand levels were needed to expose it?  Was it lost at that spot or moved by the current?  All of this information comes from that first find–pointing you towards the next one.

From: “Water Hunting: Secrets of the Pros: Volume 2” by Clive James Clynick