Freshwater Lake Treasure Hunting with a Metal Detector

Fresh water metal detecting at the shoreline.

Fresh water metal detecting at the shoreline.

Headed to a lakefront cottage or summer destination near a freshwater beach? Don’t forget your metal detector! Every vacationer walks the beach—but the SMART detectorist brings his or her metal detector. Many hobbyists say you’ll find MORE treasure along freshwater beaches than the ocean. They say you’ll get more good finds in one day here than any popular ocean beach! Here’s why: popular ocean beaches are hunted every day. But beaches and [boating & swimming areas] on a freshwater lake are rarely detected.

A roped-off swimming area is usually only 30-50 yards wide, so it’s easy to read where the most treasure will be found. Jackpot area: Search right near the shoreline where mothers often sit with kids in the water. Here, you’ll find jewelry– gold, silver and diamond rings.

Advice from Fellow Hobbyists (Friendly Metal Detecting Forum)

Jeff says:  “I detect Southeastern Virginia & Northeastern North Carolina and concentrate on the areas in the water where the people swim and play. I especially like working around piers and platforms that they dive from. Also check out the shallow areas where parents and kids frolick.”

Chris says:  “Most of the time in freshwater lakes, the goodies either sink into the sand where they were dropped or slowly get pushed up to the water’s edge. Concentrate on the swimming area first, but things find their way all over the place.”

Is Your Detector Waterproof?

Before you dip your machine into the water, be sure to check that it is a waterproof model. Some models are only waterproof up to the control box. The last thing you need is to ruin the electronics when you’re just trying to treasure hunt on vacation!

Equipment: All-purpose or Waterproof VLF metal detector:

Very Low Frequency (VLF) Metal Detectors are usually recommended for freshwater hunting. They will easily locate coins, relics, and jewelry. If you want to go shallow-water-hunting, make the sure the specs allow for it. Here is a list of our best-selling water proof freshwater metal detectors.

Short or long-handled sand scoop

Beach scoops are a tremendous help when sifting through sand for treasure. A water scoop is necessary for shallow water metal detecting, as it digs deeper into wet sand. Check out: Sand Scoops for the Beach.

Fall is a Great Time for Beach Treasure Hunting

Grab your metal detector and head for the beach this fall!

Grab your metal detector and head for the beach this fall!

The hot summer sun may be fading, but the beach is still a lucrative detecting destination in the fall. Traditionally, Labor Day weekend and the last hot summer days bring tons of visitors and vacationers to the beach. When the crowds head back to school and work, it’s time to search the sand for lost valuables! To make the most of your detecting time, experts advise learning how to “read the beach.” This means looking for areas where coins and jewelry might have accumulated. Here are likely spots to find metal treasure.

How to Read the Beach Before You Start Detecting

Before you ever start swinging your detector, locate the highest point on the beach. From this vantage point, look for holes, pockets and low-lying areas that look like sand has been removed. These are good indicators of where targets may have settled. The best beach spots for treasure are:

  • Sloughs:”  A slough is a trough (water indentation) that runs parallel to the beach- with the beach on one side and a sand bar on the other. People walk and play in this area, which is visible during a negative tide. Heavier items like watches and phones are often found here.
  • “Scallops:” These are humps on the beach with high and low sections. The low sections act to funnel waves and they also capture metal items.  
  • “Pockets:” Low-lying areas in the wet or dry sand. You will be able to get the depth on your metal detector as much as 4-5 feet deeper than normal.

Look and feel the sand: What is the beach consistency… does it sink in mush or is there resistance? This will determine how deep the targets are and how much sand is covering them up. Hard-packed sand, shells or rocks are a good sign. Gold sinks quickly. If the sand is really soft, gold rings and bracelets will sink through it at a faster pace. If the sand is hard-packed, it takes gold longer to sink to a harder layer. Eventually, gold settles until it hits a layer that is too hard to get past.

Beach Detectors and Sand Scoops
Speed up your treasure recovery with a sand scoop.

Speed up your treasure recovery with a sand scoop.

The two types of detectors best suited for the beach are VLF detectors and  Pulse Induction (P.I.) models. VLF detectors are affordable and ideal for freshwater beaches. If you will be hunting saltwater beaches, a PI detector is best because they ignore salt and offer deep-seeking capability. With that said, there are a number of modern VLF detectors that  may be used successfully on the salt water beach. VLF units will have target identification features that P.I. detectors lack. Shop and compare Beach Metal Detectors. You can narrow your search by detector type, price, operating frequency, search coil size and much more! The second most important tool when beach hunting is a durable sand scoop for recovering your targets. Shop all  beach scoops held, from hand to long-handled styles.

Related Links:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

Life’s a Beach- Just Bring Your Metal Detector!

Beach Hunting: Dry Beach or Wet Sand for Most Success?

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure with a metal detector of course!

Summer is an exciting time of year for detectorists, because beaches are in full swing. Crowded beaches equal more success finding treasure. It’s also the perfect time for beginners to get excellent metal detecting experience. Beaches are chock full of coins and lost jewelry, so this is the place to get your feet wet. Dry beach is typically easy to dig, while wet sand can yield lots of treasure carried in from the tide. So, when you get to the beach with your metal detector, where should you begin?

Beach Layout and Best Treasure Hunting Areas

Here are the spots most beachcombers visit: the “dry,” the “wet,” the “towel line,” the “water line” and if you get lucky- the “coin line.” The dry beach can yield lots of trash, but look for activity centers like volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and other places where sports are played. Try to get to the beach early, before these areas are populated. The “wet” is the wet sand area that is exposed during low tide. Many beach hunters swear by the low tide line as it can be the most productive for gold jewelry. If the tide is low for most of the day, most of your good items will be at the low tide line. The water line is where the water meets the sand. When the tide comes in, it pushes a lot of items with it—the moving water is what carries everything. It also tends to bury heavier objects, (gold as an example). The towel line is where everyone sunbathes and lays their belongings, so this can be productive. And a “coin line” is a line of coins that runs parallel to the beach. This is due to physics and how the tide pushes objects of similar weight together. Where there are lot of coins, there may be jewelry.

Beach Detectors and Sand Scoops

For dry sand metal detecting, most beginner metal detectors will perform well and display probable targets on your screen. For wet sand detecting on a salt water beach, a Pulse Induction (P.I.) unit may be the way to go, as VLF detectors can tend to get erratic.  If the water line and shallow water detecting are your niche, check out underwater metal detectors.

Keep in mind, you will also need a sand scoop or digging tool. Find a great assortment of beach scoops, from hand held to long-handled scoops with buckets at MetalDetector.com.

Look for our upcoming article about learning how to “read the beach” for even more valuable tips!

 

Related Links:

Popular Beach Hunting Metal Detectors

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

No Time for Swimming When Metal Detecting the Beach!

For REAL Fun at the Beach, Bring Your Metal Detector!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

Hello summertime! What’s not to love about sunny days, flip flops, barbecues, star-gazing and campfires? For metal detectorists, summertime means longer days and more time for treasure hunting. If you’re new to the hobby, you picked the perfect time to get started. This is the ideal season to find treasure at the beach. Forget about swimming and surfing…the real fun happens on the beach! Wait ‘til you find a platinum ring or a historical coin buried in the sand.

The best thing about metal detecting the beach is that no matter how many detectorists preceded you, there is always more treasure to be found. The movement of the tide carries objects from the water to the sand. It also places metal items at different depths, and replenishes the sand with new lost items all the time. There’s a reason detectorists are out in full force at the beach—success!

Best Beach Hunting Times

The best time to detect largely depends on the tide; this does change based on the season and the moon. If the tide is high for the majority of the day, you’ll be able to find good targets on the beach when the tide goes out. If the tide is low for most of the day, search the low tide line for treasure. When the tide comes in, it pushes a lot of things with it; it also tends to bury heavier objects. Knowing this will help you determine where to hunt on a particular day. Some beachcombers swear by the high tide line. They say it produces everything—from trash, to rings, coins & other trinkets.

After it rains, head to the beach! Rainfall helps pull lost items to the surface of the sand, making  it easier to find valuables. During beach erosion is great time for detectorists. This cycle takes place because of the changing tides, too. When the sand is being eroded because of increased water activity, jewelry, coins and other items are being pulled to  the surface.

Typical Treasure Finds at the Beach

What can you find on the beach with your metal detector? The better question is what can’t you find? Long-time hobbyists say that coins usually fill their pockets—the majority of finds. You can find clad (modern) coins, historical American coins and plenty of foreign coins, too. Some Florida beaches are known to produce valuable old Spanish coins. Jewelry is very often found at the beach, and it can be extremely valuable! Treasure hunters find wedding rings, rings with precious stones, watches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Don’t throw anything away until you carefully examine it at home. One detectorist thought he found a smashed up piece of costume jewelry. He later discovered it was an antique platinum ring with over 2 carats of diamonds. A jeweler informed him that the ring was from the 1900’s or earlier. Sometimes, it pays to have a professional look at a piece you are unsure about.

Don’t Forget a Sand Scoop & Find’s Pouch

Besides your metal detector, you will need a sand scoop or digging tool. Most beach detectorists carry a plastic sand scoop and a long-handled scoop. The plastic sand scoop is great for shallow targets; because it’s made of plastic, it won’t cause metal interference. The long-handled scoop cuts through the sand easily for retrieving deeply buried items and saves your back from constant bending. There are a wide variety of sand scoops available— from hand held to long-handled scoops with buckets. A find’s pouch or belt pouch is an efficient way to separate your recovered items. They typically have zippered areas or pockets for putting smaller and more valuable items like gold jewelry with precious stones.

Treasure on the beach awaits, so be sure to hit the sandy shorelines this summer!

Related articles:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

Life’s a Beach: Just Bring Your Metal Detector

 

10 Reasons to Take up Metal Detecting this Year

Ring was found metal detecting by Julie Pollard & returned to the happy bride

This once lost engagement ring was found by Julie Pollard & returned to the happy bride. We give a big thumbs up to Julie who is President of Chatham-Kent Metal Detecting Club in Canada. Click picture for full story.

If you made any resolutions for when the summer season arrives, there’s a good chance that getting healthy, losing weight or pursuing a new hobby were on your list. The summer is a great time to wipe the slate clean and make goals—imagining a better and happier you. Some hobbies allow you to accomplish multiple things at once, like getting exercise and mental stimulation. Golf is one such hobby—and so is metal detecting. So, if your golf swing doesn’t measure up – not to worry. Metal detecting offers even more advantages, including the possibility of making a profit on valuable items you find!

Metal Detecting is the Best Hobby. Here’s Why…

  1. Anybody can operate a metal detector – from kids to seniors; men and women alike. The hobby is easily available to all ages and abilities. With a little practice and advice, you can learn how to correctly swing the search coil and tune your detector.
  2. Inexpensive. The hobby itself incurs very little expense. The initial purchase of a metal detector and a few accessories is all you really need to get started. A decent entry-level metal detector for adults can be purchased from around  $150 and $70 for children.
  3. Thrilling discoveries are in store. Long time detectorists are always fascinated by what they find—it’s unpredictable. You may be searching for coins and stumble upon a bronze sword. Or, what about the Oregon couple that the husband found a 1960’s Kenmore sewing machine on the beach?
  4. Metal detecting fits in perfectly with other activities and interests. When vacationing, you can pack your detector—especially if you’re traveling overseas where treasure may lie. Fishing, camping, photography and rock-hounding go hand-in-hand with treasure hunting.
  5. Start your own collection – it’s very rewarding! If you’ve seen antiques or coins at a museum, you know how intriguing the displays are. Imagine if you could start your own collection—based on your favorite finds.
  6. Low-impact exercise. You don’t have to be physically toned or particularly active to take up metal detecting. You’re getting exercise by walking and bending over—as well as fresh air. It’s perfect exercise for retirees and seniors.
  7. Return lost items to owners. Many detectorists share rewarding stories about returning a treasured lost item back to its original owner. Whether it’s a wedding ring (see and click picture above for a great story), military dog tag or stolen property, the owners are eternally grateful!
  8. Can be a shared hobby. Time in the field with a metal detector can bring people and families closer. Grandchildren would love to share in your hobby, as well as wives and children. Add a renewed sense of adventure with each new treasure you uncover; have friendly contests or just learn about coins and relics together.
  9. Your friends will be jealous. Once they see how cool your metal detector is and all of the treasures you’re finding, they will want to join in on the fun. This is an opportunity to go out detecting with your friends!
  10. Learn something new. From electronics to science and nature, the hobby of metal detecting will certainly enlighten you in many areas. You will learn about local geography, the history of the items you find and how the circuitry in your detector picks up metal objects.

It doesn’t matter where you live, because lost treasure can be uncovered anywhere- even in your own backyard. Just about every city has parks, baseball fields and construction sites. With a little research at your town library, you’ll find many potential hunting sites. To learn the “basics” of metal detecting and select an entry-level metal detector, visit our Learning Library. It has how-to-guides and takes you step-by-step through the process of selecting a metal detector. Here are a few helpful introductory articles:

The Science and Hobby of Metal Detecting

Which Metal Detector is Best for You?

How to Select a Metal Detector

What’s your reason why someone should take up Metal Detecting? Share your answer on our 10 Reasons Facebook Post as a comment.