JW and I went for a gold hunt yesterday. We've both done this area quite a bit, especially JW. I always disliked the spot, it was my nemesis for so long and I rarely found a nugget there, then all the sudden my luck turned, now I do alright there. We both had our 15x10" X-coils on, JW's been using his all the time lately so I thought I'd give mine a run.
Yesterday seemed like I was doomed however to my first skunk in a long time, I don't even remember my last skunk now. It was about 9.30am I would guess and both went our separate ways. I headed off to the river to try detect the river banks. The river was a bit flooded, lots of snow lately which in spring turns to melt on the lower mountain areas quite quickly. Makes the water quite dirty looking. JW went off to another area away from the river.
I spent a bit of time down at the river trying my luck, unfortunately someone had been before me, there was dig holes around everywhere
I asked JW if he'd been to the river and he said no, so someone else is on the prowl! I left the river after some time of walking around detecting and seeing someones digs and went back to the original place away from the river where JW was detecting. I didn't find a target at all at the river so it was a waste of an hour or two, I don't know if there is even gold near the river, I've never found any nuggets near the river, you can find some gold with your gold pan so I assume there is 🙂
Part of my dislike for this other spot where JW was detecting is it has power lines right through it and it made me really struggle with my GPX so I found it pointless to use there, it has old workings that have iron stones that are buried too, and they sound so good until you dig down and find them, it's also riddled with pellets! between the iron stones, pellets and the power lines it was a nightmare for me so I tended to use a VLF there more than anything else. I often talk about power lines and the agony they cause me, a lot of our gold areas are covered in power lines. I find the GPZ is pretty good under them, I don't run my sensitivity at 20 with the power lines around as it can get a bit messy but I find running at 14 is quite good.
I just left the sensitivity on 14 all day, my other settings were all defaults and my usual high yield, normal.
There is bedrock all over this area, for many miles exposed bedrock everywhere.
The soil and grassed areas are usually quite shallow down to the rock. Loaded with pellets however as there is a rabbit plague in the area.
6 hours of digging pellets I was starting to give up, then i had another pellet signal, away from the obvious bedrock and near a rabbit hole in soft loamy soils. I'd repeated this process countless times, a few scrapes hoping the target doesn't move, and this time, it didn't, more scrapes, still there and getting better, more.... more and it just kept getting deeper and louder... I'm bad at pinpointing with bigger coils so I have to make my hole coil size. I got to the point the GPZ was screaming and was hoping it wasn't some deep junk but I was down to more gravelly soils.
I now used my Mini Gold Monster to pinpoint it in the hole and recover it.
It was found on the left hand side of the hole, and it was almost scoop deep.
My first 15x10" nugget, and what a nugget it is (for NZ anyway)
and it was right near the power lines, I'd never get that with my VLF, the depth just not there. I'd obviously tried the GM when I was thinking it was a pellet before digging and it had no signal at all on it.
Now I had a renewed bunch of energy so I hit the nearby bedrock
Not even 20 minutes later I had another signal that was very promising, survived all scrapes.
And it was gold, I got it out of the crack I'm pointing too.
A nice little bit.
About 20 minutes later the sun was going down and I got a call from JW and we decided we'd head home. I told him I got a couple of little bits, he was surprised when he opened my bottle for a peep! 🙂 He managed to win the day for the tally though with 4 nuggets, 3 of which were absolutely tiny.
And my junk for the day.
Well the junk I didn't lose out of my pocket. A fun day! And not a skunk after all, lucky I didn't give up.
Now the weigh in.
and the little guy
0.141 of a gram.
I had been waiting for this coil to arrive for some time, It was ordered right as the Covid impacts were first known and international flights were all being cancelled, The day after the coil was shipped NZ closed it's borders completely, all inbound flights cancelled. The postal operators had no way to send it, it stayed in the origin airport for a few weeks while the postal agency worked out what to do and they eventually decided they'd put it on a ship. It was interesting watching it's tracking number but then, it went silent, once it departed nothing for a few months then all of the sudden it arrived in Australia, yay! I guess there would be no direct ships from there to Australia either so it would be bouncing between ships to make it's journey. From there it was a quick easy hop to NZ. Fortunately now flights around the world are starting to resume and my 8" GPZ X-coil that was ordered long after the 12x8" coil arrived in about 10 days. Our borders still remain closed to passengers, it is however open to freight flights and we're a bit of a hub for international long haul transit flights. Auckland airport is currently one of the busiest airports in the world which is incredible really taking on the worlds major airports for flight traffic. I think this is mostly because we have eliminated the virus 100 days ago so domestic flights are back to normal. Yesterday was our 100th day with no virus in the community, a bit of a celebration 🙂
It arrived in good order, after it's worldwide ship cruise journey. JW's had also ordered a 12x8" X-Coil and his was in with my package to save on shipping costs so he now has one too. I delivered his to him yesterday as we were heading out for a detect. He really liked the 12x8" size/shape and thinks it will be his favourite, that's a challenge as he loves his 10" and rarely takes it off, although the last few times he's been using his 15x10" and now suddenly that's been glued to his detector and he's finding it really good, it has spiral windings and he's used to his bundle wound 10", so he seems to be taking advantage of the sensitivity of the spiral windings as the bits he's finding with it are absolutely tiny.
JW broke his E-bike, buckled a wheel so we decided we'd go to a place we've done a million times, probably the place I've detected the most, we both had very little hope at this spot and seeing we were on foot we couldn't go too far from where we have to leave the car but we thought we'd try walk and see what we can find.
When we arrived we walked about 150 meters I guess to where the gold area starts from where you park the car, we've done this particular spot so many times it's not funny, we both didn't expect anything here. When we left JW's house in the morning Robyn JW's wife said good luck, and JW said I don't have much hope for today! I of course said Nor me! We both know how much we've done this area. We decided we'd try the first little bit for an hour or so to warm up 🙂 then walk and see if we can find somewhere else.
This is the area I settled on detecting, its a hillside leading down to a creek, the Chinese had heavily worked this area in the good old days when there was lots of gold to find. I found a Chinese miners silver and irovy ring here at one point.
This area is also the only place I've ever bumped into anyone else detecting for gold, one guy with a GPX 4500, one guy with a Nokta Gold Kruzer and another two guys together, one with a GPZ and his buddy with a Gold Bug 2. It's quite well detected, JW has been doing it for years so gold is getting harder and harder to get. There had been some sheep in here which was great news for us, the grass growth over the past couple of years had made for hard detecting and finally the farmer had put some sheep in. They had fixed it up a little but they're not really interested in the brown dry grass this area has. It's one of the colder and dryer areas in the country so grass isn't lush and green like elsewhere.
After putting on a new coil I like to do a factory reset so I did that, then ran the 12x8" over the little ferrite ring as part of the factory reset process, it tuned out the little ring even when the coil was touching it. I then adjusted my settings to my preferred settings, HY, Normal and gain of 20. I then balanced out the ground then set to manual Ground balance , I'm not sure If I'm meant to do what the picture says when doing a ground balance by holding the quick track button as it indicates doing a figure 8 type thing on the ground but I've found my old GPX style pumping works quicker.
The area is quite shallow bedrock, in spots it exposes itself and they're the spots I was finding gold in the past with the GM1000 but that all dried up and now the spots most likely to find gold for me are the more grassy areas where the gold is down a bit of depth on the bedrock with a soil layer over top and grass cover so the GPZ is far more effective than the VLF in this situation. There are also millions of shot gun pellets here, I would say the most out of any place I've detected so it's rare you can do a swing without hitting some pellets. The GPZ method I've been using is a scape or two and if the signal is there keep going, if not reject it or else you'll spend all day digging pellets. Thats not to say you won't be digging pellets, you will, many of them but it cuts the numbers down 🙂
First bit of gold was quite an easy one, maybe the sheep helped me here.
I didn't have to dig far for that one, a real screamer. I also knew it wasn't a pellet as the signal was so booming, more so than with a pellet.
12x8" now broken in.
Then right near it, not even a meter away I had another target that survived a few scrapes.
Pretty shallow again, it had to be the grass level being low helping me find these
Another decent lump!
I detected quite heavily around this area now hoping for more, I found no more so I moved on.
It's where the grass is like above you know hasn't been detected as well as the bedrock areas so I was trying to go over the grass as much as possible.
Next I flipped a few rocks over this has worked in the past and when you get a signal under a rock that's been there who knows how many hundreds of years and you get a signal you get a bit excited. I had a signal under a rock, it was feeling like it might be a pellet, but why would a pellet be under a rock?
There rocks are heavy! The pick levers them down off the edge. Unfortunately the target turned out to be a really tiny bit of metal. Who knows what it is or why it was there.
I was almost sure it was going to be gold, at least my magnet helped recover it.
I thought I'd experiment with the GPS on the GPZ, I'd never really given it a chance. I quite liked it. The novalty of using it, made it a bit like playing a game. I found it pretty accurate. I tested it when I was weaving in and out of bushes as I was detecting along making my way to the next area I wanted to detect.
I don't know what the little greyed out bit is.
This is the sort of terrain I was weaving through while testing it out. It's a shame I didn't test it back where I found the two bits of gold as It'd help make sure I didn't miss any ground, I'm terrible at missing ground. I might start using it more often.
I continued flipping rocks and after flipping a huge one that almost landed on my foot I had another signal under where the rock was.
The big rock at the top of the hole was where the hole now is, the hole ended up quite deep and it was my biggest bit of gold for the day.
Different to the other bits too, far more smooth and flat.
Come up nice after a clean.
We detected until it was too dark to see well recovering targets. JW did very well, he went back to spots he'd done with his GPZ and 14" coil some time ago, he was talking about a crack in bedrock where he got a few with his 14x13" coil some time ago and he went over it and got another 3 out of it. He ended up doing far better than me, he got 10 out of this thrashed spot, unbelievable. His appeared to be much smaller bits too so it'll be interesting to see the weight tally.
So that was my total, my 3 bits and it's now dark and time to go to KFC to refuel. We never did end up walking further afield, we were doing OK in the first spot right near the car, that sure surprised us both.
And my junk, not too bad on the pellets as these were just ones I had to dig for, the rest that I was able to identify with the GPZ double blip and scrape or two were ignored.
I finally got out to test out my new 8" X-Coil, I've been wanting a size like this for a long time. I thought it was going to be impossible to fit the GPZ Super-D design into such a small coil however X-coils after some time have achieved it and it works exceptionally well. I was running my GPZ in HY Normal with gain of 20, manual ground balance all day.
My first pellet recovery 🙂
These were my weapons of choice for the day, the little 8" hardly looks much bigger than the little 6x3" sniper on the GB2. It made the GPZ feel reasonably light too, I ran it all day without my harness which is handy as I was in rocky hilly terrain always putting my detector down so it was great having the extra freedom.
I was comparing targets with my GB2 all day, seeing it's widely regarded as the most sensitive VLF I wanted to see the difference in performance to the GPZ with a small coil. The first thing I noticed almost immediately on little shotgun pellets which I found a lot of by the way was the GPZ was noticeably deeper than the GB2. There were pellets that the GB2 didn't pick up at all where the GPZ had a reasonable signal on them. I also found the Discrimination on the GB2 was near pointless on a lot of targets as it had no signal at all on them only giving a signal in it's all metal mode. The pellets had to be much closer to the coil than they were in the soils for the Discrimination to work, I was quite disappointed in this as I was hoping it would be a good gold discriminating pin pointer.
This area has a lot of hot rocks, by a lot I mean they're everywhere and they're often green, you can't do a swing of a VLF without hitting them on every swing, I've been to this area a lot lately, its where I recently found 9 grams. I've moved on from that exact area I found the gold last time as it dried up but the same general area. The GB2 was of course having a lot of trouble with them, with the Nox I just notch out -8 and -9 and all is pretty good and the Nox doesn't appear to lose depth when discriminating like the GB2 and Gold Monster do. The 8" X-Coil was handling the hot rocks well, most of the smaller ones it was blind to, the big ones, some the size of a football or bigger it would get a signal on, so I tried the quick track button and waving it over the top of one, it took about 10 or so sweeps but it was able to give minimal reaction on one afterwards so I had my GPZ in manual balanced over a big green hot rock for the day so instead of using my Yellow ferrite ring I used a hot rock, it made more sense to me seeing they're the areas problem, correct me if I'm wrong.
My first bit of gold was downstream in the old timer wash channel from my 9 gram spot. I did my usual pellet scrape, the signal lasted longer than a few scrapes, so I did some bigger scrapes and the target was getting better so I took a short video as I was starting to get pretty confident.
It turned out to be a nugget in the gravelly layer below the top soil, pretty small nugget too.
The GB2 did not pick this one up at all until I was closer down to it, that was in maximum settings with audio boost.
Little longish bit.
0.177 of a gram, my biggest of the day 🙂
I walked across to the next wash as that was my plan for the day and was finding my usual pellets and comparing the two detectors, I was finding the GB2 was handy as a pin pointer and it's 71kHz wasn't interfering with my GPZ at all. I was also tipping my GPZ on it's side and using the edge of the 8" coil as a pinpointer and that was working pretty well for me. Seeing I was finding so many pellets, way more than usual in this location I was getting plenty of target recovery practice 🙂
Off to the edge of this bedrock I got another bit.
Almost a little ball, when it was dirty I thought it was just another pellet.
After cleaning the dirt out of it it's not as much like a little ball as it looked. It's a ball with a tumor.
I heard a couple of bikes coming along the nearby track, turned out it was JW and his wife Robyn, they knew I was going to be there today so popped in for a visit, JW also has unfinished business in the area where he's been attacking a rocky wall of the wash for months and still getting gold out of it, he had his 15x10" X-Coil on which was a surprise, he put his 10" on and I thought he'd forgotten how to remote it and it rarely left since, he just loves that little 10". He was impressed with my little 8"', especially the size knowing It can get into places the 10" can't. We started detecting again and Robyn found comfy spot to read her book.
It wasn't long and I could hear JW's usual TAP TAP TAP as he's smashing away at the rock 🙂 I kept checking out the lower areas of the wash and it wasn't too much longer after 5 or so more pellets I found another bit of gold.
It was down in that bit of a gap in the rock.
It was starting to cool down a lot now, well the day was never warm, I guess a maximum of about 5 degrees Celsuis but once the sun starts to go behind the mountains it cools down quickly so I went back to a bit that still had some sun 🙂
At this point I'd seen the bit of gold and knew where it was sitting down in the gravels but I wanted to show the crazy prickle bush I was dealing with, I'd already broken some branches off at this point, look at them thorns! This video also shows the sideways method I was using to pinpoint. The center of the coil is definitely it's hottest deepest spot but the edges are still good.
This was my last bit of the day
And just some scenery shots of the area, gold can be anywhere around here, even in the most unlikely of places.
In between the bedrock is has been the most productive for me, which is why I like little coils.
Everywhere you look are old timer rock piles, they're gradually getting buried by plant life.
Once those giant prickle bushes grow in them, they're no longer detectable.
Piles everywhere though, it goes for a few miles
It's starting to get very overgrown in places, every year it's getting worse, gradually disappearing.
Some of these cliff edges would be great to detect and would hold quite a bit of gold I'd imagine but they're just too steep for me.
This is the sort of stuff JW is chunking away at all day getting gold out of the cracks, he said he's now bought a little battery powered jack hammer type thing to help with the job as it's hard work with a pick, hammer, cold chisel and screw driver but there is a fair bit of gold trapped in the rock.
It's all in layers and you can smash them out slowly with your pick.
And my junk for the day, well the junk I didn't lose from my pocket. So overall I'm very impressed with the 8". It seemed to me like it was exceeding the GB2 in performance on small pellets at depth. I'm still better at pinpointing with a small coil like on the GB2 but with practice I'll get better.
As I was about to leave I went over to see how JW was going, right as I got there he had a target, I took over my GB2 as I know he often uses his one as pin pointer too, especially when smashing out rock as it can save a lot of time. He was using the nose of the 15x10" coil as his pin pointer and said it was working really well, he found the tip to be pretty sensitive but still too big to get down into the spot well so we used the Gb2 to get narrow down where to smash out... after a fair time of hitting he had the signal out, and it was a bit of gold smaller than my smallest bit and the 15x10" was sounding on it loudly. He had another signal in the rock to recover so I left him to it as they can take half an hour or more each to get out.
Finally got out again with the 15" x 10” X-Coil. It ran really quiet and smooth continually in High Yield, Normal, at Sensitivity at 20. Found 10 small nuggets for a total weight of 4.55 grams. They were between 5 to 8 inches deep in a California pine tree area.
The X-Coils work great, but the 15 x 10” is now the go to coil.
Have a good day,
I was very keen to go for a gold detect this weekend, only problem is the weather forecast wasn't really detecting weather, I wanted to go back to the spot I did very well last weekend where I found .865 of a gram I just had a funny feeling there was more in that hole as I was getting faint signals with the GPZ but at the time I wasn't sure if that was just the hot rocks, this particular spot is full of hot rocks of all shapes and sizes, right down to pea size up to giant bolder. I was hoping my assumption there might be more gold there would be correct.
There was quite a bit of snow overnight but the skies had cleared and went nice and blue so I sent JW a text message asking what the weather was doing up his way seeing he lives 10 minutes from where I was going to look for my gold. He responded it wasn't looking too good so he will decide when I arrive if he wants to go detecting. Nothing was stopping me however, I had a mission and I was determined to find gold!
About 10 minutes after I left my house things went downhill with the snow
Started to get pretty thick, fortunately they'd plowed the road but it was still slowing coming down.
Then up ahead the traffic was all at a stop, by traffic I mean the one car in front of me 🙂 It was due to a car that thought it would be wise to tow a caravan in the snow. Not a good idea, the road was icy and slippery.
Things did not go well for them, they lost control, spun around and their caravan basically exploded.
Not much left of it. Further up the road the weather was getting worse, and I'd forgot to put my chains in the car, if it got too bad I'd have to turn back.
After a bit more driving as I got towards the lake nearer to JW's house the skies cleared and there was no snow up that way.
I stopped at the shops to get a few things and picked up a tool from the hardware store expecting to have to smash through rock to recover nuggets like JW has been doing. That seems to be the way nuggets are mostly found at this spot, my nugget in the hole last weekend was a bit unusual. JW always goes straight to detecting the rock where he's doing very well, 10 or so little nuggets most days. I got to JW's and he decided the weather was good enough so off we went. JW went to his rock wall again, that thing just keeps on giving.... and I went to my hole.
It was not long at all and I had my first nugget, then another.... and another, they just kept coming. The damp soil I suspect was making them stand out even more, both JW and I have noticed this in the past, they light up in wet soil.
I had my first 3 within about 30 minutes I would guess... I took my watch off during the virus lock down as I never needed to know the time anymore and I've never put it back on. I got used to not caring what time it is. That little guy is 0.034 of a gram, and the 10" X-coil found it with no troubles at all. I run my GPZ in HY Norrmal, Manual GB with gain on maximum, all else defaults. I don't bother with the little yellow ferrite ring, I feel it doesn't help at all in our soil. I don't understand Minelab's decision not to make a small coil, they probably don't even know the full potential of the GPZ on small gold as with a small coil it's absolutely deadly, the tiniest bits very comparable to a high frequency VLF like the Gold Monster. I think with the 8" coil it will easily match the Gold Monster. I think they didn't want to take the SDC 2300's market away from the GPZ owners, they'd rather sell them a second detector than a coil - more profit!
And here is a video of the detector response on that tiny little nugget, insanely sensitive. I can't wait for my 12x8" and 8" round to arrive, you would think it would not be possible to get more sensitive than the 10".
This was my first time finding one so tiny with the GPZ, JW does it all the time and I was watching him do it last weekend so I was using that as a learning experience of what to listen for.
I just kept scraping more off the hole in layers, I was having a bit of trouble with tiny hot rocks but I didn't want to change off HY normal / max gain to calm the hot rocks down so I just kept fishing them out whenever there was one there and throwing them far away, often using the Nox to assist with narrowing their location down.
During my digging I found a weird little skull, maybe a dinosaur 🙂
There was other bones right next to my hole too, perhaps an animal had been using my hole as it's dining room.
The gold didn't stop coming, I've never had a day like this, I had so many bits by now I had lost count, I didn't even bother taking photos as that would waste valuable digging time. I just kept scraping more away and detecting each layer after removing the hot rocks by using the Equinox with 6" coil and picking out any rock that it detect as a hotrock (-8/-9).... If you've got good gold eyes you may spot the bit of gold in the photo below, I spotted it sitting in my scrape.
And this was it.
I got to the point a big rock was in my way so I had to swing around and attack it from the other side where the sticks are
This side was a bit wild, you can now see how much I've dug out, the original ground layer, it was on a downhill slope. right up where a tree root was I had a really nice signal with the GPZ, it was too loud so I thought perhaps a bullet or something so I grabbed the Equinox to see what it would come up with, it had no signal.
I removed a bit more soil then suddenly I had a solid 16. I used the Equinox to recover the target and to my surprise......... The biggest nugget I've ever found!!!!!!!!!!
Oh yea! a beauty. You'll see up above that my little tiny bottle, it's my emergency bottle that I keep inside the zipped up GPZ cover as I have forgotten to bring a bottle a few times I keep that little guy as my spare. Fortunately I did as I sure needed it on this day.
I took the following photo today as I went back today to hunt the spot again, this photo shows exactly where I found the big nugget.
It was on top of that rock below the tree root.
I found a few more nuggets, another 4 I think after the big one but I didn't take any photos, it was starting to get dark so I met back up with JW to see how he'd done on his rock wall, he'd got 9 nuggets, not bad! He was impressed with my whopper and my haul, it is a very big nugget for NZ.
We walked the 20 or so minute hike back to the car but as we got close to the car for some reason I checked my pocket to see if my gold was there, and it wasn't! $#@$#@$#@ My heart stopped! We went into panic mode checking my pockets 20 times and emptying out my backpack, nope! Nowhere, it was very dark now and my phones light wasn't helping much. We decided rather than walk back with my phone light we'd go back to JW's house and get a torch and come back and look for it, it either had to be on the path we took or any of the last areas we walked at the nugget spot. We arrived back with the Torch, JW was a lot more confident we'd find it than I was. He said we'd be best off going back to the spot as it likely fell out of my pocket when I was crouching down packing all my stuff back into my bag. We retraced our steps back at the nugget spot and within about 10 minutes I spotted it, sitting in the long dead sparse grass!!! Thank goodness! That was a close call, my best gold day ever and I'd lost it all.
Now for the weigh in.
All the little ones, I can't even remember how many, 15 I think it was for 2.113 grams
And the monster! 4.081 grams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The total for my best day ever, 6.195 grams!
JW offered for me to stay at his place but I wanted to go home and show my wife my find, I didn't expect my 9 year old daughter to still be awake as I got home about 9.30pm and her bed time is 8.30 but my wife let her stay up to see my big nugget, she was very excited and shocked to see how big it was.
I had plans to go back first thing in the morning to start again, this hole had to have more, I dug my last one about 5 minutes before stopping last night so I was sure it wasn't finished. This time I was going to come more prepared, better pants with a zip up pocket to hold my gold bottle and a bigger white bottle so I can't lose it after the previous scare, a crow bar as we call them or San Angelo bar in America I believe? and a big magnet on a pole to try help with the little hot rocks. The ground was a bit frozen when I arrived but not too bad.
The magnet on a stick is cool, and worked well, shrinks down to put in my backpack too, it helped clear up the hot rocks quickly.
A pretty big strong magnet on it.
I had to give the area a tidy up and clear all the sticks before starting as I was heading that direction with my digging.
Doesn't help with these giant hot rocks though, but the crow bar dig them out and moved them for me, I'm certain they mask the gold targets when they're nearby
A quick video of the Nox on the hot rocks
It came in handy for giving me an ID on them.
Day two was going well too, I'd lost count again on how many nuggets only taking photos of the bigger ones.
And another one!
This rock even had a little one stuck in it.
I had to be home by 3pm so I called it quits, JW is still there now, hopefully he finds a big one! 🤞
So my total for today
11 Nuggets for 3.310 grams, and my two day total
9.546 grams, what a weekend! I love the 10" X-coil on the GPZ, what a killer combination. I'm really excited about the smaller sizes coming (8" and 12x8")