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Prospectors Guide To Beach Detecting

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Nice job, Steve...you are certainly investing time and energy in this forum.

The beaches here in San Diego are full of black sand...

I have found gold chain fragments on wet salt beaches with the Xterra-70 and the prospecting dd coil...the stock coil did not seem to deal with the black sand and wet salt water as well.

I have been to the bay a couple of times with my ctx3030; it worked ok but I don't have enough time in the salt to really have a firm opinion. I do know several beach hunters that haave switched to the 3030 and the big coil for their beach-ing...and love the results.

I know this will sound odd but I feel bad about finding lost rings, etc...but, there is rarely any way to find the foolish losers of said objects...

so, I won't throw them back!


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Some rings can be returned - did you read my note at the end of the Garrett in Hawaii article referenced above? Pretty cool when it can be done and it can't happen if you do not find the ring first. Also http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/54-lost-ring-returns-to-alaska/

The CTX 3030 is a great beach hunting detector. I am a little less confident in it as a true in the surf type detector. I was planning on taking the Garrett ATX to Hawaii with me and the Minelab CTX 3030 as backup. The plan was use the ATX most of the time, and possibly use CTX on the beach or wading but keep it out of heavy surf. Frankly, the machine is just a little too nice for the real rough and tumble treatment.

The ATX and CTX are both warranted waterproof to ten feet. Most real surf detectors are 100 feet or more. I have had two underwater detectors leak on me before, both brand new out of the box. The old White's Surf PI, two models back, prior to Surf PI Pro and newest Surf DF. My first water hunt to Hawaii died on arrival when that detector leaked. The box design was redesigned later and I have had several Surfs subsequently with no issues. The other was the old Tesoro Stingray II, model prior to current Tiger Shark. Both were replaced by their respective manufacturers.

After that first failure in Hawaii I have never gone with less than two waterproof detectors on an important trip. It has also made me cautious about waterproof detectors in general.

The CTX has had issues with the battery seal and to a lesser extent the USB port seal. Mine has been in the water a couple times with no problem but I still was not wanting to put it to the ultimate test in rough surf. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was also placing a pretty big bet on the ATX, a detector so new it has no track record. I always wanted a new Surf PI Dual Field and so when by chance an opportunity arose to get one I jumped on it. I believe in serendipity and so decided at last second to take the Surf to Hawaii in place of the CTX. It seemed like better insurance as it is one of the waterproof to 100 feet models and I have done well with prior Surf models in Hawaii.

Not to belittle the CTX however. Mine will still get plenty of beach use in the future. The first time in the water it scored me a nice gold ring, and on second outing also. One of the more successful beach hunters, Gary Drayton, has used the CTX extensively and has even written a book about using it available here. I have it and his book on reading the beach and hardcore beach hunting, all very good books. I would recommend any of his books based on what I have read so far.

He also has a great blog at http://hardcoretreasurehunting.blogspot.com with tons of great tips and excellent photos of eye-popping finds. If it can't inspire somebody nothing can!

The attached photo shows my finds from my first few outings with the CTX 3030. I took an immediate liking to it for obvious reasons.


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  • 1 month later...

that gold nugget specimen ring is beautiful ! what a nice find. ?

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Thanks, I was pleased with that one, combining both jewelry detecting and gold nugget detecting into one find!

The article is an older one, so I added lots of links and a couple notes to freshen it up. I particular I had a couple great outings with the Garrett ATX after the article was written....

Garrett ATX Review - Beach Detecting In Hawaii

Garrett ATX Return To Hawaii

Steve scores with Garrett ATX in Hawaii

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Man, I really like that specimen ring.   I like finding the gold but the unusual gold is the best gold.

Good article!


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  • 6 months later...

Excellent, excellent article.  Makes me excited about my upcoming beach trip.

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2 hours ago, Mark Gillespie said:

Excellent, excellent article.  Makes me excited about my upcoming beach trip.

Check your tides and get a good headlamp with a red bulb if you plan to detect at night. HH

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