By Steve Herschbach
Fisher Research originally released the 19 kHz Gold Bug model about 1987. It was a real breakthrough design at the time with a compact control box, S-rod, and elliptical coils. The detector is a good unit but is strictly all metal (no discrimination). It has no LCD readout and looks much like the current Gold Bug 2 but has a white lower rod and a black control panel face. Some people are confusing this old model with the new so be aware of this when looking at used detectors. The 19 kHz coils for the old Gold Bug will not work on newer versions of the Gold Bug below.
Around 2010 a number of new Gold Bug models were released by Fisher. First came the Gold Bug in 2009. Then came the Gold Bug SE (Special Edition) which added manual ground balance at a bargain introductory price. The SE with minor tweaks later became the Gold Bug Pro at a higher price. So now we have two basic versions, the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro. They differ from the old 1987 model by having an LCD readout. The standard version of either detector comes with a 5" round coil. There is a Gold Bug DP (Deep Penetrating) which is nothing more than a Gold Bug Pro with an 11" x 7" DD elliptical coil instead of a 5" round DD coil.
The only difference listed by Fisher between the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro is that the Gold Bug Pro has a manual adjustment option for the ground balance and also offers "higher sensitivity".
Both models use a "Ground Grab" button as a simple ground balance method that is quite effective. The Gold Bug Pro allows you to also manually adjust the ground balance setting up or down. The manual adjustment can be used in conjunction with or separately from the Ground Grab button.
The big question is the "higher sensitivity" claim. There are two possibilities here. First, that the Gold Bug Pro actually allows for higher gain or sensitivity levels. However, I was in marketing too long and have a more jaded thought. Manual ground balance allows for a higher degree of control that if used properly can get you more sensitivity. There is a very distinct possibility the higher sensitivity claim follows directly from the ability to manually ground balance the Gold Bug Pro. This could be tested with both units set side by side with identical ground balance settings and max gain. If the Gold Bug Pro is inherently more sensitive an air test should show it. I have not had the chance to do this my self but if somebody wants to there you go.
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My opinion? I believe the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro if outfitted with the same coil are basically the same detector. The only real difference is the manual ground balance option on the Gold Bug Pro. Do you need it? Not really, and especially when you consider that for $499 vs $649 that is probably all you are getting. The Ground Grab function is remarkably effective and would suit most people just fine.
I personally do like manual ground balance and so for me spending the extra money to get it is a non-issue. I do as a rule tell people that if cost is not an issue get the Gold Bug Pro. It is far more popular and would be easier to resell. But in all honesty I think the Basic Gold Bug is the real bang-for-the-buck unit. There is nothing else close to it at the $499 price point that offers full LCD readout target discrimination while in full power all metal prospect mode.
I should note that First Texas owns both Fisher and Teknetics. The Fisher Gold Bug DP (Gold Bug Pro with 11" coil) is marketed by Teknetics as the G2. The Fisher Gold Bug DP goes for $699 and the Teknetics G2 is $749. The $50 extra gets you a pistol grip rod instead of the Gold Bug S-rod and an arm strap. Nice gray paint scheme also. Really boils down to pistol grip vs S-rod, purely a personal preference thing.
I use the 5" x 10" elliptical myself and consider it to be the best all around coil for the Gold Bug. However, right now you have to get it as an accessory or as part of a two coil package. Fisher would be doing us a service to release the Gold Bug with this coil as standard on the unit.
My Gold Bug 2 is slightly better on the tiniest of gold but the Gold Bug Pro easily outperforms the Gold Bug 2 on larger nuggets at depth. For all around nugget detecting the Gold Bug or Gold Bug Pro (and G2) have a better balance of both small gold and large gold capability than the Gold Bug 2.
To recap first came the original 1987 era Gold Bug with knobs and switches:
1987 era analog Fisher Gold Bug
Then in 2009 we got the new Gold Bug:
Fisher digital Gold Bug
Followed quickly and briefly by the Gold Bug SE. Note how the plus and minus buttons now have dual functions, both Disc and Ground Balance, compared to the basic Gold Bug above:
Fisher Gold Bug SE
The Gold Bug SE was basically the prototype for the Gold Bug Pro, which got a new faceplate decal and a higher price:
Fisher Gold Bug Pro
And finally, the Gold Bug Pro was also marketed under the Teknetics line as the G2 with a different rod/handle assembly:
Gold Bug Pro DP compared to Teknetics G2:
Click on images below for larger versions.....
By Mike Hillis
Decided to get me another AT Pro.
Last hunt back I was out in a light drizzling misty rain with my metal detector wrapped in a walmart bag and decided I needed a wet weather detector. Did a review and I know its not the new darling around town but I remembered how well the Garrett coil performed for me in the past and decided to get another one.
Looking forward to chatting about it later.
By Steve Herschbach
Now through March 31st you can buy the Garrett AT Pro with the smaller 5" x 8" DD coil instead of the normal stock 8.5" x 11" coil. The package is also at a lower price of $488 of course... and you get a free hat! While this is being billed as a holiday special the fact that it runs through March 31, 2019 means there is plenty of time to take advantage of this package deal.
Garrett AT Pro Sport Special
Will the Gold Bug Pro run well with a Detech 13" Ultimate coil that was made for the "greek series" detectors?
Their website doesn't give a whole lot of information
I want a bigger coil for my GBP than the stock coil that came with it as a Gold Bug Pro DP and I've read good things about the ultimate, and I have a guy willing to sell me his off his Omega 8000 at a reasonable price.
I've found the Gold Bug Pro has remarkably accurate Target ID's on coins, almost up there if not equal to my Equinox and possibly better than my T2 so I was thinking if I got a bigger coil for it perhaps my wife would use it for the odd coin shooting adventure, I think at the moment shes a bit put off by me cleaning up with my Nox and her using the T2 and not doing near as well, as she likes I know it's a coin before digging, the T2 isn't such an accurate detector on the Target ID's as the Nox but the GBP seems pretty darn good. The T2 bounces around on the target ID's, the Nox gets a solid 21/22 almost every time. The easier I make it for her the more she may like it and I don't want to spend the money on a Nox 600 for her right now as she'll only use it 3 or 4 times a year so I don't want a fixed lithium style battery detector for her. AA or 9V is more suited to that and I'd rather use what I've got.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
Hello everyone. I haven't really gotten out to use my detector since buying it last year spring time (Garrett AT Gold). I'm not sure exactly how to use it and would love some pointers or would be very happy to get with someone local and teach me some pointers. I am a GPAA member and I am thinking about going to the claim they have out by Rye Patch next Tuesday Dec 04. I have never been out to that area so any info on that would be appreciated as well. Thank you very much and have a great week.
I had never really used my GBP for coin hunting before but on a recent camping trip my Nox ran out of battery at a bad time and my wife was using my T2 so I was left with my Gold Bug to use. I was in a place where ground balancing was needed occasionally and I also like to flick between All metal and Disc mode often but it's terribly annoying to do that on the GBP so I decided I'd get around to modding it when I got back with a switch to make life easier. I only found a dollar coin using the GBP that afternoon but we had already virtually cleaned up the area.
You'l find the story on the Gold Bug Mod here
Seeing I've now got my GBP modded I wanted to take it for a test run, the weather was rainy today but I had a job to do near a lakefront beach area I had a feeling would be worth detecting due to how busy it gets in summer so I put my GBP in the car.
I put my 11" coil on it, first time I've ever used it as I bought my GBP to be a prospecting machine.
Seems a decent coil for covering ground but feels nose heavy to me, I'm not used to the coil having a large front with the shaft mount near the rear.
It was a quick 1 hour hunt due to the weather and I had no idea about what Target ID number is what on the GBP as I mostly use the Nox. I remembered 78/79 is the NZ gold coins on the T2 and with the GBP having the same numbers it helped find a couple of gold coins, other than that I was just digging stable target ID's.
My total haul, not bad for a small amount of time.
I got a few older coins, one of them American but it looks like the surface is rubbed off, I can't see a date on it.
Not a bad hunt for the time I spent on a detector I'm not overly used to using for coin hunting. My new switch is great, a real time saver. A good bit about living in a tourist hotspot is all the foreign coins to be found. The Queenstown area has about 30,000 people living in it and gets over 3 million tourists a year.