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Hit Popular Lakes this Summer with a Metal Detector

Posted by E.G.D. on September 3, 2015

While we are only about halfway through the summer, many people consider the summer over after Labor Day.  Either way, time is of the essence!  Go find yourself a beach while the weather is balmy, ladies and gentlemen, and while you’re in the planning phase, you can read this guest article by Daniel Bernzweig!  Happy last-holiday-weekend-of-summer, everyone- E.G.D.

Photo from Photopin

Walkway Lake Michigan by Daniel Marchese from Photopin

Hit Popular Lakes this Summer with a Metal Detector by guest blogger Daniel Bernzweig

Summertime is the perfect time for treasure hunting in the water. Shallow water hunting with a metal detector is a hobby anyone can enjoy—especially the outdoorsy types. For people who are not snorkelers or divers, shallow water treasure hunting is the perfect option. And while many states are landlocked, every state but Maryland has natural freshwater lakes. The folks in Maryland are lucky enough to be ocean side, so they can detect along busy beaches and the Atlantic shoreline. For hobbyists near the lake, popular boating & swimming areas are the places to hunt with an underwater metal detector.

Inland Islands and Sandbars are ‘Treasure Zones’

One tip water detectorists offer is to search the sandbars of popular lakes. This is where boats drop anchor so people can swim in warmer, more shallow water. Sandbars are also hotspots for boaters to tie lines together and anchor for social gatherings. Muscamoot Bay in Lake St. Clair, Michigan is one such area where boaters try to set records every year with a “Raft Off.” Small islands are also known for their social festivities. Put In Bay, Ohio is known as one of “America’s 10 Best Party Islands,” as well as a top freshwater island vacation spot. Holiday weekends and warmer weather can bring thousands of partying boaters to these destinations. The boaters are slicked up with suntan lotion, jumping into the water and engaging in festivities, games and activities. This inevitably leads to coins and jewelry falling off and getting lost in the water. A prime opportunity for water treasure hunters!

Underwater Pinpointing and Treasure Recovery

Before you dip your machine into water, be sure to check that it is a waterproof  model. Some models, like the Garrett Ace 250, are only waterproof up to the control box. Its fine to get the coil and stem wet, but submerging the control box would be bad news.

Locating and retrieving targets in the water can be a challenge until you get some good practice in. A good technique is to use the pinpoint mode on your detector. Hold the button and find the strongest signal, then slowly pull the coil  towards you until the signal drops off. That will tell you the target is just off  the front edge of your search coil. Once you have pinpointing your target, you’ll need your sand scoop. Slowly push down on the scoop handle so it is prying the sand up. Make sure the scoop’s contents don’t come coming flyinur foot to support the scoop until you get it out of the water. Scan the hole; if the object is still in the holg out of the scoop. For deeper water, you can use yoe, dump the scoop underwater and get another scoop full. Rescan the area once you have located a target. Coin spills are very common in the water, so other coins may come right up with your next scoops of sand.

Required Equipment: Waterproof VLF metal detector. Short or long-handled scoop.

Very Low Frequency (VLF) Metal Detectors are the preferred models for freshwater hunting. They typically operate in the 3 to 30 kHz frequency range and they are motion detectors. They are highly capable of locating coins, relics, and jewelry. Waterproof VLF detectors can be used in fresh or salt water when beach metal detecting. However, they are known to react to salt and can become erratic around wet ocean sand.

Which Metal Detectors are Best for Freshwater Hunting?

Beach and underwater treasure hunters have strong preferences for specific underwater metal detectors. Experienced treasure hunters like the Garrett AT Pro model. This unit is often praised for its superb discrimination in fresh and salt water. Tesoro also gets high marks for the Tiger Shark. Hobbyists who are hooked on Fisher detectors tout the Fisher CZ-21 for use at both salt and freshwater beaches.


About the author: Daniel Bernzweig manages in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.

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