From English Shores to Californian Gold: A 37-Year Journey of Metal Detecting and Unearthing History


Tell us about yourself?

Born in England and raised in the United States. I first started metal detecting searching for placer gold around old hydraulic areas in the hills of Northern California and deep in the arroyos of Mexico. I  have been detecting for over 37+ years!


What interested/attracted you to buy your first metal detector?

My first interest in treasure hunting began when I was 10 years old when my father showed me a Spanish 8 Reales coin he recovered while diving with Errol Flynn off the Bahamas. My father was a big band singer in the 1940s and Errol and my dad were best of friends. Needless to say, I was hooked on the lore and the pursuit of History. My first metal detector was a Radio Shack build-at-home edition which caused many a hole to be dug in my parent’s backyard.


When did you use your Coiltek coil fist & how did you find this experience?

My first experience using Coiltek Coils began in the early 90s while detecting in Mexico with the Minelab GP Extreme fitted with the 24×12 UFO coil.

This was an aha moment for me on the importance of using different coils and approaches to your treasure hunting.

I was detecting gold patches that I had gone over with Minelab stock coils and thought the areas had been worked out. The first time I fitted the GP Extreme with the Coiltek UFO coil and went back over the same placer gold sights.  I was stunned by the amount of gold the other coils missed.

Ever since that day, I have always had Coiltek coils and Minelab detectors as part of my toolkit.


How has metal detecting benefitted your lifestyle? 

Metal detecting has truly changed my life it has taken me all over the world in pursuit of history and the experiences and acquaintances I have made along the way are the real treasure.


What advice would you give to someone wanting to start metal detecting?

My advice to someone just starting metal detecting is the following:


  • Read the manual that came with your metal detector and read it more than once. I can’t tell you how many people I have met who have owned their detectors for years and don’t understand what each setting does.


  • Stay off of YouTube with regards to watching videos where people are telling you this is the best setting for your Metal Detector. Their settings may be great where they live but might not be so suitable in the area you live in. Different soil types and Mineralization. Know your machine before you make changes. The manufacturer of your detector has taken a lot of time to create preset programs that are just fine in most situations without making any changes to them. The only thing you need to change on your detector in my opinion is.


  • Sensitivity


  • Recovery speed


  • Discrimination settings which most preset programs on your detector already have are suitable for the area you are detecting. Beach, Park, etc…


  • Always ask for permission when metal detecting on private property.


  • Research, research pays dividends. Online or the best is going into your local library and learning about the area you live in.


  • Clean your detector after every use. Take care of your investment and it will take care of you.


  • Last and most importantly… Fill your holes!

And most important of all get out and have fun. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t dig up that gold ring on your first outing. Keep at it and it will come.


What has been your most significant experience or find to date?

My most recent recovery’s while using the Coiltek 10×5 coil and equipped with the Minelab Equinox 900. I was working in an area in England with heavy iron and was able to detect small medieval hammered coins smaller than my Pinky nail which the 11-inch stock coil would have missed. Also had another similar experience using the same technique working in an area in the USA at an old Spanish site witch, dates back to the 1500s and was able to detect three small Spanish cob coins in an area with heavy colonial iron. Target separation was the key to success in recovering treasure that other coils would have missed.