With the restrictions in place at present time, you are probably like me and hauled up with cabin fever waiting to get out on the ground in perfect detecting weather. I am currently stuck in SA until travelling to the West is an option again. All I can do at the moment is re-live those great finds and plan my next foray. It was this time of year that I hit three nice nuggets in a single day totalling over three ounces while trialling the 14” Coiltek Elite, and I’d love to repeat that day real soon.
We all know that time spent on the ground is the surest way to success when detecting for gold. Patience over the hard yards and a dash of luck gets the good stuff. However, There are a few tried and true tricks that I wish I’d known sooner to maximize the reward for the time spent swinging.
First, get to know your machine. Your machine is a technical piece of equipment and we are not necessarily able to drive them straight out of the box. Read the instructions, watch the tutorials, better yet, spend a day or so training with an instructor. I did this in my first few weeks out and the knowledge was invaluable. There are several good operators across the states that can set you on the right track. Having the correct settings and understanding how and why they work will optimise your returns on time and investment.
Next, get into that greenery! There are plenty of us detecting nowadays and open ground is rarely untouched. Under those shrubs and debris are undetected spaces well worth a try. Gold gathers in the low points and so does water which is why that bush might be growing just there. I have found more than a few nuggets tangled in the roots of a shrub growing in a natural low point. It is worth the scratches.
Optimise and adjust. Like car accessories or a television sound system, add-ons improve performance. An aftermarket coil, such as an Elite Coil, will enhance your detectors performance. Coiltek invented and developed the flat wound coil and has always been a market leader.
Adding a longer shaft or fitting a swing arm will make the machine more comfortable to use. You will be able to swing further for longer. My hearing is not how it once was, so I like to use a clearer, crisper audio from sensitive headphones and a signal booster.
Overlap your swing. The most common trouble with technique that I have come across is trying to cover too much ground too fast. Your next swing should overlap the last which is a bit like mowing the lawn, do not leave undetected that strip of grass in between passes. Remember that the coil is sensing what is at the centre of that coil in each sweep, not the entire area of the plate so make sure you tighten your pattern to cover all the ground completely.
Make sure you know where you are going and where you have been. Get a good hand-held GPS and learn to use it. Not only for safety in knowing your position and getting back to your vehicle, but so you can track when you’ve been over a patch, what portions you’ve missed, and use it to steer over the ground. Another mowing analogy is gridding your patch and following it on the GPS. This will ensure that there are no undetected spaces and leave a trail. I wear out a couple pairs of boots each season leaving drag marks in the dirt so I can visibly see on the ground where I have been and where I still need to head.
Dig everything. It seems obvious and you have probably heard it before but trust me it is the truth. I have seen plenty of videos where I can hear a potential target, but they have been dismissed too quickly. Not everything screams, no matter how precise your settings. When in doubt as to if you have heard something, swing again, push aside the topsoil, and swing again. You might get a clearer signal, or it will clear up any misleading sounds.
A day detecting is great, a day on the gold is better! Trial and error will improve your technique and a few simple tweaks to your approach could be the difference between pay-day and just a day-hike. Keep swinging and may the yellow stuff be waiting for you when we can all get out on the ground again.
Aussie Gold Hunter