Water Scoops for Metal Detecting
The most important thing after buying a new metal detector for the beach is to find the right accessory scoop for your type of hunting. Less sturdy designs are great for dry sand, and the heavier built ones can withstand wet sand or even gravel and small rocks.
Small hand scoops are designed with wire mesh, and they are mainly for sifting dry sand. Short-handled designs are for beach hunting or at the water's edge. Only about two-feet long, they are made for easy kneeling and scooping, which is especially enjoyable for children. The long-handled varieties range from light, aluminum types for sand, and heavier, steel "kick" scoops for gravel and rocky bottoms in deeper water. They may be five feet long or more. Some have adjustable-length handles. Look for ergonomically designed handles that enhance your natural digging leverage and lessen fatigue over the course of the day.
The fun thing about scoops is that you don't have be able to see through the water in order to use them. So, in muddy, silty, or turbulent water, simply use your detectorto zero in on those valuable targets. Use the pinpoint trigger on your detector to dial it in and limit the number of scoops required for treasure recovery. Scooping is hard work, so it's a good idea to alternate the kicking foot and swinging arm every hour or so to avoid tendinitis. Also, neoprene dive boots are not as sturdy as flyfishing wading shoes for kicking. Buy a sturdier pair of wading shoes/boots to save your precious feet. On a typical sand bar, you might end up kicking your scoop 500 times in one day, so invest in the right gear!
Detectorist with scoop and Fisher 1280 Detector
Most scoop holes are drilled just smaller than an American Dime so that coins do not fall through. Many detectorists fasten magnets in the bottom of their scoops to make it easier to catch nails, screws, and wire and remove them from beaches and swim areas. Sometimes handles are made of wood or foam-filled so they will float, keeping the scoop upright if it is let go. If the handle is metal, simply slide a few feet of foam or rubber pipe insulation over it to make it bouyant. This also protects your hands from turning black if the handle is aluminum, and from cold metal on chilly days.
The price ranges start around 25 dollars for a basic sand scoop to the $225.00+ range at the top end for the most versatile models. Aluminum is lighter, but steel scoops can handle rocky lake bottoms without bending. The model I prefer is the most versatile: the "Titanic," which features a break-down shaft, a steel scoop, a built-in sifting/viewing tray, a colored foam-filled floating handle, and ergonomic design.
Remember, you don't have to be able to see metal targets to scoop them: just listen for the beep in your headphones. All of these scoops can be used with your eyes shut, which is prime for night-time detecting! When you hear a clear signal, just "tag" it with your toe, slide your foot back 3 or 4 inches, and kick your scoop in where your toe was. Run your coil over the divot where you scooped to see if you captured the find. Keep scooping till the signal disappears. Shake the sand and dirt through the scoop and examine it carefully for your treasure! Sometimes small items slip through the holes, so try to buy a scoop with smaller holes on one side that form a "viewing tray." After recovering a target, always re-check around the spot because there are often two or more targets in the same hole.
Most of the time, you will find trash such as pop tabs, bottle caps, and pennies, but just keep scooping till the gleam of gold or silver appears. It can be frustrating to dig 100 pop tabs, but think of the fresh air, exercise, and beauty of nature all around you! Eventually, treasure will be found. It usually happens when you least expect it to. It's very exciting to experience your first gold fever! Be sure to safeguard your best finds in a separate pouch and try not to scream too loudly when you find your first gold jewelry. It may attract others to your favorite spot! Welcome to water hunting!