How to Beat the Summertime Blues

As any beach or water hunter on the US east coast will tell you, summer time usually means sanded-in conditions. Easterly winds and surf move sand onto east coast beaches during the summer months, alternatively the same beaches are stripped of sand by north easterly winds and surf during the winter months. So what is a beach or water hunter to do during the summer to combat heavily sanded-in conditions? The best option when trying to locate deep targets at the beach is to use a large search coil, assuming you can find a large search coil that will work on your metal detector.

Unfortunately, many large accessory search coils just do not out perform the stock coil that came with your metal detector, which is a huge gamble of you are changing from one hard wired search coil to another. There are a couple of drawbacks to using large search coils for beach and water hunting. Large search coils have the potential to be less sensitive to small targets, especially at depth. The second drawback is having to run your metal detector sensitivity setting at a much higher setting, both potential problems have to do with the extra amount of ground being read under the large search coil. If your large search coil is not a good fit with your metal detector, you run the risk of not detecting small targets and missing signals using a chattery metal detector at the beach.

Last year I was asked by my friend Ron DeGhetto aka “Gold Digger” to test a large 15-inch NEL attack search coil on my waterproof Minelab Excalibur. To be honest I was very skeptical at first, because the previously mentioned drawbacks had previously put me off using large search coils at the beach. I kind of gave up on the idea of using a VLF metal detector with a large search coil to gain pulse induction metal detector depth, without having to dig iron. Assured by Ron that the NEL search coil would change my mind, I reluctantly agreed to modify my back up Excalibur and install the 15-inch NEL Attack search coil. My Excalibur warranty had expired and I thought why not try something different as I know Ron is not just a dealer, he is a capable beach hunter too.
Hitting a sanded-in beach shortly after having my Excalibur modified, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I turned my Excalibur on. The pleasant surprise was being able to set my Excalibur sensitivity at the 11 oʼclock position, the very same Excalibur sensitivity setting I prefer to use with a 10-inch search coil. I expected I would have to back off the Excalibur sensitivity control as I began searching along the wet sand, but the expected chatter never happened. My Excalibur purred along smoothly with the 15-inch NEL Attack coil, just as it did with the 10-inch search coil in the wet sand with saltwater washing over the search coil.

Over the following months of testing, I saw the advantages of using the 15 inch NEL Attack coil on my Excalibur during sanded-in conditions. Huge advantages to a beach or water hunter, such as ground coverage, smooth operation and most importantly, outstanding sensitivity to both small and large targets at depth.

The “Big rig” has now become my go to metal detector for sanded-in beaches, when being able to detect deep targets is the name of the beach hunting game. Swinging the 15-inch NEL search coil is not a problem, as my Excalibur is mounted on a straight shaft that helps to balance the weight perfectly on long jewelry or coin hunts.

A custom pinpoint button and custom headphones help me to detect and hear deeply buried targets using the big beach and water hunting rig. In the water the Excalibur / NEL coil combination is surprisingly stable and deep, I have yet to use the suggested Excalibur Sub Aqua sensitivity levels. Finally beach and water hunters have a large search coil option, without any trade offs in metal detector sensitivity or performance. If you are in the market for a darn good large search coil for your metal detector, contact my friend Ron about the range of NEL search coils. I could have added plenty of bling photos to this article, but chose to let my big rig do the talking.

This is what I will be reaching for when the beaches are sanded-in or I want to cover the beach before the competition.

HH Gary Drayton

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