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Getting Down & Dirty

I’ve been writing a lot about detecting Ontario beaches lately, but it’s not the only detecting I’ve been doing. I also like to go to some local ball diamonds /parks/& playgrounds. I do like the beach because it can be some easy digging, however when going to a beach there is a bit more planning involved.

I can’t simply just up and leave the house to go for a day of digging, mainly because my partner and I have a 1 year old at home. My free time is needed around the house and I need to be around for my family.

Family outings take presidents over hobbies, but this is why I got into metal detecting to begin with. I figured it would be something I could do while we all went to a beach and while Erin and Caspian were in the water swimming, I could be doing some sand searching instead. That was the only reason I bought my first detector.

However, since then, It has morphed from just something to do while out on family outings to a full blown hobby. I’ve upgraded equipment, I have planned trips to several beaches. I’ve gone from doing this only on family outings to planned night digs, sometimes hours away from home.

Much of the time I only get maybe an hour ish to get out while Erin puts Caspian to bed, so this means I have no other choice but to do some local digging at a nearby ball park or even my own back yard sometimes. This type of hunt means sometimes you have to get DOWN AND DIRTY.

I find the best dirt fishing can be best just after a good rain storm. The rain will soften up the ground (and that way, I stop breaking good shovels) lol

Now, after a rain, the ground softens up quite a bit, but it can be messy, and there are a lot of garbage finds at this specific park too. Hence the “Getting Down & Dirty” title.

Now even with so many garbage finds I have come across a few 50+ year old coins in this park as well which is what makes me keep going back for more.

Just last night I was there for an hour but all I found were some buried nails and pull tabs and other assorted junk. At local parks I find a lot more pull-tabs than anywhere else that I dig.

I wondered myself what the regulations were regarding digging in public parks and beaches and I really couldn’t find much on the subject from a law standpoint, and even last week when A police officer came to have a chat with me on Cobourg Beach I asked him specifically about the regulations and he told me there wasn’t any real enforcement in Ontario for openly digging on public property.

The rules in Ontario change for private property or when you are in conservation areas or any provincial park. Then you require a specific metal detectors permit for that specific property. You can find these provincial parks online which require digging permits. And again this is only for Ontario Canada.

Every province differs in their rules regarding metal detecting and permits required. As does every territory, province or Country for that matter. So before you dig somewhere, know the areas rules and regulations.

What Does One Need To Get Started?

This is always a heated topic for debate. I’m still very new to this hobby and many people will have varied opinions as to what machine to buy or what equipment you need. For me tho, I’ll do my best to keep this as neutral as possible when explaining what one needs just to get started.

If I were to start this hobby all over again, I would make a few small adjustments as to how I went about getting into this hobby to begin with. When I started It was a spare of the moment decision and I had put no time into researching any machines before I just bought one. So my first suggestion would be to do a little research on the types of machines out there before you buy. Know the terrain you are going to hunt the majority of the time, as this will, or should have an effect on the detector of choice right from the get go. Take into consideration weather you will be hunting in wet conditions such as beaches or rain, or if you will be in a dry climate and only a fair weather hunter? Then once you know the answer to those questions you can make a better, & more informed decision of which detector will best suit your needs.

I know for me, I will be hunting both dry and wet climates and should have chosen a machine with some waterproof capabilities, price was a factor as I know it is for many people that are just getting into the hobby.

I will suggest to get a beginner unit unless you know this is going to be a hobby you want to do a lot and put some serious time in. Any machine you choose will detect metals, and you will find targets. However, some machines are better at detecting the precious metals like gold. If you know that those are the items you want? then I would move to the more expensive or higher end units right off the bat. But if you are just starting off then I would spend around $200 to $500 right out the gate for your first machine. These will be perfectly suitable to get you started and hooked on finding treasure. There is nothing wrong with machines in the lower price range. You will find targets your interested in when you purchase one of these machines. Get to know your machine inside and out, & you may never even need a newer or more expensive model. (Unless of course you want more settings and complications) I know I do lol.

Also one more suggestion is, if you plan on searching many different types of terrain? Then maybe consider a multi frequency machine?

Ok that’s all I will suggest when picking out your detectors. Now the other important item you should have in your arsenal of equipment are:


. You will be very pleased with this purchase once you start dirt fishing. So many items blend in completely once you’ve dug them out of the dirt that they can be very difficult to see or determine between dirt and the item itself. A pin-pointer will narrow down the area you need to look once you’ve exposed it from the ground.

The other items here, are more of a preference type of choice for each individual. Have a trowel or garden trowel, hand trowels come in many different materials, sizes, & shapes. I don’t have one myself but a hand trowel with cutting teeth on at least one edge would be handy, or if you plan on beach/sand digging? A hard plastic can be a great tool because if you item is in the trowel the detector will pick it up, if you use a metal trowel then you cannot just run your detector over it to see if the item is in there. However a trowel of some sort is essential to start with.


a pouch to put your finds into. You can use any type of pouch with a belt. This allows easy access to put your find in, instead of using your pockets. I prefer a pouch with multiple pockets to separate items found. Garbage finds in one pocket and good finds in another. Mine also has a side pouch to put a bottle of water. The more side pockets you have the more useful the pouch becomes.


So for shovels, again there are several options. For this item. I strongly urge you to figure out the terrain you know you will be digging. By knowing the terrain, will help determine the type of shovel you will need. You can dig almost any terrain with a good sturdy hand trowel, however, that is a slow method to get down to deeper targets. So if you are going to be digging hard ground/dirt areas? Invest in a good sturdy shovel.

Now if you know your going to dig in Sandy beaches then I would highly suggest investing in a sand scoop. These are extremely effective for digging through and and the holes in the scoop allow for both wet and dry sand to escape the shovel leaving your target in the scoop for easy retrieval. These types of shovels are not essential but are handy and create more time to dig more targets in a day. Also these types of shovels are great in the water too.

So to recap, the only items actually needed to get started are. A metal detector, a trowel, and a pouch. You can get these items for a total combined cost of Approximately $200 to $600

However, if you want to be efficient with your time, & want to dig more targeted interest items? Example…(Silver / Gold), Then you will want to start upgrading. After these items have been purchased then you can start adding to your equipment list. The next item I would personally purchase is a handheld pin pointer. These range from $40 to $300

And then the shovels. A good quality dirt shovel costs between $40 to $90. If you want a sand scoop they range from $80 to $300

Once you have upgraded your gear you will find you are much more efficient and less garbage items will be dug. Don’t get me wrong! You will still dig up loads of unwanted items, just less of them lol

All estimated costs are in Canadian currencies.


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