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Putting My Newfound Knowledge To The Test

So after doing a lot of research on the subject of Dirt digging, and writing my thoughts, Ideas, and experiences down in this book, it’s time to put my knowledge, equipment, & skills to the test.

On my last excursion to Cobourg beach in southern Ontario (Lake Ontario) Where I spent 6 hours beach combing. I ended up with essentially 3 recently dated quarters and a silver dime from 1953. if it hadn’t been for that 10 cent piece I feel that the trip would have been a complete bust. Since then I have done a tonne of research and bought some extra gear to see if my time will be better spent and more productive. In this entry I will do a comparison between my Cobourg nighttime dig and this outing to Oshawa public beach, also a nighttime dig.

Cobourg public beach

When I arrived in Cobourg, I had no plan of attack. I did no research on the area, I had no idea where the busy sections of the beach was. I had spent a fair amount of my time searching in the quiet area of that particular beach (east end). Mainly because of my shy nature around people and this hobby. I was not utilizing a grid pattern, mostly I zigzagged all over the place with no structure to my search pattern. Also I had not dug any jumping/scratching numbers. Essentially I was aimlessly walking and hoping to hear something I wanted to hear on my machine, but wasn’t listening to what the machine was actually telling me. If I did hear a beep I would dig it regardless of what my machine was telling me. If the machine had 5 arrows indicating a deep target, I just dug it.

In Cobourg, like I stated previously, I spent 6 hours at the beach but only 5:15hrs of that time was spent actively metal detecting, I dug 85 targets in total, but had only 5 of those targets that I kept. This was an average of 14 to 15 holes dug an hour or 1.2 holes dug every 5 minutes.

The result was I spent A LOT of my time waisted on digging deep targets that mostly ended up being garbage targets anyway. And because I spent a significant amount of time in the quiet area of the beach I was not utilizing my time efficiently or effectively.

It wasn’t until I started digging the popular area of the beach that I started hitting decent targets, however by the time I got to that area, It was getting late and I had to start making my way back to my car which was located near the quiet part of the beach. Hence are just some of the reasons why I did not do very well on this outing.

Oshawa beach is not a very large beach.

Preparation for the afternoon dig in Oshawa started the afternoon prior, on the 19th of September after work. When I got home from work and shortly after dinner, I decided to do a little testing in my own back yard. I grabbed 2 of every Canadian coin, some American coins, some iron targets, and jewellery as well, then went to the back yard and tested everything. I wrote down all the signals (again) and studied the tones for each item. Then I searched my own back yard to see if I was able to guess any targets I found before digging them up. I was In fact, able to search specifically for coins and guessed both coins I found. Both of the coins were Canadian quarters. (Rang up a 4,5,7 scratch medium pitch on my V540 machine.

(Sorry hun, no time to clean out the car lol ) After my testing was done I got all my equipment, and bags ready and packed in the car, for tomorrow would be an early day.

The next day September 21st 2022, started out early as promised, I was up at 3:30Am as it was also a work day and I had to be at work for 5:30Am. Done at 3:30pm and then had a 2.5 hour drive to Oshawa beach. Arriving at 6pm I was eager to get started.

Rock Cairn someone built at work

My plan of attack for Oshawa beach was much different than the previous large beach I detected in Coburg. First I did more research, I made sure I knew where the busiest areas of the beach were,

Oshawa public beach most populated area

and I also made sure to park my vehicle close to that area of the beach. This was why when I started swinging my coil right out of the gate I was already in a heavy traffic area. This resulted in a couple of quick finds on my way towards the water’s edge where I planned to really start my search for the evening hunt.

Waters edge

I wanted to utilize the little amount of daylight hours I had close to the waters edge before night fall. I would plan to move to the area of the beach where beach goers set up shop for a day, once the sun set. The reason for this plan of attack was for 2 reasons, 1st because I wanted daylight when working close to the water, 2nd, I know that the wet area between the waters edge and the dry sand can be far and few between a good target Signal on the machine, but the best treasures can also be found in this area so I wanted the best light for the potential best targets of the hunt.

1979 penny 6” below surface VDI #25

Once the sun went down, I moved to my second areas of attack, “centre beach” (most populated by beach goers). This worked well to my favor. By hitting the populated areas, yes I had to get through A few garbage targets like bottle caps & pull tabs, I was very surprised at how clean this beach was. There was really not much garbage either.

I was also getting a decent amount of Good VDI#’S on my screen , not to mention some kids toy cars. Personally I like getting the toy cars because I save them for my 1 year old boy at home.

Speaking of which, Erin and Caspian came for a short visit before heading out for a nice Swiss Chalet dinner with a good friend of ours (JQ). I of course did not join them as this was my time to do a bit of treasure hunting and have some “me time”. Tomorrow will be time for Erin and Caspian when we head into the city to go to Ripleys Aquarium.

Erin & Caspian came for a short visit.
The next day at the Aquarium on Toronto with Caspian

The last thing I made sure to do is, not dig anything to deep, especially in close proximity to the waters edge. If you do, the water is quick to fill in your hole and the sand also makes quick work filling it back in faster than you can dig. So only get the targets if there is 3 or less arrows on your machine indicating a shallow target. One can get all too excited with certain numbers but knowing when to give up is sometimes key to a productive hunt.

On this particular hunt, I gave up lots as the sand was so mineralized and would give false readings often. This happened most often near where the water meets the beach. This night I gave up on many holes.

Taking a break after I had just dug approx 15 holes in a row with false readings

Regardless of all the false readings, this dig was becoming extremely successful and I will show you pics of all the goodies at the end.

Approximately 1hr before I was going to end my hunt for the night, my decent VDI# numbers seemed to be getting less and less, so I started changing up my game plan a bit. I decided on going to the areas where the beach met a walking path and to the nearby Sandy playground and an adjacent rock pier might also be to my advantage. 2 of my 3 main items came from around the Rocky wall areas close to the waters edge. Infact 1 of my finds came straight out of the water. This area was beside the harbour where large ships dock.

First relic ever found for me.

I would do a quick search of that area before working my way back to the car. This entire area has been around and occupied by people since the early 1800’s at least. There are 3 museums in the park of restored buildings dating back to the 1840’s. I had high hopes of getting into a relics or old coin/s, or dare I say “GOLD” in a relatively old patch of the park? Well the pic above just so happens to be an old relic, “I’ll have to do some extra research on it when I get home”. At first glance this appears to be a military badge, and possibly a pilots wings badge? But I’m not certain.

Oshawa parking to the beach

The problem was. the entire park has been updated in recent years and is now quite modern.

The calculations of the hunt are as follows. I combed the beach from 6PM to 12:00AM and took 1x 45 minute break & 2x 15 minute breaks in between. ( OR 1:15hr total break time) This allowed for 4:45 hours of active beach hunting time. I dug 150 targets on the beach, 15 targets on the grassy areas on my way back to the car. This made for a grand total of 165 targets dug in 4:45hrs. I got 18 targets of interest from relics, to modern coins, and even an 1865 Mexican gold coin token. The rest were garbage items. I would consider this to be a very successful night of dirt fishing.

This is an average of 34 targets dug per hour or 2.9 targets dug every 5 minutes. This is an average increase of dug targets of just over 1.6 extra targets dug per 5 minute interval in comparison to my time at Cobourg beach where I dug on average 1.3 targets every 5 minutes. I increased my productivity rate by %76.3 over my last time out.

I highly believe that the reason I have increased productivity so drastically are for several reasons but the most predominant of these reasons is this, 1st I did my research of the area prior to going there. 2nd was that I upgraded some of my equipment, mainly my new pin-pointer made me much more efficient. 3rd I had a plan of attack for the beach this time. 4th I did not dig known trashy target VDI #’S if deeper than 3 arrows on the detector (or approx 6” deep. I would only dig deep targets if they were known to be good VDI numbers to me, and if the sound was familiar, otherwise they were left for another detectorist to help themselves.


( Not that this item was super helpful on the beach but for the grassy & hard soil areas I would highly recommend the Hori Hori knife. It comes razor sharp and you can order either right, or left handed serrated edge on it. It’s super durable and fairly inexpensive off Amazon ) this knife cuts perfect plugs and has a measurement on the trowel to 6 inches.

With putting together my research, new found knowledge, and equipment I was able to make (what I consider to be anyway) great use of my time. I would consider this hunt extremely successful. And here are some more pics of my finds.

The other reason for good finds along with all my other resources is simply put, DUMB LUCK. You simply cannot find targets that are not there. You must be where the goods are or the entire hunt will be a bust.

Oldest (recent coin) was the 1979 Canadian quarter made of %100 nickel

Next fun item on the list was this fake gold chain. It was some kind of metal or the detector would not have picked it up. and I’ll have to look into it further when I get the chance. ( Update) this item was a fake, however it was actually 2 necklaces intertwined as 1.

I got a few odds and ends, some pieces that will have to be cleaned up so I can get a better look.

Mid way through my outing

A bunch of pull tabs and bottle caps & odds and ends, I even needed to go to a nearby garbage can to do a initial dump run to empty my finds bag so I could fit some more items.

But, The best find of the hunt was?

This 1865 Mexican gold coin still need to be cleaned properly however if I want to keep its value, I should probably not clean this item.
Pic from internet of a cleaned coin from same year as the one I found.

This was an 1865 Mexican 22K Gold coin. Actually alot of these are real 22k gold, not plated. Mexican tradition is that groom must present 7 gold pieces to bride family. These tiny gold coins allow for that to be accomplished with relative ease! Millions upon millions exist as they were made expressly for this purpose. (Cited from:

This makes my 1865 Mexican coin my very first genuine Gold find ( that I get to keep, the gold diamond ring on Amherst Island beach was technically the first gold, but I gave that back directly to the owner while she was standing right there as she had asked me to please look for it for her. lol). It is also my oldest piece in my collection, and if sold as scrap gold? It would be worth a minimum of $119.00 CDN which makes this my most valuable find to date within my collection. And lastly this coin if in decent condition could be worth upwards of $1500.00 CDN. Which (& because I am keeping this item) means, that technically, I have now found enough items, I feel have now fully paid for all of my metal detecting equipment and outings I have bought over the past 4 months. Including last nights hotel stay if I were to sell all my finds lol, but nope, I’m keeping it all. What an incredible feeling that is.

As for the beach it’s self? This was a clean beach for the most part. After searching approx 10 ish different beaches to date I am starting to determine that no matter what beach you end up at? Wether it is for pleasure just to spend a day in the sun by the water, or if you are going to make the worlds largest sand castle, you are going to come across garbage at a beach. Some dangerous items will always be found at beaches, especially if you plan to dig at one like I do. Todays most dangerous find was a possibly a device to test one’s blood sugars for diabetes, It is considered a biohazard device because it pricks human skin, however it is a sealed and self contained device so it’s not all that dangerous. I will dispose of this item in a biohazards box we have at work.

Other than that I think the most dangerous items were a few nails and screws and a couple sharp shards of various decaying metal that I have come across at every beach to date.

Majority of items found on the beach

But if I’m to be honest dangerous items are everywhere, it just makes it a bit worse when you think of small children playing around items such as the one above. However as far as beaches go this Oshawa beach was in incredible shape and I would take my children there for sure.

In review / conclusion of writing this blog/book about what I’ve learned to date with this new hobby of mine as a metal detectorist, and the adventures I’ve had, Begs the question. IS METAL DETECTING WORTH INVESTING INTO AS A HOBBY?

Answer: Yes there are not to many hobbies one does that actually pays you to get out and do something you enjoy for fun. However with metal detecting the items found can quite literally pay you as soon as you pick it up in your hand. Because some of these items are cash.

There is much more to this hobby than I ever thought there would be. To my surprise I find it interesting that digging holes in the ground and or sand would be so rewarding as a hobby, however I have found that a new hobby, and dare I say Passion. It has been interesting learning all that I have already and I know I’ve only broken the surface with this. So I’m excited to keep moving forward, keep learning all the tips and tricks there is to know. Each and every outing has been its own adventure. Any ways I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and I’ll continue to write but may slow down between now and next spring in 2023. Have a good 2022/2023 winter season. And if you are just getting into this hobby or your a long time detectorist? I wish you luck out in the field / or on the beach, and happy dirt fishing.


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