The Beginning Of The 2023 Season
Welcome to my page about metal detecting.
If you have been following my stories in 2022 then this is just a continuation about my adventures of becoming a metal detectorist, However if your new to my page then a brief history of myself, this blog, and why I started writing about metal detecting to begin with.
My name is James Mathias, I am a father to 3 boys, I have been an entrepreneur, and have run several businesses over the past 20 years, I am an outdoor enthusiast, and over the years have picked up many hobbies, from writing, (such as these blogs), camping, hunting, fishing, traveling, and not the regular kind of travel either. I travel to find work in many different fields. It has been a way of life for me for a very long time.
In recent years, I have gotten divorced from my ex-wife and started a family with a new partner Named Erin 3 years ago. Today we have a 15-month-old beautiful little man by the name of Caspian.
Approximately 5 years ago I had a successful fishing charter business I operated it for approximately 6 years & it was located in areas around Lake Ontario & the Bay Of Quinte. This business got sabotaged by a competitor and I was forced to find other means of making a living. I had the fishing business because fishing and being on the water was a lifelong passion of mine, plus I absolutely love fishing.
Today I have been without a proper fishing boat since my business was sabotaged and I have been unable to follow that passion.
For a few years I turned to a few of my other passions/ hobbies for entertainment, such as sailing, camping, & hunting. However, in the past 2 years once Erin was pregnant, even those hobbies took a back seat to prepare for the new life as an older father took precedence.
I also wrote about this time in my life as well
With a little man on the way with a new life partner I knew my life was completely changing from everything I knew previously. Traveling for work and discovering new to me jobs I knew must come to an end, & fast. No more traveling to Alberta to make some fast cash on the oil fields or, going to the east coast to band lobster claws or, traveling for weeks at a time along the St Lawrence river working on cruise lines.
No sir life had me by the nuts. I had to figure out something closer to home to be with my now partner and to be here to raise my third son.
I had and still have to this day, a stable, government job, which maintains at least on of my passions of, working on the water. This allows me to be home every day, have regular hours and regular pay. Yup life has changed from everything I used to know. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining or saying this is a bad way of life! Its just different and its something I’ve needed to get used to.
So, the reality was that I needed something to occupy my time but that doesn’t need to take up large amounts of time. You see hunting both in the spring and in the fall can sometimes take weeks of dedication at a time, depending on what your target species is of course. If I took up fishing again, well that is a full day activity every time I want to go, and let’s be honest, I would want to go A-LOT .
Camping is at least a weekend (each time), but metal detecting can be as long or as short as I want it to be.
All that said, this blog is about metal detecting, right? So why explain everything above? Well, with life changing so drastically in such a short period of time for me, it meant almost all my hobbies and passions also came to a halt and I needed something in my life that I could be passionate about once again, something that was mine, and something that I could do often. Sure, I had hunting, and I do love to hunt. You can read about some of those adventures in one of my other blogs. I’ll post a link to those here….
I have been able to take entire days at a time (if it works out for me), and take a long drive just to get to a location and hunt it. I have stayed over night in hotels away from home to be able to hunt some locations, or I have taken my detector to work and pulled over to hunt a small playground for 15 minutes on my way home, or while Erin has been putting our wee man to bed I have slipped out to a nearby baseball field or playground for a short hunt and then back in time before the boy is even asleep. Or I can even take 10 minutes in my own back yard to dig out a target. You’d be surprised, every time I go in my own back yard, I find something of interest. I can combine this hobby with other hobbies like writing, putting out social media content (vlogging), and even family outings too.
Erin and I love the water, we love the water so much that we even named our son after the largest body of fresh water in the world, the “CASPIAN sea”. Erin and I go to so many of our local beaches in our region or take our sailboat to the 1000 islands during the summer when we get some time off. With the area so rich with beaches, islands, and Canadian history, this makes metal detecting a perfect hobby for me and my family life. I have found so many items of interest this past year. To see some of those items, you’ll have to look back in my previous blogs within this site.
This brings me to my next point about metal detecting. FINDING ITEMS OF INTEREST. I find that metal detecting has opened other avenues of the hobby for me. I was never too interested in artifacts or history. Now I find myself looking up each item I find and researching the history of that said item. Whether it’s a Canadian penny, toy car, military relic, or a silver / gold ring. They all have an interesting history to them, I have found I really enjoy the researching end of the hobby for each item found.
So to start off the 2023 blogging season Ill start with a hunt I did on January 2nd 2023. Well, lets back up a bit I guess. In 2022 I started off thinking I would just be doing some detecting at some beaches when my partner and I brought our son to a beach. So I bought a relatively inexpensive machine at a local Canadian tire, (a Minelab 340). Just a few short weeks went by and I realized that I would be starting to enjoy the hobby more so I wanted to invest into a bit better machine that gave me some more options and made finding targets easier. After doing lots of research online and watching loads of YouTube videos, I knew the machine I was going to buy in the future. I wanted a Minelab Equinox 800. I knew the 800 was a better machine that was taking me out of the beginner or entry level hobbyist detector and into the intermediate or advance level hobbyist level. I also knew that I really did not have that many hours under my belt as a detectorist and I really did not need another machine just yet, So a little research and I upgraded to a Minelab 540, I knew with the added features of this machine would allow me to find targets faster and I would spend less time searching and more time finding. This also gave me the use of the 340 as a back up if needed.
Now basically both of these machines were decent starter machines, you would be fine with either of them as a first or starter detector, & if you were just getting into the hobby, especially if you didn’t want to spend a lot of money just to find out that you weren’t very interested in the hobby after all. So I used the Minelab 540 for several months to try and save my coins so I would be able to purchase the 800 maybe in the new year.
Well since I decided, (and was %100 sure that the Minelab 800 was going to be my detector of choice) in the near future, but I did not want to spend $1400 one a machine at this point, plus I already had 2 other detectors) almost immediately an Equinox 600, (the Equinox 800’s little sister machine) came up for sale on Facebook Market place for a really great price. Now the Equinox 600 is almost identical to the Equinox 800 in every way other than a few slight differences that wasn’t going to make a difference in my style of detecting, So of course & I jumped at the opportunity to purchase it. LOL
Yes that’s right, I was only 4 (ish) months into my first season of detecting and I already had 3 machines purchased. LOL
From around September through to the end of the year I used the Equinox 600 as my detector of choice. The Minelab 540 was my backup machine, and the 340 stayed at home collecting dust. But this didn’t stop me from continuously researching other detectors either. By mid to the end of November I had researched so many machines that I had made a new decision for the future of my detecting desires.
In October I had started researching 2 more machines that caught my interest. The Deus 2 and the Nokta Makro Legend. After many hours comparing 3 machines ( the Minelab 800, the Deus 2, and the Nokta Makro Legend) I came to the conclusion that all 3 machines were extremely close in quality, features, & even performance, from what I could gather from online forums & videos. I think my beloved Equinox 800 was now at the bottom of my list for the best of the best detectors tho. The differences between all three were so small that the deciding factor on what might become my next and hopefully final machine of choice ( ya right ha ha ha) would come down to price point.
In the end I compared each of the machine’s functions and priced out each one. Since they all seemed to be very well built and could essentially do the exact same thing as each other I decided the price point would be what I end up saving all my coins for. Knowing that the Deus was an all round best machine in my choice selection it was more than double the price to the Legend and as far as I could tell, was a VERY close comparison in performance
The following is In order of my choices.
1st The Deus 2= $2100
2nd The Nokta Makro Legend= $800 (very close 2nd choice)
And trailing far behind
& 3rd choice, “my beloved”, Minelab Equinox 800 =$1400 (but I already own the Equinox 600 ( an almost identical machine to the 800) so unfortunately this put the 800 completely out of the running for me.
Right at the end of November something incredible happened. The Nokta Makro Company, put on a special for the entire month of December. You could now purchase the Nokta Legend (PRO pack) which comes with a Nokta Legend detector, (under water) Nokta Pin-pointer, an additional “6 coil, a pair of wireless headphones, a digging tool, find pouch, and an extra battery pack. A total added value of around $400.00 which would all be additional costs for any of the machines I ended up purchasing in the future, for the low cost of $805.00 Canadian (plus tax).
Plus, there was an additional hidden bonus to this entire configuration, I just happen to know the Canadian Representative of Nokta who lives very close to me and we had been in chats before I was even considering another machine at all. This meant if I did end up with the new Legend then I would have the support of a Nokta Rep to teach me the ins and outs of the machine.
Now Being back to January 2023 the cost of the same package I got is back up to approx. $1300.00 to $1400 for everything mentioned above.
Well, the decision was made, I was going to purchase the Nokta Legend Pro Pack. And it wasn’t going to be in the future either, it would be early December so I could get the sale price. LOL. Well first thing first. I felt ridiculous having 3 metal detectors in my home and the 4th one bought in my inaugural season of detecting as it were, &, I know I would get an ear full from my partner if I came home with another one, so I quickly sent some feelers out to see if anyone was interested in the purchase of 2 Minelab detectors, (beginner detectors), the 340, & the 540 were both up for sale. Within a week both detectors were sold, and I had just enough to go and get the Legend at the sale price. So on the 2nd of December I packed up my son while his mother was at work, and drove a few hours into the city of Toronto to pick up the new machine. The only problem was with work in the way, and the winter not far off, I was not thinking I would get to try out the Legend until the spring of 2023 when the ground thaws.
I was Speaking with my friend Jason (the rep from Nokta) and he had me over to his place to help me set up my new machine, he downloaded the newest software into the new detector which gave the machine a few more capabilities, and adding even more value to this already great detector in my opinion. Jason then gave me a full demonstration of each of the functions and even set up one of the profiles to his favorite settings to help me get started when the time comes for next spring.
So, Christmas was just a couple weeks ago and right before Christmas our region saw the worst snowfall in the area that I can remember. Almost 3 feet of snow fell, the roads were closed, plows pulled off the roads because there was so much snow it was dangerous for even the plows to be out. Some of them were even in the ditch. In some areas there were 20ft drifts and cars were completely buried. A colleague at work was stuck at work for 3 days before the roads got plowed out enough so she could get home. And we all had a beautiful white Christmas indeed.
Just a few days after Christmas we then saw some of the warmest temperatures for a December I could ever remember both during the days and at night. The snow we got only a week prior was quickly melting and my hopes were high that I might even get out for a hunt even before spring comes.
First hunt with the Legend
Then it happened, New Years came and went, I had my son on the first of the month while my partner was at work, I believe they call that fathering, lol, but it was decided in my head that on the 2nd of January would be the day.
we still had mild temperatures and the grounds were thawed, I wasn’t working for the next few days, my sons first day of his new Daycare was starting so the day would be perfect right? Well,… my partner decided to make plans for us to go for a lunch with some family who we didn’t get to see over the holidays, plus I had a dentist appointment for 8AM that day. So, I’ll make this work I thought. if I timed it just right I would have approximately 2 hours of decent hunting time between when my morning appointment was done and when I had to be at the restaurant in Gananoque Ontario to meet everyone for lunch. (PERFECT)
In preparation for my 2 hour hunt I started the day before. While trying to father my young son I had put him for his nap around noonish, I grabbed my detector and headed to the back yard. Knowing full well that our property is old and has a tone of metal targets it would be a perfect time to get the machine tuned in and figure out how to, WELL…. Use it, ha ha ha
I had to adjust some settings and go over the machine’s functions before my limited window of opportunity was over before my planned hunt the following day.
Success, I hit 3 targets and dug them up, 2 of the targets being old siding close to the surface of the ground, they came in at a great tone on the machine but were mixed with some ferrous materials as well. Using the settings my friend Jason set one of my profiles up with, I quickly realized I could discriminate out ferrous targets such as nails with this machine. Searching some more I hit a #37 on the VDI (visual discrimination indicator) screen, and it showed 3 bars, indicating it was approximately “6 below the surface, and that it was nonferrous on the scale, a new feature to me that the other machines do not have. I dug up the target and found a vintage toy car. It was an orange 504 Porcha AUDI I found the information for it online as well.
After about 15 minutes I figured I was ready for tomorrows hunt plus I didn’t want to be away from Caspian too long in case he woke up, so I packed it in and went inside to charge the machines and get things charged up and ready for the morning.
7&am came around quick, I was up, car packed, no time for breakfast, and out the door by 7:30am, & headed off to my dentist appointment. After the appointment, I decided to head to a local park between Kingston and Gananoque called Grass Creek Park, where I had to be for lunch. Now, I had detected this park before as it has a public beach area, and at this time of the year I was expecting it to be quiet. I was right, only a couple dog walkers were there.
I had approx. 2 hours before I had to leave and I did end up with about 6 Canadian pennies and a US Jefferson Nickle, and a 1988 Canadian Loonie. None of the items were much to write home about however I did notice that with the settings Jason set me up with I had only dug about 6 pieces of trash and got 7 coins. I did change the settings a bit and noticed the entire area was littered with a tone of different metals in the ground however due to the fact I didn’t have a lot of time I stuck with Jason’s settings for much of the hunt.
At 11:30 I packed up my gear and headed into Gan for lunch. We sat there until around 2:30 and then everyone was saying their goodbyes and I asked my partner if I could go out for another hour ish to check out another area and if she could pick up Caspian from daycare? She said no problem, so off I went to another small beach I had hit hard in the fall with my Minelab Equinox 600 detector several times.
Once set up at the second location of the day It did not take long before I got my first target, now this was a very small beach and so I went end to end with Jason’s settings on the machine and picked up a few coins. Then I decided to change up the frequency on the machine and go from Multi frequency 1 on park mode to Beach mode MD or multi-DRY. This is best for sand as far as I’m aware of. Then I combed the beach again and found a few more coins, 1 of which was a 1950 US Lincoln Quarter. This quarter was the first piece of silver I found with the new legend.
Then again, I switched back to Jason’s settings but changed the frequency again from a multi frequency to 20MHZ and I only had a few more minutes left before it would be getting dark, what what I came up with was quite interesting. I had a faint signal that I’m sure if I did not have earphones on, I would have missed. It was a weird tone, it bounced from high to low and numbers were jumping around. I decided to dig the target just to see what it was anyway. If that had been my equinox, I probably would have left it alone, but because it was a new machine curiosity had the better of me so I dug it up.
What cam out of the ground was a small ladies or child’s ring, cloudy grey in colour, with a small yellow gem stone. At first I thought it was a junk ring due to the numbers that were rining up on the detector. What I ended up finding out was that there were other items in the same hole. A Canadian dime and a couple small nails. This is why o had jumpy numbers and multiple tones ringing up.
So I went home that night thinking about that small ring and decided to take a closer look. What I found was some markings on the inside. A bit roughed up due to probably how long the ring had been in the ground for, but it read like this. (STERLING >MH<). Well, the STERLING is self explanatory, its 925 Sterling Silver, the>MH< is the trademark of a company out of Rhode Island USA that was owned by McGrath-Hamlin from 1951 to 1961.
After looking online, I tend to think that this was one of the earlier pieces made by the company. The company was sold in 1961 and closed down completely in 2001. So this piece is between 62 & 72 years old. The stone is a Topaz Also due to the condition of the ring, I was told that they think this ring has been buried for some time, (probably somewhere between 30, & 60 years) Now because this ring is vintage and not antique, & because my Partner decided to lay claim to the ring almost instantly when I got it home, I have decided to do what I probably shouldn’t do to a piece like this, LOL. I am getting it professionally cleaned and sized to fit Erin ha ha ha. Ill probably get all kinds of people saying not to do that but whatever it will a piece to be worn and loved once again lol.
So to recap—
This is why I am really enjoying the hobby. As you can see there is time to squeeze it in between activities, it doesn’t demand a huge amount of time in one shot, such as camping, hunting, fishing ect… Also I can integrate it into other hobbies such as creative writing- such as this blog, or vlogging, you can watch my video on this first dig with my Legend detector (and other digs) of 2022 on my YouTube channel
Plus, it gives me history to research which I am also enjoying. There is one other attribute I would mention about metal detecting aswell. I plan on building a side business where I would be able help people find lost items. There is a business service which is known worldwide called “The Ring Finders”. It is made up of detectorists around the globe that sign up to be a part of a community that is specifically designed to provide a service to people that have lost an item special to them. There are literally thousands of videos online of people being re-united with lost wedding rings, bracelets, chains, car keys ect… I fully plan on being part of this in 2023. Putting my knowledge and equipment to use doing something I enjoy doing and being able to help someone? Hummm, seems like a great service to be apart of if you ask me. I would have been a part of it this year, but you need a certain amount of time as a detectorist in order to be considered to be part of the team, and I simply didn’t have enough experience, so ill see if I qualify this year.
Thanks for reading my story and leave a comment below, look up my channels and keep in touch.