I was casually watching a YouTube video the other day on my shiny new computer tablet, following a big-name treasure media guy. You know, guys with names like Pirate Rick, or Backhoe Bosco, Silver Sherry...you know the drill. Internet "stars" (with a small s) chasing the spotlight. His GoPro was recording the hi-speed passage of the beach below with his huge tramping feet, in and out of frame, as he talked, rapid-fire, a lot smack; we are gonna' find silver! and "The adventure begins!" as the color graphics swell with "GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!" and music fades for commercial.
We are back!! Once again, the treasure dance continues along the sandy shore, coil sweeping, incessant talking, and an occasional jerk to a stop as we DIG A COIN; and a clad one at that! Exciting stuff indeed! But wait...something is wrong. I stare at the 4K screen and try to figure out what. Something very basic, even primal, is going off the rails here. Suddenly I realize what's wrong, and it's because he's missing every other sweep by stepping forward instead of doing a reverse sweep before he moves! This is equivalent to metal detecting a football stadium and literally missing half the field with your scans! What's going on here? Why is he in a big hurry? This guys a media treasure star, a YouTube darling in metal detecting circles! And here lies the problem: A person new to the hobby watches these channels, examines the detectorists' every move, then clones the same techniques when they are out in the field themselves. And missing half the targets.
Social media metal detecting and real world metal detecting occasionally diverge due to the fact that anyone can start a media channel and call themselves a treasure hunter . And many times they really don't know any more about the hobby than the tyro's watching the show. However, that YouTube money is sweet, one of the reasons this happens more than anyone realizes; mistaking entertainment as expertise. Maybe this was just one instance, but no. Time and again I watch videos where the detectorist is practically running up the beach or across the park...and missing targets by the barge-load!
This technique is called out by Gary Drayton, one guy who really knows his stuff, as low and slow, move ahead one step, sweep, coil level, to the right (or left) then, one coil width forward, sweep in the opposite direction. Step forward again and do the same. This assures your search pattern covers ALL the ground. Continual walking forward while swinging the coil almost assures you only cover half the ground you are scanning! Paraphrasing Mr. Drayton, "It's not how much ground you cover, it's how you cover the ground!" This technique along with stable coil control (keep it level!) will assure your targets, as Jim Fielding says, "...will be found, if they are in the ground!" There are only so many slices of metal detecting pie left, and with more and more people entering the hobby, those slices are getting slimmer by the day. Get your slice, using good technique, before someone else does!