Metal Detecting Tips

Finding Gold & Silver With A Metal Detector

Find articles and tutorials to jump-start your metal detecting or recreational gold mining hobby. I have been metal detecting and gold panning for more than 20 years and enjoying sharing tips and techniques.

About James

Everyone has to start somewhere and so I though I should share with you how I got started in this hobby twenty years ago. I was first introduced to metal detecting while on a multi-day river rafting trip as a young boy. About halfway into the trip we stopped at a large sandy beach area for lunch. Soon after lunch, Charles Garrett brought out a metal detector and began to search the beach. A curious 8 year old, I began to follow him around to see what he was doing and to see what he might find. After finding a dime, he reburied it showed me how to use the metal detector. Needless to say, the seed was planted and I wanted to have one. After a year of waiting and a ton of reading, I received a GTA 500 for my birthday.


Four years later, I received a Scorpion Gold Stinger. I was thirteen years old at the time and spending a few weeks working with my father to install an underwater pipeline in Lake Tahoe. On our first day off, I convinced my father to take me to a location a few hours away that supposedly had gold nuggets.


Seeing remnants of old mining equipment and mine shafts really got me excited and optimistic. We headed to a location away from any active claims and searched the fringe areas. In the process, we came across what appeared to be an old tailings pile that we decided to search. Using my first gold detector, a Scorpion Gold Stinger, I slowly combed over the pile hoping for a signal. Up until finding this pile, I had mostly found a lot of iron nails and other junk items. Anyways, at the top of the mound I got a strong signal and began to dig. About four inches down, I popped out a 1/3 ounce nugget. I was ecstatic and my dad was as well. After I had calmed down and secured the nugget, I continued to search the mound. I hadn’t gone another foot and I had another signal. It turned out to be a 1/4 ounce nugget at about the same depth as the first one. We were thrilled.


Working our way to a nearby gully, we scanned the banks that were not covered with too much overburden and to our surprise pulled out a couple of small pickers. By this time, my father, who was merely watching me detect, since there was only one metal detector, decided it was time to cut in and do some detecting himself. He found a few more pickers before it was time to call it a day.


A few days later as we were wrapping up the project, we decided to try a little gold panning along a stretch of river. One of us panned while the other used the metal detector. On the upstream side of a small bush we got a pretty good signal and recovered a small picker. Getting another signal in the same spot, we decided to pan it out. We were able to pull out 6 small pickers from this one hole. This gold was very unusual. It was water worn, but very porous and crystalline. You could actually crush the gold with your finger nail because it was so porous and then the crystalline wire gold structure was visible. We later saw larger specimens of this type of gold at on display.


From this time on I was hooked. I had caught the gold bug. Ever since then I have enjoyed prospecting as well as metal detecting, though I must admit, that the day I found my first gold remains at the top of my list of favorite prospecting memories.


I hope you find my metal detecting website helpful. -James Cross