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  • Writer's pictureCanoe Kentucky

Metal Detecting and Paddling?

Metal detecting is a hot activity right now. Shows on History Channel like "Curse of Oak Island", "Curse of Civil War Gold" and "Lost Gold of WWII" have really upped the desire for folks to get out and find treasure! And the CKY team is no exception. Our own Boone Depenbrock is a metal detecting NUT! Could we call him an expert, well, I don't know, but he sure knows a whole lot. His life seems to revolve around the activity,\; reading on it, participating in it, being part of online treasure hunts, watching shows based on it... so yeah, and expert... I would say so!

Boone uses paddling trips as one of his best chances to metal detect. He is able to get to areas that others may not have picked over quite so much. The regular playgrounds, sports fields, parks, etc.; these all get quite a bit of metal detecting pressure. But the rivers, streams and lakes of Kentucky give him a chance to get a little farther away and find hot spots where "treasure" can still be found.

Now, I will admit, I do not know nearly enough, I could almost say nothing, about this activity. But I do go with Boone quite often and love to watch him metal detect and come back with all sorts of "treasure". So instead of me telling you, I sat down with Boone to get a few tips and tricks from "the expert". I will point out, he may not tell you where to go... those are secrets among detectors,...but he will give some great advise on what to look for, what you might find, where you should look, equipment needs, etc. So read on if this topic interests you at all!

  • When did you start detecting and why?

I began watching "Oak Island" as long as it has been around, and when I was 11 years old I asked for a detector. My parents got me a "kiddie detector" and I started looking in my grandparents yard. They live in a very old house and the house has a lot of history surrounding it. I liked the thought that you never know what you might find!

  • What are your favorite things to search for when detecting?

I really like looking for old coins and jewelry. I like collecting coins because they are worth money and interesting. Jewelry is worth money and gold and silver are very good metals, and if you collect enough you can sell them.

  • What is the coolest "treasure" you have ever found?

I think that is a tough question. I found a 1859 Indian Head Cent while crawling under an old house, I figure it was a 19th century house. I also found two badges that we believe were worn by Governor Bert T. Combs' chauffeur. There is a long story to why we believe that, and if you wanna hear it, feel free to email me; otherwise I don't want to bore you!

  • What equipment do you recommend to a first timer wanting to get into this activity?

There are a few options on detectors depending on how much you want to spend. The links here are to my favorite metal detecting store, Kellyco. They are not only quick and full of everything you need, but if you call them, they are super nice people. I spent my 15th birthday at their store in Lakeland, Florida; and I was in heaven!

I currently use a Garrett AT Pro, which runs about $550.00. I started seriously detecting with a Fisher F22, which run about $220.00. A drawback to the F22 is it is not fully waterproof, while the Garrett is; as long as you get extra waterproof headphones. I would also recommend the Garrett Ace 200. It runs $170,00, also not waterproof, but I have used one and think it works pretty well. Really anything by Garrett is gonna be good. They, like Kellyco, are an awesome family run business to work with.

I also recommend some sort of digging tool. Examples could be a hand trowel or shovel. Once you get into it and have a little more experience, a pinpointer is a must have, or a game changer. Why? When you detect something with your machine, the pinpointer is a small, handheld detector that will get you to within 1 inch of your target. A detector will only get you in the general spot. Think of it as the detector will show you where to dig your hole; the pinpointer will get you on target. I use the Garrett Propointer AT. These run $130.00. Again, you can do fine without one, but it does speed up your time. Think of it as an accessory. I went a year before I got one.

I like to also carry a waist bag to put my finds in. A pouch around the waist... a digging pouch, not a purse! Lastly, I do wear gloves when I dig in times where there is glass. You should probably wear them all the time; I am just hard headed and have an up to date tetanus shot! Keep it simple; I wear mechanics gloves you can get at an auto parts store or Harbor Freight.

  • Where do you recommend starting, like where to look, go, search for, etc?

I think the best place to start is a park, as long as it is legal. Make sure you check on this, as places like National Parks and Historic Landmarks are illegal to detect at. Use common sense,but local city parks are a good starting place. Think about where people congregate, like ball field benches and bleachers, trails, pavilions, etc. These are good places to find coins and anything people may have in their pocket.

If you do research, find old home sites. Make sure you know where property lines are. If you are on private property, make sure you get permission.

But first, start in your own yard, just to get used to your detector. Find what you may have dropped, and if you haven't, throw a few coins out in the yard to get used to the sounds of the machine and the detector itself. You might something something cool in your own yard. Also, read some books. There are a bunch, but I like "Metal Detecting: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Uncovering History, Adventure and Treasure" by Mark Smith.

  • Why is paddling and detecting an awesome combination?

I like it because you can get to places that other people haven't been with a detector. And the fact that other people may recently have used the same waterway, there is a constant flow of new stuff to find. Things like fishing gear, paddles, kayak accessories, phones, wallets , keys, etc.

I do recommend that if you find something that you can positively identify who it belongs to, you try your best to return it. An example would be that if you find a wallet with a drivers license in it, or something with someones name on it.

  • How do you recommend learning more about metal detecting?

Youtube has a lot of instructional videos on how to detect and what you can find. I really like username Aquachigger and QuarterHoarder. I mentioned books already. Talk to other people who do it... you will often see them at parks,. Most detector people are very friendly, but they may not reveal any secrets! There are seeded hunts done around the country, these are events where items are placed to find as a competition.

If you have any questions for Boone, or want to talk detecting or how to get in to it more, feel free to email him at:

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