I learned about John Favano when he joined the Focus Speeds Metal Detecting Facebook Group. John beach detects in and around New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware as a member of the Ring Finders Network. You might recognize him for being on news broadcasts and in newspapers for his impressive recoveries. He does a lot of recoveries using the Minelab Equinox 800 as his primary machine. I spoke with John to pick his brain on advanced beach metal detecting tips using the Nox.
What sparked your interest in metal detecting and how long have you been doing it?
My uncle took me out detecting when I was younger. We would go out on the beach for a few hours each week during my early childhood. I remember the excitement I felt as we looked for things on the beach. It wasn’t until 8 years ago that I really got into detecting. I bought my first machine and equipment and have been immersed in the hobby since.
How long have you been using the Minelab Equinox 800?
The Equinox 800 became my primary machine in 2018 when it was released.
What was your best or most memorable recovery?
My most memorable recovery was a gold wedding band for a man named Jim. He lost his wedding band in the ocean in 4 feet of water in Ocean City, NJ. Jim was married for 47 years and never took his band off. Jim’s wife had passed away 3 years ago. It was a great feeling when the ring was found. Everyone had tears in their eyes.
Do you use the Minelab Equinox 800 stock headphones or other headphones, and if so, which ones and why?
I use the Patriot Headphones on both of my Equinox machines because they are loud and waterproof.
How often and when do you ground balance on the beach? Do you manually do it or do you use the feature to continuously ground balance?
I use the continuous feature and most times the tracking, unless I’m detecting in the dry sand.
Threshold– Do you use it on your Equinox? Why or why not?
Most of the time I’m a silent hunter. I will turn up the threshold a bit if I’m looking for deep targets.
Fine necklaces/chains, especially the tinsel thin variety, are always a problem for any detector. What tips can you give Equinox users to find them?
Turn the sensitivity up and dig those low tones/numbers on the Equinox.
Regarding All Metal Mode, and the f2-f4 iron bias, how do you know how to dig discern the iron grunt properly?
My discernment comes from my machine settings and the tone volume. I keep the iron volume low, and I still dig some of those targets, even the negative numbers.
What tips can you share about detecting in rough surf?
Detecting in the New Jersey surf can be tough. The main thing is to not turn your back to the waves. You can tether your scoop and machine to you to prevent losing it if you get hit by a big wave.
What is the deepest you are willing to dig on the beach to get to a target?
Great question! I will dig until I’m absolutely sure it’s a viable target or just trash.
What tips can you give for wet, black sand and deep targets?
I like to dig in the wet sand, especially at low tide because I tend to find a lot of targets there. Different times of the year call for different strategies. I look for that black sand and erosion. If targets are deep, I’m digging them!
What advance tips can you share about reading the beach and how to detect it?
When you walk on the beach, look at permanent land markers. You visit these beaches regularly, but the landscape can change with the tides. Again, as the seasons change, so does the sand movement. In the fall on the east coast, the replenishment sand gets washed down and exposes targets on the slopes. You should look at all areas of the beach. Don’t count out any area.
What advance tips can you tell us about reading the sand consistency and the best type for getting finds? Soft, packed, fine, or gritty?
I don’t like mushy sand because the targets tend to sink. I look for the hard-packed sand and shell base layers that hold the heavier targets.
I would like to thank John Favano for his beach metal detecting tips. If you know someone who needs a recovery in and around New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, or Delaware, John can be reached at 215-850-0188 or ringfinderssouthjersey.com
Joanna Jana Laznicka, a Czech-Canadian residing in Southern California, is passionate about all things associated with metal detecting. She mainly detects on the West Coast, from Southern California to Northern British Columbia. As the founder of Focus Speed, her goal is to bring quality content to metal detectorists.