Water and Beach Metal Detecting: Interview with Steven Reyes, Best Practices, Tips, and Gear Suggestions.

Steven Reyes is an avid beach and water detectorist based in Southern California and frequently detects in Hawaii. Known under the online handles ltr_805 on Instagram, TikTok, and Lost Treasure Recovery on YouTube, he loves metal detecting. 

Steven not only pursues this passion for the sheer enjoyment of the find but also undertakes recovery missions, adding an element of purpose to his explorations. His presence across various online platforms showcases finds unearthed, and successful recoveries in the sun-soaked beaches and crystal-clear waters of these picturesque locations in California and Hawaii.

Steven Reyes is a former Marine Armorer, a family man with a wife and two kids residing in Ventura County, specifically in the city of Santa Paula. From my interactions, he has always been optimistic and kind, receiving positive reviews from people for whom he has recovered lost items and detectorists who have detected with him.

Join Steven and me as we dive deep into the waters and sandy landscapes to learn more about Steven Reyes’ underwater metal detecting and beach metal detecting, including tips, gear recommendations, and more. See my questions and his answers below.

Learning Water and Beach Metal Detecting

What sparked your interest in starting metal detecting? Which model was your first metal detector?
As a kid, I was always interested in digging up stuff in my very own backyard. I was fascinated by history and seeing what used to be in place far back in the past. The first metal detector my dad got me was a Bounty Hunter, and I remember watching the dual gauge go from 0 to 10. It’s crazy how much metal detectors have advanced.

While learning water and beach detecting, where did you discover the best tips, and who were your mentors?
I watched videos on YouTube to learn. Watching the YouTuber Nora Svet was helpful since she used the Minelab Excalibur 2. I carefully observed the settings she used. I also learned from talking to others who hunted the same spots. I met a detectorist by the name of Brian Urquhart, who helped me with the settings for my Minelab Equinox 800.

What pivotal metal detecting advice significantly improved your success in finding better treasures? Was there a moment of realization when it all clicked, leading to the discovery of top-tier finds?
Using Beach Mode 2 on the Minelab Equinox 800 for both dry and wet sand, I adjusted the tones to 5 and focused on memorizing the numbers and listening more carefully to the tones

Traveling with a Metal Detector.

You travel a lot between California and Hawaii, and I see that sometimes you bring more than one metal detector. Could you please share your best practices for traveling with a metal detector?
I usually travel with my Minelab Equinox 800 and Excalibur II. I carry the control unit for the 800 and the battery pack for the Excalibur II in my backpack, typically wrapped up in a few shirts. I pack the search coils, both the 10” and 15”, in my suitcase and surround them with loose clothes to protect the coil ears. The Equinox has a collapsible shaft that comes apart into three sections. For the Excalibur II, I use a knob guard and wrap it in shirts to protect the buttons.

Which metal detectors have you owned in the past and present, and which are the best models for someone who travels? Specifically considering collapse and fitting in a suitcase, durability for travel, and not being so delicate that they can break when shifted around in transit.

  • For full-size metal detectors, I have the Garrett Ace 250, the Nokta Simplex Plus, the Minelab Equinox 800, and the Minelab Excalibur II.
  • For pinpointers, I have the Nokta Pulsedive Two-in-One, the Minelab ProPointer 35, the Quest Scuba Tector Pro, and the Garrett Pro Pointer AT.
  • I mostly travel with the Equinox 800, the Excalibur II, the Garrett Pro Pointer AT, and the Quest Scuba Tector Pro. Sometimes, I’ll bring the Dive Pulse Two-in-One, but I only use the round coil with it.

Tips for Metal Detecting Beaches

Besides detecting along the towel lines and high-traffic areas, such as volleyball courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, paths, and walkway entrances, what other tips can you offer for dry beach hunting when it comes to finding jewelry?
I look for areas that are close to bathrooms, parking lots, or walking paths. Most people tend to bring way too much with them and prefer not to walk far, especially if they have children with them. The dry beach is where you often find a lot of loose change and sometimes valuable items. Usually, if someone drops something in the wet sand and they are not near the water, they will see it; it doesn’t sink quickly. However, in the dry sand, once an item is dropped, it buries itself under the sand and gets moved around with every attempt to find it.

If you are going to metal detect the wet sand, what do you look for besides a cut or black sand?
In the water, I only go about chest-high unless I’m using the dive system. However, I’ll target the spots where the water acts like a rolling drum on the shoreline; I find that this spot is the best place where everything ends up.

Beach Metal Detecting Gear

Which metal detector do you enjoy swinging at the beach, and which program do you use?
Minelab Equinox 800 – Beach Mode 2, Tones 5,  Sensitivity Between 18-21 
Minelab Excalibur 2- Discrimination 3, Sensitivity 6 

What is your preferred sand scoop, and what do you like about it?
I purchased my beach detecting scoop from Amazon. Having a scoop for water hunting is essential, and the wider the scoop, the better.

For night detecting on beaches, which brand of headlamp do you prefer?
I prefer the LHKNL headlamp flashlight 1200 lumen ultra-light bright LED rechargeable white and red light. 

Metal Detecting Headlamp

LHKNL Headlamp Flashlight, 1200 Lumen Ultra-Light Bright LED Rechargeable Headlight

Do you have any favorite clothing for beach detecting? 
I wear a Goodfellow T-shirt with my metal detecting social media profiles printed on it to show people my accounts, along with quick-dry hiking shorts. These cargo shorts are casual, outdoor-ready, 4-way stretchy, lightweight, and have multiple pockets.

Under Water Metal Detecting Gear

Are there specific brands that you find better withstand the effects of saltwater and heat?
Ctrilady Men’s Wetsuit Top: This neoprene vest features a front zipper and offers UV protection. It’s sleeveless, and ideal for enhanced mobility and comfort.

Metal Detecting Wetsuit Top

Ctrilady Men’s Wetsuit Top, Neoprene Vest with Front Zipper, UV Protection

Seaskin Diving Shorts: Made from 2.5mm neoprene, these shorts are designed with practical pockets, perfect for detect diving.

Metal Detecting Diving Shorts

Seaskin 2.5mm Diving Shorts for Men’s with Pocket

Do you scuba dive using tanks to detect, or do you use a tankless diving system like Blue3 or Cronda? Which equipment brands do you recommend and are happy with?
I currently use the Cronda Dive System, which is truly impressive, especially the back strap with the filter attachment. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to acquire a Blu3 one day so I can compare the differences between the two systems.

Underwater Metal Detecting Ventilator Tankless Diving System

Cronda Dive System -Scuba Diving Ventilator Tankless Diving System, Portable Rechargeable Scuba Diving Tank, Waterproof Air CompressorDive Without Tank

Which handheld underwater metal detectors have you tried, and which one is your favorite? Would you recommend it to others for scuba metal detecting or snorkeling?
The Garrett Pro Pointer and the Scuba Tector Pro are both good, but it’s important to remember their ratings and the depths they can handle.”

What full-size metal detector do you use underwater, and do you take any precautions to ensure the control unit doesn’t flood?
I exclusively use my Minelab Excalibur II underwater, ensuring the battery is securely attached. Additionally, I allow it some time to adjust to temperature changes before entering the water to avoid going from hot to cold too quickly.”

Have you encountered any issues in the past with control units flooding or other issues?
My Minelab Equinox 800 has flooded twice, but fortunately, it was still under warranty at those times. Consequently, I no longer take it into the water.

In conclusion, our immersive journey into the world of water and beach metal detecting with Steven Reyes has been nothing short of enlightening. From the sun-soaked shores of Southern California to the pristine beaches of Hawaii, Steven’s expertise, positivity, and passion for the hobby shine through. As a former Marine, Armorer, and family man residing in Ventura County, Steven embodies a spirit of adventure coupled with a deep commitment to helping others through his recovery missions. Throughout our interview, we’ve delved into the fundamentals of metal detecting, gaining valuable insights into Steven’s journey, best practices for travelers, and expert tips for detecting on both dry and wet beaches. As we wrap up this exploration, Steven’s recommendations for gear, from metal detectors and clothing to headlamps and underwater equipment, provide a guide for enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned detectorist or a newcomer, the wisdom shared by Steven Reyes is sure to enhance your beach and water metal detecting experience, making each expedition a memorable and fruitful quest for getting better finds.

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