A Good Start
July 2011 by Tom LeftwichWe split up in order to cover a larger area and found good color almost everywhere. The bedrock was shallow on both sides of the river, but the inside bend was where we concentrated our prospecting.
Looking around, I could tell that this was an old hand-digging. As I walked around the perimeter of the digging I could see shovel and pick marks scratched on the clean, hard clay and bedrock.
In my early days of nugget hunting things were fairly simple. Just headphones, a pack, a detector and a small pick were all I needed for my search for great wealth.
As a guide to those who are thinking of taking up this activity or those who currently practice this trade, I have created a listing of the primary tools and equipment I use when nugget hunting.
Even with my favorite top-of-the-line gold detector there were several false digs. Many of the hot rocks gave a solid signal that was too much like a nugget to ignore. After trying several tests I just dug everything because it is better to be safe than leave a big, deep nugget for a more diligent gold hunter.
On my weekends off I spent many hours dredging the Second Broad River from Cane Creek Road up to the headwaters. I used a three-inch dredge with air and graduated to a five-inch with air.
Potholes in bedrock can trap placer minerals and even be glory holes. They are, at least, interesting geologic phenomena, and at best, a treasure trove of gold nuggets.
It is this ability to hear and respond to the faintest of audio signals that I believe separates the best nugget hunters from everyone else.
The Bawl Mill • Can't We Just Do Something? • Ask The Experts—14-day camping limit • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Explosives and Mining • Mother Lode Leaf Gold • Dredging The Outside Bend • WWII Vet & Prospector Still Going Strong • Nevada Gold Value Up Along With Production • 2011 National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes & Mineral and Metal Prices