Rio History: Treasure Hunting Tips

By Steve Hathcock

Photo courtesy of Steve Hathcock.

Generally speaking, most jewelry is lost by people wading in the surf. During the summer, the waves are very gentle and the wind conditions actually add a couple of feet of beach in many areas. It’s not uncommon to see several people wandering the surf, intently eyeing the bottom in a mostly vain attempt to find a lost ring, necklace, or other valuable that has just washed off sun-block slicked bodies. They would be most successful if they restricted their hunt to the immediate area they were in when they realized an object was lost.

You will be surprised at the amount of gold metal-detectorists have found in front of the major hotels on South Padre Island. The best time to hunt is after a good storm and there are several reasons for this. Storms or a prolonged period of unusually high surf caused by wind or current changes will erode natural flood areas and reveal deep cuts in the floor of the Gulf. This is where you will find the gold.

As for using your detector on the beach, there are no laws at the present time about using your detector along the shores of South Padre Island. However, I must caution you to remember that the beaches are public and one must always respect the rights of others. In this I mean you should make sure that you leave an area in the same condition or better than when you found it. Lovers walk the beach, hand in hand, not paying attention to where they are walking and the sudden jar of stepping in a hole can cause severe neck and lower back injury.

So please, always fill your hole before moving on. Good hunting.


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