Meet Top Treasure Hunter Clive Clynick

When I first bought my Minelab Excalibur II underwater metal detector I wanted to learn everything I could about it so I sought out some books on the subject. I found a series of technical books on metal detecting topics by Clive Clynick, an author and metal detectorist. I checked out his web page at Clive’s Gold Page to order some books that might help me know more, and as as luck would have it, Clive lived a short distance from my Toronto home. I stopped by his place to pick up the books and to meet him in person.

One of the world’s top water hunters, a prolific writer on metal detecting, and a completely likable guy, Clive just exudes enthusiasm for metal detecting. His finds are truly spectacular.

Clive, when did you start metal detecting and how did you start?

I had been an avid fisherman, and around 1980 a friend brought back a pamphlet on detecting from a Sportmen’s Show. I got one and began finding silver coins in the local parks. Later I found a ring with 30 diamonds on it—I was hooked!

You specialize in hunting in water. Why is that? Is hunting in water easier or more difficult than hunting on land?
That’s hard to say—both can be challenging. On land there is more junk, but in the water there can be waves, surge and digging takes patience. You also have to be properly suited up. However generally, the big finds are in the water—if you know where to look

OK, here is the most common question we metal detectorists get asked… What is the best thing you’ve ever found?
I’ve come up with a few big finds. I’ve found a Cartier watch that would cost $2750 USD to buy new. Also a 5 ½ ounce white gold chain with 60 diamonds on it that was appraised at $30,000 CDN . Most importantly, I enjoy detectors and detecting—whether I find anything or not. The hobby has so many great elements.

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My chain—appraised at $30,000 CDN.

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Some platinum rings I’ve found over the years—about 6 ounces.

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Some other “old gold” from the 1940’s and ‘50’s.

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A .78 diamond men’s ring appraised at $1500.

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A few watches found in the water including two Tag Heuers. And Audemars and a Cartier at left.

What makes a good metal detectorist / treasure hunter?
Patience is number one. It’s also important to be able to pick and asses hunt sites. I try to teach this skill in my books. Another important skill is to be able choose and work effectively with the equipment you are using.

Where do you hunt?
I hunt mostly here in Canada, but have worked in Bahamas, St. Lucia, ST. Maartin, Cancun, Mayan Rivera and the Dominican Republic.

How did your series of books come about?
You could say that if you ask the right question for long enough, sooner or later people start asking you the questions. I pestered and observed the best hunter I knew for years and did a lot of trial and error. It’s been said that an expert is merely a man who has made every possible mistake in a field of endeavor—that’s me!

What are some basic tips you can give new detectorists who want to try hunting beaches and water?
Get decent equipment. In particular get a machine that you are comfortable with. This is the beauty of Ebay—you can swap them out until you find one you like. Then learn everything you can about it. Observe people—what they do. Always be looking for potential sites. Cultivate some patience and the big finds are sure to come. Good Luck Detecting!

Thanks Clive! As I mentioned in my intro, Clive writes and excellent series of technical books on treasure hunting with metal detectors which you can get through his site at Clive’s Gold Page

I highly recommend his book Site-Reading for Gold and Silver: Understanding Beach, Shore and Inland Metal Detecting Sites

Photo credits: photos supplied by Clive Clynick.

This interview was conducted in May, 2013