1) Always carry a camera to photograph your river in all its weather conditions, plus all the flora and fauna.
2) Wear over-trousers over your expensive waders, it will save on the wear and tear. Nothing ruins a day more than getting your waders snagged on undergrowth or torn on ragged rocks.
3)Buy or make a shuffty scope, used for looking for gold in the stream bed material. Cut the bottom out of a plastic bucket and glue in a clear perspex base with waterproof mastic.
4)When you've recovered all the gold from a hole, start another hole right next door. It might sound either a wise or stupid tip, but once the gold has gone from one hole, its gone for good, its not going to replenish again over night,!!!Ive seen it so many times when a panner finds a good size flake in a hole they will stay in that hole for all time.
5)For the most part, classify (pass through a sieve)the material you are panning. Graded material will always pan a lot better than non graded. If you are using a sluice, that will grade your materials to concentrate levels. Some panners will say dont classify. 98% of the gold found around the world will pass through a 10 mesh screen. I screen for that 98%.
6) A small crow/pry bar is a very useful tool to carry when you are prospecting. No, not for house breaking but for prying apart cracks in rock. These cracks are natural gold traps and is worth a day breaking apart this rock to uncover the yellow stuff, even above the water line.
7)Get out into the gold streams as often as is possible, at least a weekend every month will keep your hand and eye in. Unfortunatly most folk can only pan either on bank hols or annual vacation, leaving little or no time for prospecting new areas.
8)Make as much time as possible to speak to other gold panners, especially local panners or people that have time & experience on that particular stream. Dont spend so much time listening that you never get in the water, some panners can and will talk all day. just stop long enough to learn something new and to be sociable.
9)Glass verses plastic; when you are in the streams always always use plastic vials to carry your gold in. If you use glass there is a possibility of breaking the glass and slicing your expensive neoprene waders or dry suit or even worse, yourself. Glass vials are for display purposes only.
10)Get an army kit bag price around Ł10, to place your small shovel, pump, rake, wrecking bar and pan in, you may have room to carry a small sluice as well.
11)Loo roll&baby wipes always keep these in your kit bag, you just never know when you might just need these when the situation arises.Believe me.
Some Facts & Figures.
Gold is always weighed and traded in troy ounces, which is marginally more (3grm) than the kitchen scale measurement of avoirdupois. These days gold transfers hands also in grams.
1 troy ounce of gold = 31.10 grams 1ounce of gold can be drawn out into a wire so thin it would be 60 miles long.
1ounce of gold can be hammered into sheets so thin that a thousand of them would make a pile 1” high
1 cubic foot of gold weighs half a ton.
All the gold ever mined would fit underneath the Eifel tower 19m cube. 60 tons of gold every year is used by dentists for fillings because it is non toxic.
In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold has been mined–and more than half of this amount has been excavated in the past 50 years. It is surprising also to learn that the U.S. is not the number 1 consumer of gold. But that India holds this title as the largest “gold nation” worldwide (773.6 tons of gold consumed in 2007), followed by China (363.3 tons)–who surpassed the U.S. (278.1 tons) in 2007 as the second largest gold consumer.
Gold and where I’ve found it.
Finding colour in your pan doesn’t come easy, it requires very many hours of research through the top peoples newspaper, mining reports, geological surveys and now a much easier media, the internet care of Mr Google.
First you have to put yourself onto a gold bearing area, then prospect that area until you have done all that you can do. I have told you already that gold is extremely heavy, 19 times heavier than water and approximately 4- 5 times heavier than the average stream bed material you are working in. Now there is a big clue as to ‘where I’ve found gold’.
ON THE BOTTOM. Bottom of what? I hear you say. The bottom of the flood layer. When the streams are in full flood the gold is pushed further towards the bottom of the stream until it can’t go any lower, sometimes this the country bed rock or a layer of clay, or it may be the hard pack. (river material that has been layed down in a major storm.) Clear the over burden away carefully, then scoop away the remaining cobbles. The pebbles and silt are then retrieved in that particular flood layer until the gold is reached, sometimes you need to reach bed rock. Clean up the flood layer as best as you can with a small shovel and brush, or if you are fortunate enough to own, use a hand suction pump. Clean out the cracks and crevasses with a crevassing tool, something like a disused hacksaw blade or old hand file. This is where the best values are found without a doubt. Very often I’ve seen greenhorns take the top layer of the stream bed material, pan this, found nothing and then moved on to another area. What ever it takes, dig down to a flood layer, once you have done this and panned this and then found nothing then you can move on, but if you have found colour in the pan continue taking that hole apart on that flood layer until no more gold is found. There is a tendancy to dig even further down but generally you wont find anymore gold. Gold lines are layed down in major storms, so when you have found gold on a particular flood layer work the hole back upstream following the gold line.
TROUT AND SALMON FISHERIES
I've had it brought to my attention by a subscriber that they have had a 'run in' with the fisheries/environmentalist saying that gold washing upsets and disturbes the fish spawning beds and that gold washing is seasonal.
Can I quallify those fears right now: All streams and rivers are owned by someone, so find the owner or estate factor for permision to do your recreational panning. Sometimes you may have to pay for a licence or sometimes the licence is free. Suffice to say that on your licence It will tell you from where to where you can pan. Also it could give dates from where you can't pan, usually from the begining of October to the end of May with the discretion of the estate game keeper.
Don't let anyone tell you that this country's rivers and streams no longer contain gold. Every year winter storms bring more to the surface, continually renewing nature's supply. It's all there for the taking, and the gold pan is still the best way to find it!