First Nugget Find: Persistence Pays Off

 (It's a big deal when you find your first nugget.)

Now matter how you do it, finding your first nugget is a landmark event in your small-scale mining or prospecting career. Here's the story of a young man (far younger than me anyway!) named Jacob who set out with his metal detector to do just that. I'm glad that I was able to be part of this tale, since I helped point the way to the area that Jacob found his nugget in. At Jacob's request, all I will tell you is that Jacob and his brother hunted a gold location in California.

Here's the story in Jacob's words:

Hey Jim, I thought I'd report back on my trip to (location deleted). My brother and I went out there with new detectors in hand; he with a GMT and me with a Minelab 705 with the 18khz 10" Double D coil. It was an overnight tent camping trip and man was the nighttime COLD! Freezing cold, as in all my water was half turned to ice in the morning cold. Luckily we both survived. 

On day one we swung our detectors on the sides of some of the hills the main road is located on...below the road. Lots of beer cans, bullets, and strangely parts like head gaskets and such. I figure this was the result of years of people tossing their empties out the window from the road above. Tried another hill that was covered with float quartz from top to bottom...all of it seeming to be resting on the surface with soil just underneath. Nothing but lead and .22 casings found. The next day we decided to change our tactic and concentrate on the streambed that flows parallel to the road. Searching the layered gravels on the sides of the wash, the streambed itself, and even the fractured bedrock higher above. 

Guess what? I found my first nugget! It was located in a crack in the bedrock right next to a piece of iron. I worked the spot for 15 minutes cleaning out a crevice and breaking off chunks of decaying granite only to find a small chunk of iron about 5" down. Luckily I triple-checked the hole and found another signal behind another chunk of quartz/granite. This signal was on the side of the hole. Sure enough it was a piece of gold. It was the only find of the day, but I couldn't be happier. Best of all, this was on a unclaimed portion of the creek about a half mile northwest up (location deleted) from (location deleted)

Thanks for the tip about this area. You helped me find my first nugget! 

 (Jacob's first nugget! It's a little beauty.)

The Take Away

The main take away from this story of Jacob and his first nugget is...yep, you guessed it...the Three Ps. Patience, persistence, and perseverance. Something I've harped about for the full 10 years I've been writing and publishing Bedrock Dreams.

Any of you who have swung a gold detector over the plethora of trash scattered about old mining areas know of which I speak. It is grueling and frustrating work trying to fight your way through hundreds upon hundreds of targets like bits of iron, shell casings, expended bullets, tin cans, car parts, old barbed wire pieces, and so on. In fact, it can be frustrating as hell. But Jacob (and his brother) hung in there, never deviating from the ultimate goal. Not to mention the fact that they froze their butts off the night before!

To be a successful small-scale miner over time you have to be able to hang in there, no matter what. And it doesn't matter if you're panning, sluicing, dry washing, highbanking, dredging, or nugget hunting. I'm proud of Jacob and his brother because they practiced the Three Ps to perfection and it paid off. Sure, it may not be the largest nugget ever found, but to Jacob his find is a huge landmark and something he will never forget, no matter how long he swings that detector or what type of mining he's doing at any given point in time. I commend him and his brother for exhibiting exactly what it takes to become proficient out there. Yes, luck's always a factor. But if you can't fight your way through the frustration of digging up trash hour-after-painful-hour, you ain't getting there anyway!

My hat's off to Jacob and I'm happy for him!

Now an Apology

Not long ago I wrote a post wherein I stated after I shut down Bedrock Dreams I wouldn't be answering any e-mails concerning all aspects of small-scale mining. After mulling things over a bit, I didn't like the tone of that statement as it was written nor do I feel good about its message. You know, I've sat here and advised you folks all along the way to be generous of spirit when it comes to your mining knowledge and expertise. I've also made a big deal about helping others out along your mining (and life's) path. And who or what am I if I turn around and do exactly the opposite of what I suggest you do? A hypocrite, pure and simple.

Well, I may be a lot of things but one thing I am NOT is a hypocrite, an ass kisser, bull shitter, or blowhard or liar. So I apologize for not displaying the generosity of spirit I'm always suggesting you practice. And by way of amends, I want you to know that any and all of you can hit me up via e-mail ( for mining-related info (yes, even "Do my rocks contain gold?" queries) after I shut this site down. OK? Even Steven are we? More importantly, I want my good friends and staunch supporters among you (and there are quite a few of you) to stay in touch. Drop by and say hello any time and let me know what's shaking in your part of the world.

Once again, a tip of the old miner's cap to Jacob and his brother. Good job guys!

(c) Jim Rocha 2017

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. JR, first let me say Congrats to Jacob! I for one would be thrilled with a nugget that size. The biggest I have found makes that look huge, and mine wasn't a true nugget. Mine was a mercury coated, clump of fine gold.
    Next,.. Great news about you still being there for questions and such! To be honest, I was a little surprised about the earlier post, but Hell, you have done more than enough for a lot of ungrateful folks already. You deserve to be left alone. I think for the most part you will be. You will probably get a few questions now and then. From time to time, I hope to hear from you though, and you will hear from me as well. These computers are funny things....I've never met you, or even talked to you on the phone, but I've known you for years now and I'm proud to say you are my friend. Modern day pen pals I suppose....
    When I got into trouble a few years back with Fish & Game, and you offered to help out...well, that's nothing I will soon forget! To be willing to help someone you have never met in that way, says a Hell of a lot about what kind of guy you really are. Again, thank you.

  2. Thank you Gary for all. Yep, we are stuck together like glue and I'll ALWAYS be glad to hear from you. We'll keep up each other's worries.

  3. I'm going to keep you informed on my prospecting progress. You can count on it.


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