The Finer Points of Crevicing and Underwater Gold Sniping (Part 3)

It's time to move along with this series of posts so we can take a look at some additional tips involving the subject matter of the title. Again, there are no guarantees here, but if you follow these tips I do believe your crevicing and sniping activities will be more productive in the long run.

Overrating the "Unknowns"

Before I start laying down more tips, I'd like to take a moment here to talk a bit about the idea of luck or chance as it pertains to sniping and crevicing (and to small-scale gold mining as a whole). You might notice yourself that quite a few folks believe that getting the gold is more of a happenstance than it is an art or science. While it is true that luck or fate or chance (or whatever you choose to call it) is an active part of what we do, it's my opinion that we tend to overrate those "unknowns." And yes, I realize I've talked about this point before but it bears repeating here. Can you imagine living a life (mining or otherwise) where your every action is based strictly on luck or fate without any attempt to base your decisions on knowledge and hard-won experience? I can't. So when it comes to crevicing or underwater gold sniping place your faith in what you've learned and what you've been taught, not in the unpredictable spin of a roulette wheel or the come-out roll of the dice. I'm not trying to preach to you here. I realize you're all hard cases and tough nuts to crack when it comes to getting the I'm just saying.

 (It ain't just a roll of the dice.)

5) Size is unimportant. While this may or may not be true in other "contexts," it is definitely true when it comes to crevicing and sniping. Ultimately the size of any given bedrock crack or crevice just doesn't matter whether you're working above the water, below it, or out there in the blazing sun of the desert. I've cleaned out promising looking crevices that were quite large with nary a speck for my efforts and I've done the same with crevices so narrow you'd have trouble getting a credit card to slide into that produced a half gram or more. Again, you want to keep in mind that your job is to "narrow" things down as to which crevices to pick (big, medium, or small) based on what I'm saying in this series of posts (or what many of you already know). But don't automatically assume that those tiny, narrow cracks aren't worth checking... in most instances they are (especially if you're working "dry" or above the water). One reason I say this is based on personal experience and another is that if you're working above the water in hard-hit or popular gold areas the easy to work crevices have already been worked numerous times. Many of those small crevices haven't been because a lot of folks are just plain lazy and don't want to put out the effort it takes to cleaning out narrow crevices, including cracking and busting bedrock.

6) Look for crevices that are tightly packed. Again, personal experience has shown me that crevices that are tightly packed are the best gold producers. This is true of large, medium, and small bedrock cracks or crevices both above water and below it. I'm not exactly sure why this is so but I suspect it's because once the gold is swept or carried into that crevice and then tightly packed among other rocks and gravel it ain't going anywhere. It's also an indicator that a particular crevice hasn't been hit recently by another sniper. At any rate, there is some sort of scientific hydrological/deposition factor here that eludes me but may be easily grasped by a hydrology engineer or scientist. Also take note that if you're devoted to underwater gold sniping this "packing" factor is a little less important due to the fact many pieces of placer gold will be found sitting atop bedrock outside of crevices or mixed in with looser rocks and gravel resting on that bedrock. As a general guide, however, follow the advice in the bold print of Tip 6, OK?

(Hydrologist measuring stream flow. There is a "science" to all this.)

7) Look for the "right" mix of material in a crevice. It doesn't matter how small or big a crevice is or wide or narrow it might be. You want to keep your eyes open for the "right" mix of material filling that tightly packed bedrock crack or opening (if it's visible, that is). What is the "right" mix? A range of various sized rocks and gravels bound together by clay or dirt...not loose sand or what the old timers called "blonde" or "blow" sand. This is true for even the smallest or narrowest cracks or crevices...the only difference is that the mixture is scaled down in size. Crevices that are loosely packed and that contain a poor mixture of the above or are lacking it altogether are not good prospects. Ditto for crevices filled only with dirt or "blow" sand and that often have various types of plant life growing out of them. I know some folks make a big deal about gold getting caught up in the roots of plants in crevices like these but in my experience they are rarely, if ever, worth checking. Trust me on this point. Sure, you may find a microdot or two or a small flake but in the end you'll expend  a lot of effort for virtually nada in return.

Me Being Me

I realize that a lot of what I'm talking about here (and will talk about) is visual in nature and perhaps hard to picture through the written word. So I extend my sincere apologies to one and all in this regard. I've been asked by some good people in the past why I don't do YouTube videos as either a primary means of "schooling you up" or as an adjunct to my posts. There are a number of reasons why this is so. First of all, my main forte is as a writer, not a videographer. I like to write and I also like to think I'm pretty good at communicating through words. That is, of course, for you to decide. Secondly, I couldn't do YouTube vids even if I wanted to. You see, quite a few years back I got my skinny butt on the wrong side of what I call the "Great God Google." In other words, I pissed them off by violating a rule of theirs (my bad and I take full responsibility for this). Aside from posting YouTube videos, I'm surprised at times that they even allow me to publish Bedrock Dreams since its main engine is Blogger....which in turn is part of the empire the Great God Google holds sway over. Now me being me, when all this shit went down I fought back with some not so diplomatic words and, as always, expressed myself in the most direct way possible. I don't think the Great God appreciated what I had to say and I just made matters worse, evidently. But I can't lay the blame at Google's feet...I screwed up when I first got started with this online thing nearly 11 year ago. It's also a statement of fact that I'm getting old now and I just don't get out there much any longer. However, the main reason I don't do vids is that I like writing and I am simply not interested in wearing a GoPro camera and making videos like many do. I hope this makes sense to you now...but if it doesn't and you want lots of videos there are plenty of prospecting and mining vids on YouTube for you to peruse. I urge you to take advantage of those.

 ("And when I die, goin' up to the Spirit in the Sky...")

That's it for this round. See you again soon.

(c) Jim Rocha 2018

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Hello JR, I've had company here and finally got a chance to read this. About all I know of "sniping for gold" has come from you, and one or two books. I've never tried it, because I never felt like we had bedrock within reach here. Recently, I found a great looking spot that is solid bedrock. Flat, solid rock creek bed, with cross ways cracks! I need to check and find out if it's private or not though. After these last posts, and pictures, you show a boulder strewn creek bed......are cracks in the boulders something to try? Could they be considered "Bedrock"......they are not what I think of as such. What I think of as bedrock, is solid, flat rock, much like the bottom of a cement sidewalk gutter, but is that always the case?
    Oh, and the You tube thing.......kind of a frustrating pain in the butt really. I doubt I'll ever make a dime at it!

    1. Yes Gary, by all means gold can be found in cracks atop large boulders. I did this many times along the N. Yuba River in California and in most instances found small nuggets and chunkers inside.


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