Ever tried to find agates on the Oregon Coast but had little or no success? Well, I'd be crazy to give up my own prized spots right here on the world wide web; however, one thing I will share is my technique to increase the chances of finding agates. Set out for a coastal adventure and follow these tips to find some treasure of your own!
1st & Foremost, a quick note: in case it needs to be said, never turn your back on the waves. They can sneak up on you and drag you down when you least expect it. It is also very easy to walk farther than you think you've walked on the beach, so avoid that sickening "lost feeling" and make note of your access point. Remember to look back at it ocassionally to avoid losing track of it.
Lastly, some beaches prohibit removal of any beach materials. There are usually information boards at access sites which state whether this is the case. Inform yourself before you pocket anything.
2) Accumulations of pebbles & shell pieces: what I will refer to here as the "rockline." Beaches with a decent rockline, where a lot of small pebbles & shell pieces wash up along the waterline, is the best place to look for agates, which look like opaque blobs in the sand (in the picture above, appearance of coastal agates & rockline is visible).
I have the best luck finding a rockline on beaches blocked with a bluff of sorts (like a jetty or a cape) on at least one end, which disrupts the ocean currents and seems to send more rocks and shells onto the sand than a beach without this feature.
3) Tide levels : it is said that low tide is the best time to beachcomb, but any time the tides are retreating from high tide may be good, even if tides aren't all the way out. Tide charts are available on many weather sites if you wish to monitor this and experiment.
4) Stormy/rainy weather: if possible, plan your search right after a coastal storm or on a rainy day, when tumultuous waves help kick things up from the ocean floor and rain displaces the top layer of sand on the beach.
5) Uncrowded beaches: look for beaches that aren't crowded, and/or beaches which aren't right smack on the side of the highway in town, as they will undoubtedly be picked over most of the time. A place with a name like "Agate Beach" is likely to be every tourist's go-to spot, in hopes that they'll find agates of their own, so I would skip that idea. If you can, walk a good distance from the main access points of your selected beach, where fewer people bother to go.
- I have the best luck in the off season (pretty much anytime from late fall to early spring), when tourists aren't flooding every beach.
There you have it--by following those tips and taking the time to explore & experiment with different beaches, you'll be an expert in no time!
(!) And remember, take good note of where you accessed the beach, and keep an eye on the waves at all times!!
Good luck!! Happy hunting!