Posted by: dharmabeachbum | June 19, 2012

I’ll tell you my secrets

I’ll tell you my secrets, if you don’t tell me any lies.

Every year I cross paths with a particular snowbird on the beach. Every year he shows me a big, great white shark tooth that he claims to have just found. Every year he says, “Yeah, they’re still out here.”

Every year I want to tell him that he’s not fooling me — that he’s doing a disservice to those new to the hobby.

Oh, it’s true. It’s true. There are still big teeth to be found on the beach. But chances are slim that the same snowbird would find a huge, perfectly-shaped, great white tooth five years running. A two-inch tooth that he showed me this year looked like the same tooth he showed me last year — and the year before that.

It’s not cool to mislead others like that. When a fellow enthusiast asks me something about the hobby, I tell them the truth: what, if anything, I’ve been finding, where I’ve been finding it, when the best time is to hunt.

I’ve often been asked what my secret is as far as finding sharks teeth along the Grand Strand. It’s twofold: be the first one on the beach at dawn and look until you’re really tired of looking and then look more. It’s that simple. I hunt an average of two-plus hours every day I go out.

There are a few tips that I could give — one being to keep checking along the top edge of a shell bed as the tide ebbs. Sometimes waves shake teeth loose from thicker shells along the upper edge, even when the surf no longer seems to be surging that high. Remember, all it takes is one wave to change the slate.

Otherwise, I pace the shell beds along the tide line. Another tip: let the waves do the sifting for you. I see a lot of people staying in the same dry shell bed for far too long. Brushing over or digging through the shells is relatively useless in a stationary bed.

“He’s not going to tell you his secrets.” You know how many times I’ve heard that from other fossil hunters?

Why wouldn’t I? As of this posting, I have nearly 29,000 sharks teeth. I’ve enjoyed hunting them immensely. The least I can do is share what I know.

Sharing is one of the beauties of the hobby. I smile when I see others finding teeth, and I enjoy seeing what they’ve found. Especially when I know they aren’t just carrying around the same “plant” from year to year.

You know what I love even more than seeing what others have gathered — showing off what I’ve got.

I found the great white tooth (above and below) twenty yards or so south of the access near 63rd Avenue North in 2010. The mako washed in front of me not too far from Springmaid Pier on the south end of town.

Good luck, y’all.



  1. You write beautifully!
    you do speak the truth

    • Thanks Annie. I wasted so many years after the newspaper jobs in which I didn’t write at all. I think I’m going to end up getting myself in trouble telling the truth. Some so-called big shots in this town can’t handle the truth.

      • I think you might have already run into the guy I’m writing about here. He’s fairly nice; I just don’t see why he feels the need to lie.

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