Fisher Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector Review

The Fisher Gold Bug Pro is one model of several that replaces the older Gold Bug lines that had analog technology.  This model has digital technology which is the easiest feature to tell the older models apart from the new ones. 

This model is one of the more affordable of the Gold Bug series, and yet, it does so well for itself that it deserves the spotlight.  As its name implies, it’s designed for gold prospecting with its high frequency and dedicated features to detect and pinpoint everything gold. 

At a Glance…

✔️ Best Feature: Target ID Information

Worst Feature: Ground Phase is Largest Readout

👌 Ideal For: Shallow Water, Gold Prospecting, Coins, Relics, Jewelry, Beginners, Intermediates

  • Target ID Information
  • Motion All Metal Mode
  • Ground Grab
  • No Motion Pinpoint
  • Ultra-lightweight

Our Verdict: The Gold Bug Pro is equipped with the necessary features for gold prospecting, but it also makes an excellent all-round treasure hunting metal detector.  For these reasons and its supporting features that prove high-performance, it’s a recommended model that deserves two thumbs up. 

Who is the Fisher Gold Bug Pro Best Suited to?

The Fisher metal detector will do great in the hands of an intermediate hobbyist as they can quickly take advantage of all the Gold Bug’s features.  However, it’s also simple and easy enough for the novice to start off with as they learn the tricks to the trade.  As a VLF metal detector, there will be some environments that may present a challenge for beginner users to get past, but more experienced users may be able to push the limits by fine-tuning the settings. 

Although the price is much higher than many of Fisher’s other VLF metal detectors, it’s specifically designed for detecting small gold targets.  The price may be worth it if you desire higher operating frequency and advanced features to improve your chances of striking gold. 

How Does the Fisher Gold Bug Pro Perform?

The Gold Bug Pro metal detector uses VLF induction balance technology and operates at 19 kHz frequency.  The higher frequency allows for detection of small, non-ferrous targets like, you got it, gold nuggets.  With its many features designed to improve detection and depth, and its lightweight build, it makes for an excellent, general-purpose prospecting detector. 

The 5” round biaxial searchcoil that is designed to pick up signals on even the smallest targets that you might otherwise miss in a high trashy area.  The greater sensitivity and smaller size allows you to zip into even the tightest spots and right up against large obstructions such as rocks, tree trunks, and the like. 

Features & Benefits

Target ID Information

One of the nice things about Fisher’s metal detectors is its digital display with Target ID indicators that helps you make informed decisions without going into another mode before you dig.  There is an odometer style scale that provides the approximate classification of the type of metal.  Iron objects will be highlighted on the left while coins will be highlighted on the right.  Gold will typically be highlighted towards the center right where you can further acquire more information on the target by going into a discrimination mode.  While only in a discriminate mode, the 2-digit Target ID indicator will provide a value in the center of the display to which you can further determine the type of object buried.  For example, an aluminum pull-tab will likely display a value between 60-75 whereas an old silver dollar coin may have a value of 89.  Values less than 20 will not be detected. 

Motion All Metal Mode

The Fisher metal detector has an All Metal Mode that has zero discrimination which is helpful to both relic and gold hunters alike.  Here, you can perform Ground Grab, acquire signals on all types of metal, and ensure you have optimum sensitivity settings for detecting small nuggets.  The metal detector must be in motion to acquire signals.  However, to pinpoint or use the depth indicator, you must be in a discriminate mode. 

When hunting for gold, you may find yourself in areas with magnetite black sand high in iron oxides.  This can cause the Gold Bug Pro to get noisy.  You should go into All Metal mode, Ground Grab, and set sensitivity high enough to hear some chatter, but the most effective trick is to learn how to train your ear to distinguish between types of audio tones – and buy some headphones!

Ground Grab

The Gold Bug Pro has two types of ground balancing readouts: Ground Balancing and Ground Phase.  The purpose of ground balancing your metal detector allows it to be calibrated to the soil, so it can cancel out signals coming from ground minerals to improve depth detection without negatively affecting signal sensitivity on good targets. 

The Pro model only has automatic Ground Grab with no ability to manually adjust ground balance.  Ground Phase is the measurement of the ground while Ground Balance is the internal setting of the metal detector to the ground.  The Ground Balance will be displayed on the bottom right corner of the screen with a 3-digit value with a decimal point.  The Ground Phase will be displayed in the center of the screen with a 2-digit value, but it can only be performed in All Metal Mode.  Once set, you can then continue in All Metal or switch out to a discrimination mode. 

Limitations

Ground Phase is Largest Readout

All Metal Mode is a very sensitive mode, more so than any discriminate mode as it does not eliminate signals from all types of targets.  This is a great all-purpose mode that allows you to pick up all sorts of treasures.  However, in All Metal Mode, the Ground Phase value is the largest readout.  While this is extremely helpful to know when you must retune your ground balance, the number you’d typically want to see most of the time is the conductivity value of the target which is represented by the Target ID 2-digit readout.  While you can use the scale for an approximate value, you would have to come out of All Metal Mode and go into a discriminate mode to get Target ID information. 

Operating/Battery Life

The Gold Bug Pro requires 1x 9V battery to operate.  In our technological age, 9V batteries are hardly seen in everyday battery-operated products, but they may power the smoke detectors in your home.  While it may not be a big deal to use 9V batteries for the Gold Bug Pro, it only provides up to 15 hours of operation.  This is significantly shorter than the 25-35 hours provided by 8x AA batteries of other Fisher metal detectors.  The tradeoff comes with the higher frequency and advanced controls for improved gold prospecting performance.  

Popular Questions

Is there an Audio Volume Setting on the Gold Bug Pro?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a dedicated volume button or knob.  While there is adjustable Gain and Threshold features, it is not the same controlling volume for hard of hearing or adjustable sound.  While Gain and Threshold have their functions, you must rely on headphones with a volume control if you want to be able to adjust it. 

The VCO (Voltage Control Oscillator) system is what determines audio volume based on the signal strength of the target.  So, both the pitch and volume will increase the stronger the signal.  This could mean it’s close to the surface or large in size.  Weaker signals may be low in tone, small in size, and may be buried deeper. 

What Accessories are Included with the Fisher Gold Bug?

There are quite a few Gold Bug Pro packages available.  However, this particular package is one of the cheaper sets that includes only a 5” searchcoil.  However, the seller may also provide headphones, a nylon accessories bag, digging tool, and an apron. 

Is the Gold Bug Pro Waterproof?

Only the shaft and searchcoil is waterproof, so you can go hunting in shallow water conditions.  However, the control box and all connection points must never be submerged.  The Gold Bug Pro may perform in dry sand conditions, but it’s not designed for use in saltwater conditions like at the beach. 

Can the Fisher Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector Find Coins?

Yes!  The Gold Bug Pro makes an excellent tool for a coin shooting.  The Target ID Indicator is already well-suited to provide information about specific types of coins and determine its depth.  For more detailed coin data, you must go into Discriminate Mode where you can also take advantage of the Pinpointing feature to successfully locate and dig up your coin. 

Conclusion

The Fisher Gold Bug Pro is a great buy for many hobbyists.  While it’s especially efficient at detecting gold nuggets, it’s also a great tool for coin, relic, and jewelry hunters, too.  Its lightweight build and small 5” searchcoil makes it especially user-friendly for even expert old timers that would rather do without the strain and fatigue of heavier models. 

With its many features, a learning process may be required, but once you have it down, you’ll see why it will become your go-to all-purpose prospecting detecting machine. 

Further Reading:

About Simon Owen

I’m Simon and I love finding things. From a young age I always had the knack to find coins, notes, wallets and more. All of that was without the use of technology. I look forward to sharing with you some amazing tech that will make your treasure hunt a lot easier.