Motherlode Prospecting Supplies

Gold Panning, Prospecting, Metal Detecting, Lapidary

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Hand Operated Suction Dredges

MotherSucker “Sniper”

Have you ever been out goldpanning, and looked at the bottom of a stream or river that is flowing too fast to shovel in?

gravel sucker hand dredge

Hand Operated Suction Dredge

Well, now you can get under those submerged boulders and rocks and get that material in deep rich pockets, and not have to worry about it being blown off your shovel as you try to get it safely above the water line.For my money, this is probably one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal for prospecting, and will pay for itself a thousand times over in gold recovery or by not having to invest in more expensive equipment that will do the same job.Shoveling and digging through compacted gravel certainly recovers substantial gold, but you can’t get a shovel between deep boulders and in submerged bedrock crevices where your shovel just can’t get into. Also, don’t forget, what doesn’t end up in your shovel, falls to the bottom and gets driven deeper, or gets blown off as you hit the current in faster moving water.

So, how does one recover the gold you can’t reach with a shovel, and is too deep to use a small trowel to get at, and where motorized or mechanical means are illegal? A Hand Operated Suction Dredge is how. They fall under the “Hand” operated tool, such as shovels and gold pans, so are legal pretty much anywhere that I know of. [ check your local mining regulatory agency though for exceptions though ].

They are so good at getting under and between boulders, and the powerful suction just pulls all that material up into itself.

It’s also much easier on the back than shoveling and a separation in the tip helps avoid clogging with larger rocks and also self classifies into smaller gravel for faster and easier panning or sluicing.

So, why doesn’t the material just fall back down the nozzle when the suction stops? Easy – the tip extends itself into the main barrel for several inches trapping any material that gets pulled in. Sure, a small amount in the tip will fall out, but if you do things right and let it fall straight down, you can get it on the next pull.

We recommend you place the tip down into the gravel, even hard-packed stuff, because as material [ including embedded gold ] is pulled free, it loosens more up. Then, pull back quickly, until the handle is fully extended [ without pulling the top cap off ]. Wait a couple of seconds for the pressure to equalize. Pull the unit off the bottom several inches and slowly push the handle back down to avoid the ejected water  from blowing the material on the bottom around. Then lower the device back into the gravel and repeat the process several times [ 4 – 5 ] or until you think the trap inside is full.

Cleaning out bedrock cracks and potholes are a breeze.  Sometimes you need to spread or open the crack a bit to get the tip close to the deposits, but when you do, you can vacuum it clean.

Cleaning the unit out is really easy, and I recommend you simply dump it into a bucket for panning or sluicing later.

Pull the handle up sharply which will pop off the top cap and the handle will be completely removed.

Turn the unit upside down into a bucket [ with some water in it ], and with your hand [ not a hard object ], strike the side of the unit several times until the material inside falls into the bucket.

Then, with your other hand, cover the tip, and horizontally lay the unit in the water and let the water flow into it. With your hand over the end of the tip, gently shake it to stratify any material left inside. Covering the tip prevents material from escaping.

With water still in the unit, flip it upside down into a bucket and shake it and tap it with your hand until any remaining material falls out.

Replace the handle, and continue suctioning. Repeat the process until you are ready to process your concentrates.

Remember, the deeper you go, usually the larger the gold. 1.5 grams of gold, at today’s prices, will more than pay for this unit.


We have now developed and enhanced system that will pump a continuous flow of material into a 20L bucket, using 1 1/2″ check valves, non-corrugated flex hose [ prevents the sluice-like effect of corrugated hose that traps gold resulting in possible loss ].

We are going to call this unit the “MotherSucker Prospector” as it will recover a lot more paydirt than the basic version, and be a whole lot more efficient than any shovel could ever be.

I did a recent field test of this product to identify efficiency and durability.  The results were really good, other than a few minor bugs that needed to be worked out.

During the test, I had a worker fill 9 – 20L buckets of 1/2″ minus material from beneath a submerged boulder located on my claim in the upper Kettle River, using a hand shovel and classifier.  He then put all this material through the gold-hog excavator, which we all know is a very efficient high banker sluice.

The gold that we find in this part of the river is basically flour gold, and a few larger flakes but none larger than 30 mesh.

After about 4 hours of digging laborously by himself, and another 1/2 hour putting the material through the Gold Hog, we retrieved a little over a gram of fine gold [ that we could see and recover ].  There was a lot more trapped in the concentrates but was too small to see well with the naked eye, and will required much more processing later.

I took the prototype MotherSucker Magnum, and proceeded to work the very same hole that was dug with the shovel.  In about 15 minutes I had about 1/3 a 20L bucket of material, which took me about 5 minutes to pan using the EasyPan.

The final result was 1/2 gram of fine gold, and again, lots more micron gold barely visible to the naked eye.

Mechanized dredging is illegal unless you have special work order approved, which needs to jump through the hoops of the Environment Ministry, Water Resources, Fisheries and Mining and Exploration Ministries.  One can akin mechanized dredging as the “Clear Cutting” of rivers, and can be very disruptive to spawning grounds, etc.  Not only do permits take substantial time to get approved, it can also cost you thousands of dollars in reclamation deposits which the average small placer miner cannot afford.

In addition, there’s heavy equipment to pack in [ and out ], which can take up to a full day to set up.

Our unit is hand powered, and is less destructive than even a shovel [ which is legal ], required NO gas and oil to operate [ environmental hazard ], uses plastic, brass and leather and can be used selectively in sensitive area’s, plus it can retrieve more gold with less paydirt.

There is no heavy equipment to pack in [ or out ], just the compact, lightweight unit, a couple of buckets, gold pan, suction bottle and small concentrate bucket to collect the panned out fines later for micron gold recovery.

I have thousands of dollars in equipment myself, that is no match for the efficiency, portability, quick set up, and ease of use this unit provides. If there is gold there, you will get more with less work, period.

I am really excited to get this unit ready for you.

Happy Hunting!


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