Words by Andreas N. Möller, Guideline HQ Sweden
4D Compact is one of Guidelines’ big news in 2021. A shooting head system with relatively short heads where you can easily switch between different bodys and tips. Since last year I have fished with a lot of different combinations on all possible rods in one-handed, switch and two-handed versions. At first I was hesitant to fish with such short lines as I usually choose slightly longer shooting heads in my fishing because I think it gives longer and more stable casts with better presentations. But I was quickly pleasantly surprised by how extremely nice and easy it is to cast these lines.
The heads are available in both single handed, switch and two-handed weights with two different densities on the body to choose between, a floating variant and a float/sink 3, to which an optional 4D Compact tip is mounted. The total length of the shooting heads with tips varies from as short as 8 meters up to 9 meters, where the longer configuration is adapted for mainly two-handed rods. 4D Compact is sold both as ready-made kits and as loose parts where you are free to choose which body you want and which tips you would like to use. It requires almost no space at all to handle these lines and you still cover a lot of water. For natural reasons, it becomes more of the shooting line to keep track of when you need to throw far, but the advantages of not having as much space behind you as with longer heads outweigh this.
The early salmon fishing on my home area this year was characterized by high and cold water, which would last for several weeks. Flooded streams made it difficult to get to the usual places and to step into the water and wade and fish through the pools was often unthinkable. Anyone who has fished under similar conditions knows that trees and shrubs cause major problems when you can not step out into the river and get away from them. It was now that I really got to see the benefits of the new 4D Compact lines. I could tread in the rod between branches behind me and then push on with a quick forward stroke, like a classic roll throw, and quite easily shoot away and cover 20-25 meters of the river. When I fish with shorter two-handed rods, 12-13ft, the advantage is almost even greater with these short heads as you can tilt/angle the rod out over the water to be able to create a nice D-loop behind you, which means you can throw more or less normally, whether you are crowded with bushes and trees behind you, or in more open places. So these are lines that you also use to your advantage for your usual salmon fishing in medium sized rivers.
A couple of things that can be good to keep in mind when faced with the choice of buying this shooting head system are first and foremost that the lighter bodys that are adapted for single handed fishing (12, 14, 16 and 18 grams), are not adapted to use with the heavier tips in 9 grams. There is not enough power in these bodys to turn over the tips in the right way and it quickly becomes a rather clumsy and difficult-to-throw combination where you experience that the tip becomes difficult to get out of the water and does not turn over properly. Therefore, make sure to always use the tips that weigh 7 grams on all bodys that are marked with SH (Single Hand) and it works incredibly well. On the other hand, it is possible to use all 7 gram tips on the two-handed bodys (DH) and preferably then in 12ft for a better presentation of the fly. Due to the lenght and powerness in these lines you can also choose a class heavier on the body to achieve a combination reminiscent of Skagit. Then you get a line setup that drives both the rapidly sinking tips and heavy flies far out into the river without much effort or space.
Last but not least, you do not need extra sinkers or poly leaders on the tips when fishing with a 4D Compact. However, I recommend using tapered nylon leaders to get the absolute best experience and presentation of the flies. A tapered leader makes a big difference to the presentation if you fish a slightly heavier fly and are fishing a tight spot. Getting the leader and fly to turn over can often be crucial to catching fish, especially in small streams. I usually fish with leaders of about 9-12ft for single handed fishing and 12-15ft during two-handed fishing. Shorter leaders on fast-sinking tips and longer leaders on intermediate and floating tips. If you fish a 4D Compact in larger rivers with plenty of space, you can extend the leader further to get a better anchorage in the water.
If you have a salmon or sea trout fishing planned during the autumn, make sure you get a set up of the new 4D Compact lines. Fishing in small and medium-sized rivers has never been more efficient!
Words by Andreas N. Möller
Images by Anderas, Henrik Larsson & Alvaro G. Santillan