Published Dec 25. 2017 - 6 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 28. 2021

Meade's crazy flies

Australian Rob Meade's flies are totally crazy contraptions using foam in strange shapes, odd constructions, rubber legs, large eyes and lots of color. Flies just after my heart!

Meade's Shuffler
Meade's Shuffler
Rob Meade

I bumped into Rob Meade's flies on Facebook where someone inquired about Meade's Shuffler and showed a picture of one of the craziest flies I had seen in a long time.

An upside down hook with basically no materials on it, a piece of bright green foam, rubber legs galore and some large eyes. Almost not “tied” in any traditional manner, but put together with glue and knotted rubber legs and with an intricate weed guardish function created by the way the foam was mounted and hinged on the hook.

Not the most delicate trout fly, but definitely something that could lure a hungry bass or a fearless pike!
And a very interesting and different construction.

one of the craziest flies I had seen in a long time


I set out to research a bit, and started looking for Rob Meade and his flies, and found quite a bit on the subject. Rob Meade is Australian, and is, if not a household name over there, then at least way better known there than he is in my neck of the woods. He is often mentioned as one of the most innovative fly tyers in that part of the world, and for good reasons.
It seems that Meade has made quite a few flies with the above mentioned basic construction, but he also has other contraptions on his repertoire, which spans bass flies, saltwater flies and some flies, which I find hard to place in any category, but which I still find very intriguing.
Many of his flies are made to target Australian species such as Murray cod and barramundi.

The crab
Spotty Gutless Frogs
Meade's flies
Rob Meade

I found Meade mentioned on YouTube videos, tyers showing some of his creations (or is that creatures?) and I found several places to buy his flies, not least at Rainy's, a company known for their foam products and a perfect outlet for the Meade production, but also an Australian outfitter and tackle shop called Untamed Flies and Tackle, based in North East Victoria.

6/0 Shuffler
Gutless Frogs
3/0 Shufflers
A handful of gutless crabs
More Meade flies
Rob Meade
Gutoless crab principle
Gutless frog principle
Foam cord fly
Open frame
Martin Joergensen

Open frame flies

Many of Meade's flies are built on the same principle. They are foam flies, making them floating unless they are weighed, which some of them are. They fish upside down and they use a construction where the bulk of the fly is used to guard the hook point and will hinge or tip out of the way when a fish strikes.
This gives most of Meade's flies an open frame construction with no interior, which has lead to the suitable name Gutless flies.

Gutless flies

Meade has a series of flies built over this principle: the Gutless Frog, the Gutless Crab, the Gutless Critter, even a Gutless Rat.
All these are based on the principle that the main part of the fly is tied on or mounted on a “hinged” piece of foam, and that they sit in such a way that the foam or some other material will cover the hook point, leading to a floating, popping and basically weedless fly. The material moves out of the way and bares the hook point when a fish strikes.
Some of the flies have weight tied on, mostly dumbbell eyes, which will sink the fly. But the way it's mounted and the nature of the materials will keep the fly upright, making it fish perfectly upside down, hook point up.

In the jaws
Rod Harrison
Gutless crab
Gutless crabs
Rob Meade

Foam shapes

I have used foam cylinders or cord like grout or gap filler foam rod before to tie mouse flies and other types of flies, but Meade's constructions take the potential use of this easy to use material a lot further. By bending a foam cylinder back on itself and tying it in to form a hinge that covers and reveals the hook point as mentioned above, he creates an out-of-this-world frog called the Gutless Frog.
Now, you would think that foam cylinder would be one of the cheapest materials around, but no, not so. For some reason tubular foam is way more expensive than foam sheet. as a replacement, many of the flies can be constructed with strips cut from plain sheet foam, and some even use skin strips, which act in the same way as the foam, hinging in the front and covering the hook point in the back.

Mono hinge

A few of the flies use an other construction where the foam can be replaced by any material, even a non-flexible one. This is done by providing a hinge made from monofilament line, which is flexible enough to allow the material glued onto it to move like the foam would. Using this technique, Meade has made some very lifelike crab patterns, which look like they could easily be adapted to all kinds of crab eaters from the tropical permit and bonefish to the humble Baltic coastal cod.

Crippled Baitfish
The Huntsman
Recent and early
Rob Meade
Gutless Prawn
Rob Meade

The Shuffler

Rob dropped me a note about the construction of the Shuffler:

Martin, I thought I should mention, that the shufflers head, is actually a hollow brass tube soldered to the hook shank. The foam is wrapped around the tube, and a small bearing is captured inside by the eyes, creating a rattle chamber. Both the shuffler and the gutless frog dive and swim like a conventional lure/plug.

"Tying" them

The construction of these flies implicates very little traditional tying. Most of them can be done with a knife or a pair of scissors, some glue and a lot of bending, knotting and coating.
The constructions are quite "mechanical", but quite simple in principle, although somewhat harder to actually make once you try.
Many of the flies consist of foam and other durable materials, and are quite robust in spite of what sometimes looks like a fragile and open construction.

Big mouth, big flies
Murray cod
They catch fish too...
Ross Virty Virt - Michael Young

Find Rob Meade and his flies here

Meade is on Facebook.
You will find a lot of Meade's flies on Ross Virty Virt's page Kaos Cod Flys.
Meade is a fly designer for foam experts Rainy's Flies. Rainy's also sell Meade's flies.
Meade's flies can be bought from Australian Untamed Flies and Tackle.

Fishing the Shuffler
Fishing the Shuffler
Ross Virty Virt


Břetislav Kašpar's picture


:) Funny looking flies. I like them. Thanks for sharing. BK

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