Auntie Austie Problems

Leave your problems at and Auntie Austie will answer them:


Dear Aunt Austie, 

                            I'm a twenty year old "boy" and have been a member of your fishing club, for as long as I remember.

          I have suffered from cradle cap and flakey skin all my life. I have now come to realise that this is my body telling me to get in touch with my "scalesona", and I have little choice but to identify as a brown trout from now on.

        It abhors me to think of the  callous way the so called sport anglers of your club, would seek to treat me, and my fellow brown trout, in the pursuance of your pastime. 

      Would it be possible to fish only hookless dry flies, and monitor all angling on satellite cameras?. The angler with the most rises, could then be deemed the winner of any competitions. 

                   Anon (Bohatch). April '24

PS: Why not switch to pike fishing?, they're killing us.


Aunt Austie says,

                        I think I'll fish with my great grandfather's strawk-haul for a while, as I'd like to discuss this more thoroughly with you/ye/they/ or whatever.



 Dear Auntie Austie,

                    I'm hoping to come up to Derg again, this year, if I can get the garage door painted and the other "to do" jobs done first.

         I only get short annual leave, so I can only visit for the one weekend. So, fingers crossed, I'll get a spinner evening and a good fish.

          The trouble is the missus suffers from her nerves, and I like to send her off for a week's skiing, either side of Christmas. In the summer then, I take the kids off to a caravan in Ballyheigue, or Killkee, so herself can visit her mother, and catch up with some old friends.

      Anyhow, I was thinking of changing my dryfly rod, so what would you advise? Regards,Ted Quigley, Kilmacow.

Auntie Austie says:

                 don't mind changing your rod, change your wife. There are some great options out there today. From Asia you could get a 4/5wt. that you can play with all day, but a lot of them are double tapered, and feel a bit one paced, after a while. Better off to get something South American, probably 7/8 wt.. Most of these are weight forward, and great fun to handle. But they're noisy and splashy, and you'll have to develop your technique, so as not to create to much disturbance.

           Best of luck when you come up fishing, and I hope you'll get a big one.

    PS did I write "wife", sorry, I meant to say "line".



April 2024

Dear Auntie Austie, 

                             Since time began, generations of my family have been fishing Lough Derg. Shur, I have heard stories from the old people, that we wouldn't have made it through the famine, if it wasn't for the lake.

                            When dapping long ago, when a trout would take the fly, we'd lower the rod, and utter the cry "God save the Queen" slowly, before striking.  Then, if we were a ghillie, we'd  pass the rod, and hooked fish, over to the skipper for landing.  

                              The problem is that since the advent of the free state, we (Padraig's family) changed the cry to the shorter "Erin go bragh", and I think we've been striking too soon, and missing a lot of trout since.

       From utter exasperation, I find myself reverting to the old regal cry, albeit under my breath. I feel very uncomfortable with this, as I feel I'm failing our bygone martyrs, who freed us from the yoke of tryanny. 

Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted, as I feel I can't carry on like this.                                                                                                                                                                                            Padraic Ó Bheoláin,  Woodpark. 

Auntie Austie says:

                  Hi Padraic, I feel your pain. The mantle of oppression must never be allowed to sully an otherwise exciting event, such as striking a fish again. Having slept on your dilemma for a few nights, I have come to a simple conclusion, of the inclusion, of our patron saint. Why not in future say "Erin go bragh, agus Pádraig",  and show those trout who's boss.


Dear Aunt Austie,

                        a week or two ago, I was having a wonderful afternoon's dry fly fishing, using a grey woulfe. A slight drizzle was keeping the hatching fly on the water. 

 The day was overcast, and I was fishing in the shadows of a formidable stand of Scott's pine. The conditions were tempting a few trout to show an interest.

 However, maybe it was due to the gentle wave, but suddenly my grey woulfe decided to present itself as a wet fly.

Now I'd like to consider myself to be a broadminded person, but I was sorely tempted to whip my fly through the air, squeeze it between dried mushrooms, oil it, and send it back as nature would have intended.

But should I have respected it decision to present itself as a wet fly?, I don't know. Modern society tells me I should, but I'm old school. I like everything the way it's supposed to be.

Cowardly, I panicked, packed up my gear, and ran to my comfort zone, behind a pint, or two, of stout in a local hostelry.

Thinking back now, I realise the selfishness of my reasoning, and I would like a few guidelines from your good self.

                                                          Finbarr Walker de Klerk, Woodford.     April '23.


Aunt Austie says:

                          some would say you should release all your dry flies from your reign of terror, and march on to vegetarian utopia. But I think a sensible compromise can be reached. Why not set a balance between old school and new. Oil your fly, and present it dry some days, and on other days, allow your fly to be itself, and sink, especially on competition days.


Apr 22, 2019

Dear Aunt Austin,

Since I am a member of the Gentleman’s Club, I am always on the run. It is not possible to keep 200 yards to the next boat. What should I do in the future? E.A. Switzerland.

Auntie Austie says:

Dear E.A.,

Firstly may I congratulate you on your elevation to the Gentleman’s Club, well deserved too.

There may be a little confusion here on the 200-yard rule. It is deemed “ungentlemanly” to move nearer to another boat by less than 200 yards. If you are there first, then there is no need to move. It is the responsibility of the second boat to stay clear.

If you fall victim to an intruder on your water, simply don your bowler hat. This will indicate to the intruder that you are indeed a gentleman. He will also realise that a gentleman always carries a Lee-Enfield rifle as his musket of choice. A single shot across the bows should dispel any misunderstanding, should the problem persist.

Please remember that it is acceptable for an angler on a drift, to pass within the 200-yard limit, as he is moving quietly and not interfering with your water. It could be judged a little unsporting to be picking them off as they pass.


Apr 15, 2019

Dear Auntie Austie,

                     I can throw fly line 40 metres and land fly 1 metre near of target, and line landing as gentle as evening dew. I can see fish one kilometre far from me, and manoeuvre boat with stealth of hungry lion. I use flies the others are catching the fish with. But can I rise a fish?, not the snowball’s chance in hell. Why do Lough Derg trout outsmart me all the times?  Dutch Van Kerr,  Nether Regions.

Aunt Austie says:

Dear Dutck, I don’t know how big your brain is. It should be approx. 1,350 cc , the size of a turnip (or swede). A trout on the other hand has a brain the size of a pea (or 0.18cc). You should be able to outsmart a trout at everything.

Perhaps you could test yourself against a dog. Get a friend to lock you and a dog in a shed, and then hide a ball. See how many times you can find the ball first.

Alternatively, find a shallow sandy part of the lake that has very poor feeding opportunities, a spot where a trout would have to be an idiot to go to. Then you could enjoy fishing on a fairer basis.


Apr 30, 2018

Dear Auntie Austie

My friends have recommended I try mayfly fishing in Mountshannon. It’s not something I’ve done before but I do learn quickly and feel I would very much enjoy what I believe to be a vibrant atmosphere of gently competitive “angling as high art” – as described by these friends. They were so confident this was for me and happy when I agreed they smiled so much they were moved to laughter, which I found touching, I don’t mind confessing. I believe I should arrive next week but I am a little apprehensive and you might be able to calm my nerves. As an aging gay theatre director, I yearn to break free from the limpid tentacles of fading costumes and greasepaint under the fingernails, and look forward to the resuscitation of my outdoorsy instincts, so long buried in a sordid existence of tawdry encounters and shallow upper crust routine. I can’t wait till I find myself thrusting and bursting with enthusiasm for the ancient craft of fly fishing among you stout yeomen, but I’m just a little concerned that I won’t fit in. What do you think? NB I don’t drink, absolutely must be abed by nine each evening and suffer from the occasional anxiety attack (mainly when wearing anything but the most recent fashions), but apart from that I believe I am indistinguishable from any other man.

Edwin Tingle (you can call me ET)

Auntie Austie says: Dear Edwin, No. Go away.


Apr 30, 2018

Dear Auntie Austie

I’m sorry this letter has no question. I should have waited ‘till I had a question to ask before I sent it.

Gordon Cordon from Morden

Auntie Austie says: Dear Gordon, there’s no answer to that.


Apr 30, 2018

Dear Auntie Austie

I just wanted to get your views on a strange experience I had when I was heading to Mountshannon last year. I had everything I thought I’d need packed into the Merc, several brand new rods, a bulging tackle bag with all my favourite flies (some totally unused – wahay!), several changes of clothes, a new floppy fisherman's’ hat for wearing if I won a prize, some bedding in case I got really, really drunk and had to sleep in my car, a state of the art camera to take pictures of all the fish I caught, a half-gross of condoms (I’d be staying 3 weeks after all), and a copy of one of those joke books by Des McHale so I could entertain the masses late into the evening after the tales of lake based derring-do had abated. Anyway there I was, pootling along 3 mph under the speed limit when I was passed out by what I thought to be a vintage motorbike (well, it looked old and it was fairly stinky but sure how the hell would I know what kind it was) and I saw the fella driving it had a single (1!) rod somehow attached to the side and a bulky looking jacket on him. It must have had everything in it because he had no other luggage and there was no pannier. I saw him throughout the 3 weeks, he caught plenty of fish, seemed to be surrounded by aul dolls (despite always wearing the same jacket!) and I even think he won a bet on the FA cup final (whatever that is). Anyway, I’m sure you can understand that this was very difficult for me to face up to, like, was there something wrong with me, should I be approaching things differently. Can you understand my concerns, dear Auntie Austie, and can you offer any crumbs of comfort to help.

Fiachra O’Flaherty-Glazer (SHMBO demanded we go double barrel)

Auntie Austie says:

Dear Fiachra

I don’t blame you for being upset at all. The sensation you had as you were passed on the road by the motorbike must have set off a lot of self-loathing and abandonment issues. However there really is no excuse for not being able to identify vintage bikes as they go past. For instance, take the Honda CB77 Superhawk, as used by Robert Pirsig in his seminal work Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Distinctive for its free-revving 305cc parallel twin, and tubular (not pressed) steel, this eminently flickable Japanese baby represented a sportbike genesis for Honda. What about the Triumph Bonneville in the original 650cc? This is an absolute icon, that nobody should ever not recognise. It oozes cool having featured McQueen, Brando and of course, tragically lost so young, Jimmy Dean. And don’t get me started on the BSA Goldstar Clubman, (if only you could, you know, one of these, but you can’t and you could end up with a nasty burn if you did)! Anyway, I could go on but frankly, it occurs to me that I’d be wasting my time. If you or any of our readers who may be similarly ignorant wish to be taken seriously in manly society again, they should get up to speed (jk.) as soon as possible, and certainly before darkening our lake with their uninformed shadow once again. NB And none of your modern shite, that’s only for nancy boys and male menopausers.

Apr 26, 2018

Dear Auntie Austie,

I was lucky enough to win “The Heaviest Lady’s Fish for the last 2 years now and I’ll be looking for the hat-trick this year. However, it can be a little embarrassing so I was wondering if it would be possible to weigh the lady and the fish together as one?. This would be a little more discreet and would also favour the lady with the heaviest fish. Agnes Fogarty, Tulla.

Auntie Austie says:

This sounds like a great idea, fair play, but I would have some concerns. In the past (in another club) cheaters were found to be putting lead weights into fish to gain an unfair advantage. Our club is terrified that a misguided lady, in her struggle for recognition, might swallow small stones or pellets etc. in order to increase her weight. This I must stress is extremely dangerous. The Club was going to scrap the competition altogether, but a compromise was reached. From now on this challenge will be weighed only by Archimedes Principle. A large glass tank will be filled with water, and the lady (plus trout??) will be lowered into said tank. The displaced water volume will be measured and recorded. Any lady who fails to float will be deemed ineligible and disqualified. The immersant displacing the most water will be judged the winner. (The lifeguard’s decision will be final)

Mar 6, 2017

Dear Auntie, towards the end of last year’s Mayfly season, one evening I was out on my own at a point of an island where I had spotted a very good fish. A few flies were building up on the lee side of the point, and every five or ten minutes a squall would drag a couple of the gnats back out into the main wind and off into the deep of the lake. About 30 feet out Mr. Big would top and tail across and take some of these flies. I covered him well as I thought, and missed him on one occasion. Then just as I landed my fly beside the next group of drifters, and anxiously waited, hoping my pounding heartbeat wouldn’t frighten the fish, the sound of an engine developed, and a boat appeared from behind me, and stopped not 3 feet from my fly. I was then asked if there was “n’tin doin’?” As I shook my head slowly in disbelief the engine revved up and charged in a straight line for about a half-mile or more through the drifts of other anglers and faded out of sight. I then waited for the best part of an hour but never saw Mr. Big again. Auntie Austie can you please advise me on the range of expletives I can shout, and still be considered in contention for the Gentleman’s Cup? “Frustrated” Mountshannon.

Auntie says: Dear Frustrated, as you probably already know, there are no expletives in the vocabulary of a gentleman. Well none worse than “upon my word” or “goodness me”. If however you are willing to forsake the Gentleman’s Cup, you could start by looking at but I must warn you that there is no threshold hour on the lake for vulgarity. Perhaps you could put your experience down to part of the overall charm of fishing.


Mar 3, 2017

Dear Auntie Austie, as a 6’4”, 24 stone man I feel a little shy in asking your advice. For the past 35 years, I have been as a prisoner in my boring stereotyped male clothing. Work commitments means my partner is away for a few days from time to time, and its then I take the opportunity to step into something which more suits my personality. I’d wear perhaps a tight fitting torsolette (lace backed) and girdle in the “merry widow” fashion with suspenders, throwing a babydoll negligee cover over. Never anything risqué such as camiknickers or that peek a boo carry-on. Now my question for you Auntie is, has the club come far enough into the modern era of mutual acceptance, where I might be allowed to wear “my” clothes say under a long raincoat and only slip off the coat when I’m fighting a fish? Allister “Vanilla” Hancock. Garrykennedy.

Dear Alister, firstly I have to say that my word is only an opinion and the Club would have to decide for themselves. That said, all anglers are hunters and dressing like that on the lake would make you vulnerable to some very untoward attention. Whereas we would all like the Club to be avant-garde and unprejudiced, not everyone is the same, and you would suffer catcalling and vulgar gesturing at the very least. If you must, I’d suggest the Ogonnelloe shore in bad weather. PS: where did you get a bustier in your size? I never found anything bigger than an 18 in Dublin.


Nov 24, 2016

Dear Auntie, I was thinking of a rod, reel and line upgrade for Christmas, what advice can you give me? Miles, Ogonnelloe.

MountShannonAngling Club

Dear Miles, you're asking the wrong person, write to Santa.


Apr 28, 1935

Austie my good woman, planning to cross over from the mainland and bag a few this mayfly season. Dusting off the greenheart and taking my chances in your Gentleman’s Cup, what! Trouble is your ghillies, bloody-minded lot, with an Irish brogue thicker than an old oak stump, can’t understand a thing. Any chance you can fix me up a lad who can speak the Queen’s? Capt. P. Daily, Flemsley Hall, Aldershot.

Dear Capt., I notice from the postmark that your letter was posted in 1935, and didn't actually arrive until the day before yesterday. I think that's one bualadh bos mór for our new postcode system.


Apr 25, 2016

Dear Auntie, I writing you for my beautiful boy from Irlande has running away. He living in my apartamento in Bahia Blanca, Argentina for many many weeks. This day I coming home too soon from my working, and he in bedroom with my underwears on. I ask him reason he wearing my underwears, he say to me, his underwears in washing. I ask him why he wearing my lápiz labial and make-up, suddenly he get travelling bag and go to Irlande. He say he want Mayfly not my fly. Now I have no beautiful boy. Please be of helping he coming home to me.

Consuela Testates, Bahia Blanca.

Dear Consuela, you're not the first, and won't be the last person to lose a partner to the Mayfly. It could happen that he will just return like a tired dog after his innings in a months’ time. However, you touched on something else a little more sensitive. Young Irish boys today have a more adventurous nature and feel less constrained by the diktats of Catholicism, than perhaps their fathers were. If you could text him and suggest a little bit of role reversal etc. on his return, it may relax him a little.

I still can't get a proper grasp of things. You call him "Boy" but you haven't told me your age. If you could possibly send me a few photos of yourself privately, I may get a better grip of things.

Apr 22, 2016

Dear Auntie, I have been a member of our club for many years now, and I have to say the happiest times of my life have been, alone on the lake, fly rod in hand, in peaceful piscatorial pursuit. However I'm soon to be taking a wife, and I believe it is club policy that I should rescind my membership. Is this true? (Name withheld for personal reasons)

Auntie says: Hello Malachy, what a load of poppycock!!. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Club has always held an inclusive policy towards the fairer sex. In fact some of our competitions have special prizes set aside for lady participants. That said, the clandestine nature of fly fishing etc. doesn't always lend itself to the constraints of married life, what with limits on time, and the need for shared responsibility, discussion and so on. I would think you might feel from now on, coarse angling would better suit your needs. We'll be sorry to see you go.


Apr 15, 2016

Dear Auntie Austie, as a result of an accident involving an afghan hound when I was a teenager, I am no longer able to relieve myself like other fishermen when boating. I have had to resort to a po and cape arrangement. This hasn't really been a problem when out with friends, but in competition lottery, I have been the butt of some very unsavory comments, especially now that my arthritis is worsening. As things are at the moment, I feel the six pack of beer will no longer be part of my lunch box preparations. Any ideas? Tadhg, Connemara.

Dear Tadhg, this is a more common problem than it at first seems. Simply replace the six-pack with a hip flask of spirits, and Bob’s your uncle. I also think an anonymous donation to an animal refuge would go a long way to putting your karma on a more even keel.


Apr 13, 2016

Dear Auntie, me having much problem with wind knots, can you of assistance me? Gunter, Aachen.

Auntie Austie Says: Hello Gunter, I am much happy.... sorry, I'm glad you asked that question. A lot of confusion lay with the old knot system, but in 1805, a Francis Beaufort invented a new 1 to 12 system, which deals with all eventualities. Much easier to understand, and did away with the MPH/Knot mix up. Reminds me of the Punt/ Guiney nonsense when I was a boy.

Apr 13, 2016 


Apr 12, 2016

Dear Auntie Austie, I feel I am a better angler than the others about me, but I'm failing to catch my due. Am I just going through a bad patch, like Torres at Chelsea, or is there something else I could do? - "Harvey" Tipperary.

Auntie Austie Says: Dear Harvey, I think it would be safe to wait this one out. Cream (among other things) will always rise to the top. However in the interim you could learn Dr. McKenzie's stretching method for the upper body, so as to more accurately describe the one that got away.


Apr 4, 2016

Dear Auntie Austie, where can I learn correct angling/boating etiquette? - Ennis Angler

Auntie Austie says: “Why are you asking me?"


Jan 16, 2016

My boat keeps filling with water, what should I do?

Auntie Austie says:  “Patch the holes!”