Roderic ‘Roddy’ Hall has been around the block and then some. Even before he took on his current role of manager of Farlows Travel, Roddy had travelled pretty much everywhere fishy as a guide, a host and, on occasion, as a regular angler. Along the way, he’s seen what poor caffeine preparation can do. While fishing for steelhead in remote British Columbia he experienced coffee Nirvana when Derek Barber served up the perfect cuppa in the middle of nowhere.
“I have been fortunate enough to travel the world for more than twenty years now as a guide, lodge manager and agent for some of the most exceptional and remote fly-fishing destinations available to the travelling angler. As we all know, it is the people who often make these trips that little bit more memorable, and at Nass River Lodge in British Columbia, the owner, operator, head guide and supplier of river bank barista quality coffee Derek Barber, is just as crucial as the exceptional steelhead that run this system.
Within a few hours of meeting Derek I realised that here was a man who practises a single-minded pursuit of the most important things in life. These passions have led to him being able to make a perfect espresso, latte or macchiato on the banks of one of the best and most remote steelhead rivers in the world.
Although we quickly grasped just how important coffee was to Derek (and indeed to our jet-lagged group), the main reason we were one hour helicopter flight north of Smithers in British Columbia, Canada, was to fish for that superb migratory fish, the steelhead. Derek has guided for many years in BC and is held in high esteem by everyone who has fished with him. In 2018 he was given the opportunity to buy a small camp on the upper Nass River beside the confluence with one of its major tributaries, a junction pool he had often dreamt about. The camp had been operated for many seasons as an occasional ‘fly camp’ but was not developed for permanent occupation. Derek and his small team have now created a more permanent camp and 2019 was their first full season.
This is a four rod camp and everyone has their own canvas tent on a wooden platform. The ultimate luxury was that we were woken up every morning at 6.30am with a pot of fresh espresso in bed and the wood burning stove in our tents fired up to take the edge of the chilly air before we got going for the day. The fishing itself was classic spey rod, swinging-the-fly type stuff on the main river, very familiar to Atlantic salmon fishers. Then there was smaller more intimate fishing where a single hander could be used on the clear water tributary. The fish were large and angry and tended to give you a mean stare when they jumped.”
For the rest of Roddy’s story (and some expert advice and tools for making kick-ass riverside coffee), get stuck into issue 21 of The Mission for free below – or buy the print version online.