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April 22, 2014

Collection of fly fishing books donated to Oxford County Campus.

Fanshawe's Oxford County Campus is pleased to announce the donation of 30 fly fishing books to its library to supplement the campus' popular fly fishing courses.

"No school in Canada has ever received a donation like this," said professional fly fishing guide and best-selling author Ian Colin James, who teaches the courses.

"It's a substantial and significant library donation. Fly fishing is not always about catching fish and that's what you'll find if you read through the books."

The books cover the sport's history, basic fish biology and stream ecology and techniques like how to cast and how to tie a fly. They were received from fly fishermen competing in last year's Coal Tar Classic (CTC) in Hamilton harbor, the biggest carp fly fishing event in Canada. Since then, the books have been catalogued and added to the campus collection.

"Fly fishermen love to collect books, and quite often we end up with duplicates or books we read which never again see the light of day," said CTC co-founder Ron Marini. "Donating them to Fanshawe College was the perfect fit."

Marini added the donation was seen by many of the CTC competitors as a way to pay forward the love of their sport.

"Giving the students access to some of the best fly fishing literature out there will only enhance their education," he said. "With a bit of luck, the books will help someone get involved in conservation and when that happens it's a very good thing. A very good thing indeed."

Though it doesn't rival Penn State University's 80-year-old George Harvey Fly-Fishing Literature Collection, the largest selection of fly fishing books in the world, the Oxford County Campus collection puts Fanshawe on Canada's fly fishing map.

"Fanshawe College is now part of fly fishing history," said James. "We offer Canada's first-ever accredited fly fishing General Education course and this is now one of the largest collections of fly fishing books in any Canadian educational institution."

In 2008, Fanshawe became the first Canadian educational institution to offer a credit course in fly fishing. Students learn the origins of fly fishing, as well as the technological, biological and environmental influences on the sport in Ontario's freshwater habitats.

"With the extensive books in the library, and the courses all led by Ian, we have a winning combination," campus chair Donna Derer noted.

Fanshawe students and alumni have free book borrowing privileges and may access the fly fishing collection any time the Oxford County Campus library is open. Guest borrowers pay $5 annually.

About the Coal Tar Classic

The Coal Tar Classic, Canada's biggest, friendliest, catch and release fly fishing for carp extravaganza, is held in Hamilton Harbour on the last weekend of May. To date, the event has brought in over $5,000 and several truck loads of food donations for Living Rock Ministries, a non-profit organization which helps at-risk-youth in downtown Hamilton. The Coal Tar Classic is the only fly fishing event in the world where, if a competitor lands a fish, he must remove the fly from his leader and give it to one of his fellow competitors so they can catch a larger fish... on the fly he just gave them.