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PARIS (Reuters) - Fred Miessner stands near a busy road in Paris, his mind miles away from the urban sprawl as he casts his fishing line into the Saint-Martin canal.

While most anglers head out to rural rivers and lakes, a new breed of fishing fan has found a retreat in the built-up waterways of the French capital.

"Street fishing" enthusiasts carry minimal kit - a rod, a box of lures - and take up their position on bridges and pavements.

A few hours along the canal path produces a few small pike and perch. But the size of the catch is not the point of what Miessner and others say is a growing hobby.

"Street fishing is to fish in front of your house. You don't have to only fish in the countryside. The movement is also about being able to reclaim the city, the River Seine, the canals," says Miessner, a founder of French Touch Fishing, an association of street enthusiasts.

All the fish are thrown back alive. The most that the anglers keep is a photo of their catch.

"Right now we're in the heart of the city but when I street fish I'm in my own bubble," Miessner tells Reuters. "There is seaweed, fish ... I'm in the middle of the traffic, but I completely forget about it."

(Reporting by Manuel Ausloos, Maya Barkin and Antonie Pascale; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Reuters