Posted 14th Dec 2017
In the latest of our Humans of the Waterway feature, courtesy of the Canal & River Trust, we meet Mark, Michael & Henry
"Fishing is pretty addictive! I love being outside next to the water and it's nice how it gets you closer to nature – we saw a peregrine falcon here literally ten minutes ago.
It's definitely better being out here than inside stuck in front of the TV. It's not just about the fish... fishing is just an excuse to be out really!
We'll do it all weathers, rain, snow, wind - the only time we can't is if the canal is frozen. One of the biggest things for us is that it's a social thing because we all live in different areas and we can come together and fish for a day. I'm from the Forest of Dean and the three of us met up here at the bottom of Caen Hill Lock Flight early this morning. We're doing a fry-up for breakfast so it probably looks more like we're camping today than fishing. Well, you've got to be comfy!
I've got an eight month old baby son, so the addiction to fishing is something I can pass on to him. He's a bit young for it yet, but there's time. Once it gets you, it gets you for life.
The canal is a good place to start fishing as a youngster because there are a lot of small fish you can learn your craft on. And canals are very accessible - you just park and walk down the towpath. It's a great place to sit for a day, there's always something interesting to watch with the boats and different people passing by.
Canals are good because fish like swimming around boats, and boaters put food over the side which attracts fish too. There are 16 locks in the Caen Hill Flight but that doesn't stop the fish, they manage to pass through easily.
These days the quality of canal water is good for fishing, but otters are doing well on canal too now so they compete for the fish! We're hoping to catch carp, but lots of people come to this canal for pike. We see ourselves as custodians of the waterways in a way because we're the eyes and ears that help Canal & River Trust look after the canals, and we've got that respect for the environment a fisherman needs to protect the fish stocks for tomorrow.
I've been asked "What does a fisherman think about when he's sitting alone with his rod all day staring at the water?" Well, you can be thinking "how can I change something I'm doing to fish better?" or you can just switch off, and that's nice because it's a real escape.
We don’t take it too seriously, it's just a hobby, it's just fishing!"
Text and image courtesy of the Canal & River Trust