Retired Philadelphia Fire Lt. Peter C. Mosero was doing what he loved yesterday when tragedy took him.

As he always did, Mosero, 70, of North Cape May, N.J., went out early to fish.

About 7:20 a.m., police in Lower Township, N.J., got a call from another fisherman who said he had talked with an elderly man fishing at the Lepor Pits fresh water ponds earlier.

But when he returned, the fisherman said, he couldn't locate the other man and some of his fishing equipment was floating in the water near the spot where he had been standing.

Mosero's body was found in 12 feet of water by the Town Bank Fire Company's search-and-rescue dive team just after 8 a.m., police said.

Mosero was a Philadelphia fireman for 25 years. He retired from Engine 66 in Roxborough in 1988.

He had lived with his wife, Denise, in North Cape May for about seven years, said his daughter, Sandi Konidaris. They had been married 45 years.

"He loved to fish, he went out every morning," his daughter said.

"Then he would come home and have lunch with my mom.

Recently he took his 9-year-old grandson deep-sea fishing, she said.

"He was a very caring man," Konidaris said.

Lower Township Police Chief Edward Donohue said the area where Mosero was fishing drops off quickly.

"We believe Mr. Mosero waded into deep water, became submerged and, unfortunately, was unable to return to shore," Donohue said. An investigation is continuing.