Members of an Antigonish County community are mourning the loss of a long-time fisherman, who was known to many as a mentor and a friend, after he died in a fishing accident on the weekend.

Flowers now rest on the wharf in Arisaig, N.S., where the fishing vessel Carrie Anne would normally be tied up.

The boat’s captain, Stevie MacInnis, was fishing with his tuna charter company off the shore near Port Hood, N.S. early Saturday morning when he went overboard.

“He just got drug in by the net; happens quick,” says fisherman Patrick Smith. “Boat would have been drifting. Must have took on some water into his lungs.”

The RCMP received a call around 7:45 a.m. Saturday saying that a man from Arisaig had died while tuna fishing. The body of 68-year-old MacInnis was brought to land in Port Hood.

Community members say MacInnis was the longest-serving fisherman from the 23 boats that fish out of Arisaig and a teacher and mentor to the younger generation of fishermen.

“You always got a smile out of him or he might give you a hard time about something jokingly,” recalls fisherman John Thompson. “But yeah, it’s just not going to be the same.”

“If you ever needed anything you went and saw Stevie,” says Sean Runnells. “He was always around his boat. If you ever needed anything, he was just an all-round good guy.”

MacInnis was considered a pillar in the community of Arisaig, where he coached sports teams, plowed snow, and worked on ATV trails.

“His death has rocked Arisaig, for sure. You see just driving through the community, you see a bunch of vehicles in people’s yards,” says Daniel Ross, a friend of the MacInnis family. “There’s a lot of people visiting each other and trying to come to grips with it.”

MacInnis died in the same area where two fishermen from Port Hood lost their lives in May – a stark reminder of the dangers fishermen face every day on the water.

“You know, as far as experience and safety conscious, there was no one, you know, more so than Stevie. That’s why it’s such a shock, of all people, you know, for it to happen to him,” says fisherman Ross MacInnis.

“We sort of take it for granted,” acknowledges Smith. “We go out at the end of the wharf every day and expect to come home to our families … we know the risk that’s involved.”

The Nova Scotia Department of Labour is investigating the incident.

Funeral arrangement have yet to be made.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh