Police have named the man thought to have drowned off Kauri Point near Katikati in the Bay of Plenty, as Peato Samele Ilalio of Auckland.
Ilalio, 40, went missing about 2pm yesterday after jumping off the wharf to retrieve a fishing rod after he thought he had a stingray on his line.
He then got into deeper water and got into difficulty, Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Saunders said.
Searches by police, the coastguard, a rescue helicopter and members if the public in their boats failed to find him and the police dive squad joined the search and rescue operation today.
Senior Sergeant Eddie Lyttle of Tauranga police said the search would continue this afternoon.
- Fairfax Media