Father and son find dead fisherman

Police are searching Homunga Bay Near Waihi Beach for a fisherman missing after his companion was found dead in the water on Sunday. Photo: Christel Yardley.

Police have described a dead fisherman and his missing companion as "beginner" fishers.

The pair had gone fishing off the rocks of Homunga Bay, north of Waihi Beach, on Sunday. 

A father and son out fishing discovered the 25-year-old man’s body floating in the waves near the shore, says Waikato police Senior Sergeant Charles Burgess.

"The friend he was fishing with is still outstanding."

Items belonging to the pair, including a shoe, clothing and backpack, were found abandoned on the rocks at the southern end of the bay. 

The man had been identified as a 25-year-old Asian man, living in the Waikato. Police have spoken with his wife. 

"She’s identified the person her husband was fishing with."

Speaking from the scene on Monday, Waikato Police Search and Rescue Constable Brian Connors says two land based teams were scouring the area - one north and one south of Homunga Bay.

"They’re checking all the beaches, and rocks and high points right around the cliff faces looking for the missing person.

"Surf life saving have three RIBs (inflatable boats) operating just off the coast."

He understands the pair were fishing on the point to the south end of the small sandy bay.

They had gone fishing sometime in the late morning on Sunday.

Both were described as "beginner" fishermen and were not wearing life jackets.

Connors urged all land based fishermen to wear life jackets when fishing off rocky outposts.

One man’s body had been discovered in the waves about half way across the bay, he says.

Sea conditions off the rugged steeped coast were deteriorating on Monday and by 11.30 rain had set in.

"The swells were building to 2 to 3 metre swells later in the day - so we got out here at first light to do what we can and get surf life saving back onshore before the really bad weather hits."

Searchers had recovered unrelated fishing debris, but no sign of the missing man. 

"This is a very small bay with a small sandy beach in the middle and then it just turns to sheer cliffs and rock faces.

"The Beach and fishermen’s access points are easy to get to, but the rugged parts have to do done by air, which were done yesterday."

Through Sunday afternoon, police scoured the area on foot and the police Eagle helicopter swept the area. 

Search and Rescue Sergeant Vince Ranger says at this stage there was no way of knowing what happened to the men. 

"We will have to look at that and see if we can figure out what the most likely scenario is."

That area of Waihi Beach is expected to be hit by strong winds and swells as Cyclone Hola tracks towards the region. 

The sea was already building on Sunday, Ranger says. 

"It’s going to be pretty tough there if the cyclone tracks as suggested.

"It’s going to get gnarly for the IRBs and land searchers that is going to determine how far we go." 

 - Stuff/Phillipa Yalden.

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