Family and police are today continuing to search for the body of a young fisherman washed out to sea with two others off Northland's west coast.

He had been one of three men fishing off rocks north of Maunganui Bluff, north-west of Dargaville, on Saturday.

Relatives managed to bring two of the men to shore using boogie boards.

CPR was attempted before emergency services arrived but he could not be revived. The survivor was flown by Northland Emergency Rescue Helicopter to Whangarei Hospital where he was in a critical condition.

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Coastguard and Northland Emergency Rescue Helicopter joined the operation, but were hampered by stormy conditions.

Coastguard Georgie Smith said they were alerted at 1pm by a beach resident who saw the men swept into the ocean.

"Conditions made it incredibly difficult to reach the victims with two of the fisherman drifting into the land and the other later spotted in the breakers by the rescue helicopter."

Police and whanau had continued their search this morning but by midday had still not found the man.