Police have named the man was was found dead in the water off the coast north of Thames.
Passing tourists found John Stanley Smith's body floating in the ocean yesterday just north of the town pulled him from the water and tried to give him CPR.
However, a registered nurse who then came across the scene at Waikawau, just north of Tapu on the Thames Coast Rd, told them their valiant efforts were fruitless as he appeared to have been in the water for some time.
Eastern police acting Senior Sergeant Aaron Fraser this morning said the man was 41- years-old and went fishing off the rocks just after lunch.
"We're unsure what's happened, whether it was a medical event or if he's got into trouble and slipped in, however some tourists who were passing by and stopped to take some photos noticed his body floating in the water about 4.30pm."
Mr Fraser said the man's body has then been dragged on to shore and the group have started CPR.
"A registered nurse who was passing by has stopped to assist however it was quite clear that he had been in the water for some time and there was no way he would be revived."
He said there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary in the spot at Waikawau where Mr Smith's body was found.
There were a number of good fishing spots along the whole of the Thames Coast Rd, however there were always risks when fishing off rocks.
Mr Smith's fishing gear was located at the scene.
His death has been referred to the coroner.