Police suspended the search for a whitebaiter missing off the South Island's West Coast on Sunday evening.
Three helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft were used to look for the man, who was swept by a wave from the mouth of the Okarito River, just north of Franz Josef, out to sea on Sunday morning.
Two other whitebaiters who were also swept away made it to shore unhurt with assistance from a jet boat and a jet ski.
Sergeant Sean Judd says police will resume the land-based search on Monday morning during low tide, but he says it is unlikely the fisherman will be found alive.
He says Sunday's search of the water was extensive, and on Monday police will focus on the shoreline.