A man missing and feared dead following a solo deep sea fishing expedition off the Sunshine Coast has been identified as former Illawarra man Matthew Balange. The 43-year-old father was reported missing on Sunday afternoon after he failed to return from a trip from Mooloolaba to the Gneering Shoal, off Maroochydore. His boat was found near Moreton Island on Monday morning with the engine still running, sparking fears he had fallen overboard. Mooloolaba Coast Guard Commander Lee Campbell told the ABC that police used the missing man's last known phone call to determine a search area of 200 square nautical miles, equivalent to 68,000 hectares. He said the boat would have been carried south during the night, but a person would have drifted north, expanding the search area. Mr Commander described the missing man as an experienced fisherman. "That's why alarm bells rang when he didn't log off and his vehicle and trailer were located in the car park," he told the ABC on Monday. "His partner rang quite concerned at around 6pm ... and we got onto the water police." The search was paused on Tuesday and wound back on Wednesday. Originally from Kiama Downs and more recently living in Mount Warrigal, Mr Balange and his partner Kylie Kolm moved to the Sunshine Coast with their children about 18 months ago. Mr Balange was well-known in the Illawarra as a coach for the Albion Park and Oak Flats Junior Eagles. A family friend, Jessica Murphy, said she remembered Mr Balange as perennially happy. "He always had a huge smile on his face, was always willing to help anyone," she said. "I'm heartbroken. I can't even begin to imagine how his family feel and I'd love to just be there to help and search." A gofundme account set up on Wednesday morning in support of Ms Kolm and the couple's combined six children has raised just over $1000. In a statement, Mr Balange's brother Dave said Matthew "lived and breathed" fishing. "We take a little solace that he was doing what he absolutely loved. While our family still hold hope for a positive outcome, we are realistic in our expectations," he said. The family expressed its "massive appreciation and gratitude" for the water police and other rescue and emergency services for their efforts in the ongoing search. "Without them we would not have the shreds of hope that we have clung to during this time," Dave said. "[We are] bracing for the worst, but still praying for the best. "We are not ready to miss him. We just want him back. "His stubbornness that normally grates us is now the strength that could still bring him back. "The family thanks the public for their concern, but if we could please request privacy and space at what is a pretty difficult time." Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/37h61o0uzc?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&amp;utm_medium=copy_link_all&amp;utm_source=customer to support the fundraiser.