They're calling it one of the great catches after an alleged burglar was netted near the boat moorings around the Napier inner harbour on Monday.

Police scene of crime officer senior constable Bruce Ford was on the job about midday, investigating the overnight burglary of a multi-berthed fishing launch at Pier 2, off Meeanee Quay, Westshore, on the northern side of the inner harbour when he found the key to the case.

It was, indeed, a key, which he found on the ground nearby, for a Nissan car.

Today he told Hawke's Bay Today the only Nissan nearby was parked immediately in front of his van, with a man asleep in the front passenger seat.

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As he unlocked the door and the man awoke, Mr Ford noticed something fishy about the car - in the back seat were some of the fishing rods and other items reported missing from the boat.

Mr Ford reeled in the catch, recovered most of the haul of rods and other marine equipment, alcohol, food and other small items.

At least two fishing rods and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) were still missing, but the man was arrested and is due in Napier District Court today charged with burglary, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years' jail.

Aged in the mid-20s, he's reported to be a part-time fisherman.