- Near Aptos
The park and pier sit in a pocket of Monterey Bay known as Soquel Cove, an area noted for its good halibut trolling. The beach itself is long and connects with New Brighton Beach to the north and Rio Del Mar Beach to the south. A short distance south of the pier sits the outlet of Aptos Creek. Pier anglers can encounter two distinct environments depending upon where they fish. The first is the typical sandy-shore environment found under and around the pier, at least from the shore end to the cement ship. In and around the ship itself, an angler is more likely to catch rocky-shore species, at least during certain times of the year. Water depth here is only moderate and fishing, for the most part, is for the smaller species. In the surf area, the angler can expect to catch both barred and calico surfperch. Farther out, in deeper water, anglers will catch shinerperch, walleye surfperch, silver surfperch, an infrequent spotfin or sharpnose surfperch, white croaker, starry flounder, sand sole, English sole, jacksmelt, jack mackerel, and some years, small juvenile bocaccio. Most years will also see some king salmon, striped bass and California halibut landed, most commonly in the summer to fall months. Warm water years will also bring species more common to the south: Pacific mackerel, kelp bass, sand bass, and even a few white seabass. Fishing around the cement ship may yield all of these species but may also, depending on the time of the year, yield pileperch, rubberlip seaperch, blackperch, rainbow seaperch, and a few small cabezon and kelp rockfish. For something surprising, a few steelhead will be landed late in the fall most years.
Open 24 hours although the entrance station to the park is maintained only during daylight hours, 7 am to 10 pm.
Parking and restrooms are near the front of the pier. On the pier are fish cleaning facilities and a few benches. Bait and tackle (mainly frozen bait) is available at the snack bar near the entrance to the pier; it is open 9-5. Since the pier is located inside the state park, the entrance fee of $6 covers the parking fee. Lodging can be found at the Seacliff Inn, a few blocks away.
Map + Directions
Take Highway 1 to the Rio del Mar Exit; follow Rio del Mar west to the park entrance.