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Closed Till Summer 2024

  • A $7.4 million contract was recently signed with Goleta-based Cushman Contracting Corp. to repair and strengthen the wharf, Capitola City Manager Jamie Goldstein said.
  • City leaders have secured more than $10 million for the project through Measure F, money from the federal and state government, insurance payouts and money from Capitola’s General Fund. Measure F was a sales tax extension approved by Capitola voters in 2016 to benefit the city’s General Fund.

Although the repairs are expected to finish in June  2024, Goldstein said they could be delayed. The Capitola Wharf, a quintessential feature of the charming seaside village of Capitola, California, offers more than just picturesque views—it’s a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts and families alike. This iconic pier extends into the tranquil waters of Monterey Bay, providing access to a variety of marine life and serving as a central point of leisure and recreation.

Historical and Practical Information

The history of the Capitola Wharf dates back to 1857 when it was first constructed to serve the burgeoning lime and lumber industries in the area. Over the years, the wharf has been rebuilt and expanded several times, with the most significant reconstructions occurring after storm damage in the early 20th century. Today, the wharf stands as a cultural and recreational emblem of Capitola, reflecting the town’s evolution from an industrial hub to a beloved tourist destination.The current structure of the Capitola Wharf is approximately 855 feet long, striking a balance between its historical roots and modern necessities. It is constructed primarily of wood, maintaining the classic appeal expected of a traditional pier, yet includes modern amenities such as lighting for night fishing, benches, and safety railings. Additionally, the pier hosts a variety of businesses, including a well-known restaurant, a bait and tackle shop, and a few retail stores, enhancing its attraction as a multi-functional space.

Fish Types and Techniques

The marine environment around Capitola Wharf is rich with diverse fish species, influenced by the kelp forests and sandy bottoms of Monterey Bay. Anglers can enjoy a rewarding fishing experience targeting the following species:

  1. Surfperch – Available year-round, best caught using sand crabs, worms, or artificial grubs cast near the surf line.
  2. Halibut – Particularly during the spring and summer, anglers use live bait like anchovies or artificial lures that mimic small fish.
  3. Striped Bass – They migrate through the area in the summer months. Successful baits include live sardines, anchovies, or lures such as swimbaits and spoons.
  4. Mackerel – Common in the warmer months, caught using shiny lures or pieces of squid.
  5. Rockfish – Can be targeted year-round but are most active from spring to fall. Using squid or cut bait on a high/low rig is effective.
  6. Lingcod – Caught primarily in the colder months using large jigs or live bait.
  7. Dungeness Crab – Although not a fish, crabbing can be very productive in the late fall and winter using traps baited with fish carcasses.

Fishing Calendar and Techniques

January to March

  • Surfperch: Use sand crabs or synthetic baits in the surf.
  • Dungeness Crab: Baited traps dropped near the wharf’s end.

April to June

  • Halibut: Live bait like anchovies, or lures mimicking small fish.
  • Rockfish: Squid or cut bait fished on the bottom.

July to September

  • Striped Bass: Live sardines or lures like swimbaits.
  • Mackerel: Small shiny lures or pieces of squid.

October to December

  • Lingcod: Large jigs or live bait.
  • Surfperch: Continue with methods suitable for January to March.

Amenities and Accessibility

Capitola Wharf is well-equipped with amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit. The pier features clean, accessible restrooms, a bait and tackle shop where anglers can stock up on supplies or rent fishing gear, and a popular restaurant offering fresh seafood and spectacular views of the bay. The pier is wheelchair accessible, with smooth pathways and safety railings to accommodate everyone.The pier’s location in the heart of Capitola means that visitors can easily explore the town’s vibrant array of boutiques, galleries, and eateries. The beach adjacent to the wharf is perfect for families looking to relax after a day of fishing.With its historic charm, diverse fishing opportunities, and robust amenities, the Capitola Wharf continues to be a treasured destination for both locals and tourists, embodying the spirit of a classic Californian seaside experience.


1400 Wharf Rd, Capitola, CA 95010, USA

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Contact Capitola Boat & Bait (831) 462-2208

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Contact Capitola Boat & Bait (831) 462-2208


Fish Caught

Perch, Cabezon, Kelp Greenling, Rockfish, Sculpin, White Croaker, Cod, Flatfish, Jacksmelt, Striped Bass, Salmon, Sturgeon, Sand Sole, Halibut, White Sea Bass

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1400 Wharf Rd, Capitola, CA 95010, USA

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