Partying isn’t the only thing that happens on a pontoon. A lot of fishing takes place too, and Sylvan caters to anglers with the Mirage 8522 Party Fish. Check out the built-in aft fishing station. With a cutting-board top, built-in rod holders and 24-gallon livewell, it’s ready for everything from prepping to trolling to measuring your catch on the ruler etched into the livewell lid. Look to starboard and you’ll note a lockable rod storage locker, lengthy enough to handle 7½-foot rods. Rather than bare-bones fishing chairs, Sylvan offers up comfortable high-back models with flip-down armrests, just like you find at the helm. That way you can make full use of the area when not baiting a hook. Along those lines, two drink holders are inset into the tabletop and the insulated livewell serves double duty as a cooler.
Our test boat featured a new twist on seating for 2015. Forward you’ll find the familiar parallel lounges, with the starboard seat a full 5 feet in length and the port seat 3 feet 6 inches. Add the optional gate filler seat, and you complete one long, J-shaped wraparound lounge. It’s the portside couch opposite the helm, however, that’s unique. Over 4 feet in length, it’s a great spot for multiple passengers to sit opposite the driver, but with its fore and aft backrests, it can also allow a solo occupant to stretch out and gaze in either direction. Seating surfaces are covered in a rich, lush vinyl. Trios of cup holders are set into each and every lounge.
The 8522 was powered by a Yamaha F150 outboard. It cruised happily just shy of 24 mph, burning a mere 6.5 gallons per hour. Drop to trolling speed and the engine will sip next to nothing. Planing was nearly instantaneous, and the boat passed the 30 mph mark in just 6.4 seconds. Top speed? A respectable 36 mph at 5,800 rpm.
*Fishing-oriented amenities include aft fishing station with built-in rod holders, livewell, cutting board and lockable rod storage to starboard.
*When the livewell isn’t keeping bait frisky, it can be used to keep your beverages frosty.
*No bare-bones fishing chairs here: Seats are plush high-backs with flip-down armrests.
*Optional gate-filler seat creates one continuous lounge forward with over 11 linear feet of passenger space. Each lounge has three cup holders.
*Unique portside couch opposite the helm fits in multiple passengers, or a single occupant can stretch out with both forward- and aft-facing backrests.
*Yamaha 150 outboard blends fuel-efficient cruising with 36 mph top speed.
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F150 LA
Prop: Reliance 14½" x 15" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.00:1
Fuel Load: 23 gal.
Crew Weight: 150 lb.
$34,005 (with test power)
Sylvan New Paris, Indiana; 866-766-9698; sylvanmarine.com