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Skykomish Sunrise Pontoon Boat - Field Test Review  at Cabela's

Skykomish Sunrise Pontoon Boat - Field Test Review

Author: Frank Ross

On a recent fly-fishing trip to Colorado, we tested a new pontoon boat that performed so well I've decided Dave Scadden hung the moon when he designed the Skykomish Sunrise. We used this clever craft in both rivers and high mountain lakes, finding it versatile, easy to use and full of features that a fly-fisherman will appreciate.

The Aqua-lok standing platform is integrated with a leaning bar system that makes it much easier and safer to stand and cast.
The most advantageous feature is the Aqua-lok standing platform that is integrated with a leaning bar system that makes it much easier and safer to stand and cast without fear of taking a dip. Naturally, the leaning bar would be in the way of rowing, so it pivots back, and the whole assembly slides out of the way to a position where the bar becomes a comfortable armrest. When you get to a fishing sport, you merely slide the 28" x 15" platform forward, raise the leaning bar and start double-hauling those long casts.

There's plenty of storage space, with two cavernous custom fitted side pockets for storing gear and a stainless steel rear deck that measures 48" x 18". Inside the side pockets you'll find built-in rod holders, stripping baskets and tippet dispensers. The rear deck is large enough for packing a cooler, small tent and provision for a lengthy float trip, and a motor mount that would certainly maximize boat control, if you're not into rowing. Personally, I like to row, and certainly need the exercise.

You'll enjoy rowing this boat. Two footrests, on the leading edge of the frame, give you a great deal of leverage for pulling, in addition to a comfortable resting place out of the water. The padded seat is comfortable for an all-day excursion, and the premium oar rites and bronze oarlocks are positioned for maximum comfort and leverage. The boat is agile and responsive to the oar, and depending on the load, moved quickly without a great deal of effort.

It took less than an hour to assemble and pump up the Skykomish the first time, but part of that time was spent understanding the directions. The assembly for subsequent trips will take much less time, and you have the option of leaving it fully assembled. With a width of 60", it fits neatly in the back of a standard pickup truck. Filling up the low-profile 10-1/2-foot pontoons, equipped with Haukey Roberts valves, went quickly using a double-action pump. Their 16" diameter is covered with a tough 1,500-denier PVC that will stand up to a lot of abuse. It certainly did at the hands of our crew. We drug it in and out of the truck, across gravel bars and riverbanks without any noticeable affect.

It has a Class V River Rating, making the Sunrise capable of taking on the most challenging rivers in North America.
If you're contemplating a pontoon for the first time, a couple of tips for use are worth mentioning. First of all, air pressure is critical, both inside and out. If you're going on a trip to the mountains, with the boat preassembled, do not fully inflate the pontoons. The resulting drop in ambient air pressure will cause your pontoons to swell, and possibly burst at the seams. Also, if you're fishing in cold mountain water, the air inside your pontoon will contract, causing in effect, a loss of pressure. Top off your pontoons once you get to the water and take along a pump just in case you need to make a mid-day adjustment.

Another comforting feature is its Class V River Rating, making the Sunrise capable of taking on the most challenging rivers in North America. Even if you're not up for such an adventurous expedition, it's comforting to know that this boat can handle the big rapids and fast water.

Once you get to a spot you want to work over thoroughly, you can drop the anchor using the convenient through-frame system that uses Delrin rollers. The old adage, "you can't push a rope up hill" holds true. It took a few minutes to get the rope threaded through, but once we realized that a rod tip was ideal for threading it down the tube, assembly was a snap. The tag end of the anchor rope is positioned at your right-hand side and is easily adjusted up or down, then locked into position with a cleat. Just remember to tie a big knot in the end of your line, once you get it threaded through so that you don't lose the anchor or have to thread it through again. (Anchor is not included.)

The weight capacity of this pontoon boat is 600 pounds, but it will hold tons of fishing fun. The next time the sunrise finds you on the water, it should be in a Skykomish Sunrise, grinning from ear to ear.

Click on this link for the Skykomish Sunrise Pontoon Boats.

Author Frank Ross
Frank Ross grew up on a lake in Florida, where fishing and hunting were second nature. He has pursued his passion from the jungles of South America to the northern reaches of the Arctic Circle and most points in between. With a background in newspapers, the wire services and magazines that began in 1970, Frank brings a unique perspective to his work with Cabela's. He is an award-winning photographer with a flair for getting to the bottom line of every story.

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