THE GAME CHANGER interviews ‘Marlin Man’ Mark de la Hey

28 May 2024, Tuesday


  • The Game Changer Series  – in search of Insight , Innovation and Inspiration


The ocean is my mind . Her creatures are my soul

Mark de la Hey is ‘ The Marlin Man’.  Resident of  Umdloti beach , just north  of Umhlanga ,Mark travels the world doing what he loves most – entertaining , educating and enriching the lives of others around what he does best –  FISHING .

And playing an ever increasing and important  role as an ocean advocate.



TGP: Mark. Where did it all start for you?

I grew up on a sugar cane farm in Mtubatuba. During the off season we use to set up camp for 3 months at Cape Vidal. My dad was my greatest mentor. The ocean my greatest inspiration.


TGP: What’s the secret to life? One word please?

Passion. Without passion you’re dead in the water – excuse the pun. With passion nothing is impossible. You gotta love what you do!


TGP: People see the passion in your TV shows. How many have you done?

Well to date well over 100. It’s about entertaining and educating. Today we’ve just come back from shooting at Tinley Manor – it’s about creating extreme experiences. Every show is different. You never quite know what to expect from the ocean.


TGP – how would you sum up your purpose in life?

I very lucky ………. Entertaining, Educating and enriching other people’s lives – through what I love doing: Fishing


TGP: Sustainability. How important is it? And what role are you playing?

Incredibly important. Thankfully the game is changing, but it’s going to take more. Years back the guys took out everything they caught. Today it’s about catch and release. We like to say limit your catch – before catch your limit. It’s a mindset shift to say – let’s preserve and protect our oceans for future generations. I been extremely fortunate to see the best and I want my children to see that as well. So, yes it’s about increasing awareness levels – and more education about our oceans .I want to play my small part in that!


TGP: Yes. I hear you’re teaming up with Bobby Skinstad?

Bob and I go back to our school days at Hilton. We share a lot of similar interests, so he has just recently invited me to do some inspirational / educational talks to corporates. This is a great opportunity to grow awareness levels, and for me to play a role as an ocean advocate. It’s about responsibility, while having fun out there and experiencing it all


TGP: Mark you pretty good at what you do. Can you share just a few of your ocean secrets?

Fishing falls into that 10 000 hour rule. It takes time to know the ocean – to read the ocean. And then you are still learning every day. I would say one needs both knowledge and humility – you have to have respect for the ocean. Preparation is critical and then also mindset. You got to bring you’re A- game – and have a game plan


TGP: How do you  game plan?

Firstly knowing the environment. The more you know the better- the more your chances of success – the season, the time of day , the timing of the tides , the water temperature, the air pressure   – you can never know too much . For instance bait fish are far more difficult to catch on a slack tide. Bait fish cluster for protection when the water is moving, and that’s when the game fish and predators become more easily available to catch



TGP: You say mindset – what do you mean by that?

It plays a huge role in anyone’s game plan. You got to be in sync with the ocean .You got to build  FCB – faith, confidence and belief. If you believe you will catch – or believe you will not catch – you will be right! Mindset is everything


TGP:  Any more pearls of wisdom please ?

Sometimes one can learn from the most unlikely of sources.

 Birds do not fly for fitness – they fly for food !

In this game you got to apply leverage.


TGP: Ok, you’ve fished all over the world. Where are those marlins? The big ones?

Bazaruto and Mauritius are best. We are incredibly fortunate here in Africa. Some of the best fishing waters in the world.


TGC: Talking fitness, how important is it to be fit in your game. And how do you keep fit?

It’s vital considering it can take up to 18 hours to land a marlin. My longest tussle has been 3 hours 15. So you need to be pretty fit. I do that via surfing, diving, boxing and running – and the odd round of golf


TGP:  Now talking golf .I know you can swing that club pretty smoothly. What’s your lowest handicap and tell us your best round ever ?

I was once off a Plus Two handicap, back in my day. My best round? I would say a 66 at Royal Durban. Seniors tour maybe one day – like David Frost ha ha? Or Jimenez – he enjoys life!


TGP: But these days it’s tough to get you out on the course since your biggest land catch. How’s married life?



TGP: Mark, on the lighter side , tell us something we do not know about you?

I’ve got this bull dog. Neither of us quite knows who the real boss is. But, I do have my suspicions.


TGP: Mark, you good at making next happen. What’s next?

International shoots, promoting SA as a tourist destination, especially our majestic North Coast which is growing phenomenally and then of course this new direction – inspirational talks where I can share my experiences – and play a bigger role as an ocean advocate. Shape the future a little better. And many more seasons in the sun. Life’s good!


* For Talks or that extreme experience, Mark can be contacted at


*Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and ‘The Game Changer’ to organizations, sporting teams and individuals. Rob can be contacted at or visit