A man navigates life’s choppy waters to become a minister, author, life coach and top charter captain on the Great Lakes

CHICAGO — Memorial Day weekend is coming and with it warmer weather and the desire to get outside and, for many, to get out and go fishing.

Here in the Chicago area, a charter boat captain is considered above the rest. His name is Dan Keating.

Captain Keating is considered the best salmon and trout charter captain on the Great Lakes.

He was once a wild child, but time has transformed him into a husband, father, minister, motivational speaker and life coach.

Keating spent several days of his youth fishing with his father, Tom.

But when he finished high school, he took a wrong turn.

“When I was 18. I was a bit confused,” he said. “To be honest, I was a bit messed up! I didn’t know which way to go.”

Traveling from one university to another, he graduated from fifth grade, University of Illinois – Chicago.

“I have spent a large part of my life running from God!” He said. “I was raised in a Christian home, but when I turned 18 and went to college, I kind of threw it all away. … So I spent years running and running. trying to fill the void within me with the pleasures of this world. And somehow, through it all, I didn’t kill myself and Jesus just chased me through the storms.

But while deeper devotion to Jesus was new, fishing has always been a mainstay.

Keating started his own fishing charter business when he was 18 in the Port of Waukegan. And in time, it was the wake that led to the biggest catch of his life.

“I met her on my boat. Her dad and brothers were long time charter customers and she went out once on her birthday and we had a nice catch of fish,” he said. “And it was a beautiful day.”

Keating and Mary got married and together they traveled the world and met people and places few Americans would see, like a month in the Maldives.

More from Captain Keating:

Bama Breeze Sportfishing Facebook page
Captain Keating website

Four children, a son-in-law and a grandson later, Keating is a wanted captain.

With five books and two DVDs, amateurs, neophytes and connoisseurs listen to his knowledge.

The Angling Life: A Fisherman Reflects on Success, Failure and the Ultimate Catches 169-page tome by Keating and may be his opus. The book weaves together metaphors and scriptures about navigating the choppy waters of life.

“The lake can be violent. The waves can be incredibly big. Storms can come,” he said. “And that can also be very beautiful and it’s no different from life because we have quiet seasons in life and we all face different challenges and struggles.”

Life coaching sessions are therefore an integral part of its mission, inspiring men to live the best possible life in the spirit of divinity.

On a recent three-hour tour, WGN’s Patrick Elwood was joined by friend and WGN colleague Demetrius Ivory and friend John Maher (husband of Elwood co-presenter Dina Bair) and led by Keating with first mate Josh Slawkin. Lake Michigan offered its bounty and caught fish after fish and enjoyed each other’s time and company

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