CHICAGO — Memorial Day Weekend arrives and with it warmer weather and the desire to get outside and, for many, get out and go fishing.
Here in the Chicago area, one charter boat captain is considered to be rods and reels above the rest. His name is Dan Keating.
Captain Keating is considered to be the best salmon and trout charter captain on the Great Lakes.
He was once a wild child but time turned him into husband, father, minister, motivational speaker and life coach.
Keating spent many days of his youth fishing with his dad, Tom.
But as he graduated high school, he went off course.
“When I was 18. I was a bit confused,” he said. “To be honest I was a bit messed up! I was unsure of what path to follow.”
Meandering from one college to another, he graduated from the fifth, University of Illinois – Chicago.
“I spent a lot of my life running from God!” He said. “I was raised in a Christian home but when I turned 18 and went off to college I kind of rejected everything. … So I spent years running and trying to fill the emptiness in me with the pleasures of this world. And somehow through all of it, I didn’t kill myself and Jesus just pursued me through the storms.”
But while deeper devotion to Jesus was new, fishing was always a mainstay.
Keating started his own fishing charter business at the age of 18 out of Waukegan Harbor. And in time it was the slipstream 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 came out one time on her birthday and we had a great catch of fish,” he said. “And it was beautiful day.”
Keating and Mary wed and together they would travel the globe and encounter people and places few Americans would ever see, like a month in the Maldives.
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Four children, a son-in-law and grandson later, Keating is a captain in demand.
With five books and two dvds, amateurs, novices and experts alike pay heed to his knowledge.
The Angling Life: A Fisherman Reflects on Success, Failure and the Ultimate Catches Keating’s 169-page tome and may be his opus. The book weaves metaphors and scripture on navigating life’s choppy waters.
“The lake can be violent. The waves can be incredibly large. The storms can come up,” he said. “And it can also be very beautiful and it’s no different than life because we have calm seasons in life and we all face different challenges and struggles.”
So integral to his mission are life coaching sessions inspiring men to live their best lives possible 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 (Elwood’s co-anchor Dina Bair’s husband) and lead by Keating along with First Mate Josh Slawkin. Lake Michigan offered up her bounty and caught fish after fish and enjoyed the moment and each other’s company
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