According to Bill Brookshire, an Upstate crappie fishermen, you can tell summer has finally arrived because the boat docks that surround Lake Greenwood are loaded with slabs.

Brookshire fishes the lake year-round, and he doesn't mind handing over the big, open-water areas of the lake to pleasure boaters and jet skis, because he knows summer is when big slab crappie take up summer residence around boat docks.

"The water is up, and the temperature been holding in the mid- to upper-70s," said Brookshire. "The big water stays choppy, and the fish don't have anywhere else to hide, so they get under the boat docks. That's where I like to catch them."

Brookshire has put together a milk run of his most productive docks on the Saluda River impoundment; he will run from one to another over the course of the day and fish jigs around each one. He starts at one corner and works his way all the way around the dock. Occasionally, he will catch fish on more than one side, but most days, he finds them bunched together in a corner.

"When the sun gets up, they'll move with the sun," he said. "They might be on one side in the morning, then up under the dock when the sun is overhead and then move to the other side in the afternoon."

Brookshire's strategy is to use a 9-foot fly rod and a small spinning reel to jig them out from under the docks. The reel is used to balance the rod and store the line – never for fighting the fish. He seldom fishes deeper than the length of the rod and prefers to fish about half of that depth.

"I'll take a 1/16-ounce jig and dip it around all of the pilings," he said. "You also need to watch your graph to see if there's brush on one side or out in front of the dock. If I find brush that's in the shade and has at least six to eight feet of water, I'll bet you there's crappie around it most of the time."

Brookshire isn't choosy about the color of jig he uses. He typically only brings a small plastic envelope full of pearl-colored tube jigs. He ties the jig so it swings freely, and he will often pendulum it so that it lands underneath the overhanging dock so it swings back to him under water.

"Don't fish too deep, or you'll hang up in the dock or in the brush underneath," he said. "About the time it swings to the edge of the dock is usually when he hits it."