My view of overhead flycasting is that it is cyclical. I have been told that this view re- defines flycasting. I don’t know how, but I am just warning you that what you are about to read might not tie in with the official model for flycasting, whatever that might be at the moment.
My cycle consists of six phases, stroke, stop, pause, stroke, stop and pause. I treat this as a basic recipe to which you can add or subtract other ingredients to each phase to construct the cast you want.
Let’s see if I can show you what I mean.
STROKE >>> STOP PAUSE <<< STROKE STOP PAUSE
The first stroke >>> can be the pickup off the water or a backcast when false casting, you can, of course, vary the amount of power you apply and during this phase you can add a haul, if required. You can alter the tip path to give you either a tight looped or more open looped backcast.
The Stop is necessary to propergate the loop and set it’s trajectory. It can be hard or soft depending on the requirements of the cast being made.
During the Pause you can add backwards drift to open up the casting arc. You might decide to just reposition your casting arm to a more convenient position and if you have hauled you use this phase to reposition your line hand back up to the ‘ready position’.
During the forward Stroke <<< you can add more or less power as the cast or conditions dictate. You can add a haul. If it is going to be your delivery stroke the tracking can be curved left or right to produce a curved cast etc etc.
The stop on the forward stroke is either a prelude to false casting or it may be your final stop.
This Pause will either be preparation for the next stroke or it could be the one you are going to present your fly with. If you are presenting the fly you use this phase to make aerial mends, ie, left or right curves or reach casts for instance.
This is how casting works in my mind, you might well, and probably do, have a different view about it. Nevertheless, this is what works for me.