How do you set up your air groups on carriers and airbases? And am I correct that flying boats are just strictly superior to float planes and as such I should only put float planes on my ships, but use flying boats instead for my air bases?
How do you set up your air groups on carriers and airbases?
I usually give large carriers ~3/7 fighters, ~2/7 dive bombers, and ~2/7 torpedo bombers divided - for example, an air group of 100 planes would be comprised of about 30 dive bombers in two squadrons of 15, 30 torpedo bombers in two squadrons of 15, and 40 fighters in two squadrons of 20 or possibly two squadrons of 14 and one of 12 (if I lack one type of strike aircraft, then it'll mostly be replaced by the other type, not by more fighters). Small carriers tend to get something closer to 1/2 fighters and 1/2 torpedo or dive bombers, and sometimes go to fighter-only air groups later in the game when fighters can pull double duty as strike aircraft. Note that air groups tend to go more strike-heavy early on due to the often very limited size of air wings on carrier conversions and the lower importance of CAP due to the lesser effectiveness of early as compared to later aircraft.
Airbases normally get the following air groups depending on size:
A20 - 12 flying boats, 8 fighters
A40 - 12 flying boats, 16 fighters, 12 medium bombers
A60 - 12 flying boats, 16 fighters, 12 medium bombers, 20 dive or torpedo bombers
A80 - 12 flying boats, 16 fighters, 12 medium bombers, 40 dive or torpedo bombers
A100 - 12 flying boats, 16 fighters, 12 medium bombers, 60 dive or torpedo bombers
A120 - 12 flying boats, 16 fighters, 12 medium bombers, 80 dive or torpedo bombers
I have no particular reasoning behind the airbase air groups other than that medium bombers and flying boats are more expensive than fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers and so I tend not to want as many of them despite their generally-superior combat radius; on the carriers, it's partly a result of aiming for an air group that easily divides into ~two deck load strikes and partly a result of a desire to have extra fighters to cover both CAP and strike escort.
I will also comment that airbase air groups may be tweaked depending on the area they're covering - for example, airbases on the Adriatic (and in particular near the northern or 'top' end of the Adriatic) can probably substitute floatplane scouts and more single-engined strike aircraft for the flying boats and medium bombers since the range provided by multi-engined aircraft probably isn't necessary.
And am I correct that flying boats are just strictly superior to float planes and as such I should only put float planes on my ships, but use flying boats instead for my air bases?
Yes and no. Flying boats are more expensive to maintain per aircraft than floatplanes and their range isn't always necessary depending on where exactly your airbase is, but on the other hand they normally offer significantly greater strike capability than floatplane scouts (though whether they - or floatplanes - are effective in the strike role is more questionable) and appear to be the most important type of aircraft for ASW purposes as they have an interturn event to attack submarines.