Your first task is to ready a search. Once you have your search aircraft brought up from the hanger deck, you can then assign a search mission. So, for instance, you assign 14 SBDs from the VS group to a search arc of 190-310. Because the US VS groups are set up in pairs (as they did historically), you'll get 7 searches flying search patterns within that arc (generally to your west in that case).
Be sure to have your TF headed into the wind, and launch them.
Then, you'll likely want to get your first CAP of the day up. You'll assign them a Patrol mission, with their Patrol target being your carrier. This will lead them to hover over your TF, looking for enemy snoopers.
Once that's launched, you can begin to bring your strike aircraft up from the hanger and get them spotted, ready for when your search group finds something.
Once you spot the enemy, you can launch your strike, with the # and type of aircraft you want, and send them on their way. You can manually control aircraft, but generally, at least until they go in for the attack, it's best to let the AI fly them to their target.
Can you show me some screenshots for airplane management/loading/spotting and some for mission planning/launching?