From: The Great White North!
Yes- and unless you've got the TF on cruise speed and timed for a daylight bombardment- you need to set the float planes to night missions. Careful though- set them to night mission first and then recon. They switch to a default/previous mission type when moving from day to night missions.
Yes, what he said, and I just want to point out that the squadron(s) does not need to have the base set as a recon target. Having no target is just fine, AFAIK. This was said by Michael a long time ago, and I just recently had a bombardment with a float plane group on recon but with no target, and got the '...spotting for...' message during combat.
I can confirm that, night mission, recon, no specific target needed and results go way up. Since I found this out I have Bombardment Sqns of 2 old BBs and a DD escort - 1xBB FP group on Night recon & 50% Search, the other BB day flight 40% search, 40% ASW & 20% rest. Put a TF leader with decent Naval and Land skill and the results are good. I have no idea if the land skill helps - can't hurt. I also think - but don't know for sure - that a high DL will help.