Yeah I completely agree.
Personally, I use Jakes for day/night NavS and the old 2Es as ASW platforms (I do produce only the Helen-IIa in huge numbers until I have the Peggy-T).
IJAAF recon groups are cool and I suggest everyone not to produce the Dinah-II, which is 2E compared to the initial lovely 1Es with the same range.
The big jump is with the Dinah-III which is absolutely perfect: 2E (compared to 4Es Mavis/Emily), low SR, great number of squadrons and good numbers within the squadrons.
The IJNAF Judy-R (forgot the name of recon version of the Judy) is also extremely good but I use it on CVs so there isn't much space for it in my NavS plans.
Allied players are somehow obliged to pose their NavS in the hands of Catalinas, since other assets are either too valuable/fragile or totally unable to do the job.
Training proper NavS pilots for the allies is harder than for Japan, but I'm a great proponent of quite a high-risk approach since I do not recon properly the Pacific. I just think it's not rewarding: you see the KB and then what? You spot the enemy invasion of Baker Island and then what?
Against inexperienced players, it's always rewarding because they do many invasions with insufficient cover and committing outstanding operational mistakes, but experienced guys, when they go for say Pago Pago, they just take it. Not much to do.
I tend to prefer, paradoxically, heavy NavS in the DEI where forcing bizarre surface combats sacrifying a lot of stuff can be done and can have quite positive long term returns.
Moreover, there are many convoys running around (not aground, sadly).
Training for the allies in the first months it's just random for me. I know I'm wrong, but I like to employ what I have ASAP.
My rule of thumb is that whatever comes after DEC-41 is properly trained. Whatever arrives before, is just sent do die hoping to bring down some japs with them. That's why I like to train pilots directly on carriers.
Another good operations for your pilots training in the first months is to rush off-map to Cape Town and from there make a good strike on either Sumatra OIL or waters around Java. In the first case, then, you go back to Colombo and you might try to delay Japanese operations in the Andamans/Burma. In the second case, you go to Perth and from there to Sidney passing south of Australia.
Japanese NavS cannot do much since they are pressed everywhere to use 4Es, Betty/Nell are highly requested for other duties other than NavS and you might surprise Japanese shipping. Java is very very thin and you can strike from the western side to the eastern side of it without problems, making difficoult surface retailation.
If Sunda Strait is still in Allied hands and is heavily mined, I do that immediately at the beginning of the match, you can also strike on Sumatra on day-2.
Moreover, there are many little Dutch AOs (named "TAN #") which can help to refuel your fleet if positioned westward of Cocos Island. I put some of them near the map border and disband a TK in Cocos. When my CVs arrive, they have the relatively safe refuel of both. Both the TANs and the TK at Cocos then proceed to the border of the map in order to reach CapeTown.
Another undervalued possibility for the allies at the beginning is to try to bomb Onshu. It's f@cking risky, but so psychologically hurting to the Japanese player that I like it a lot. At that point you can sink few ships directly near Tokio or near Hokkaido on the way home. You need a couple of AO-TFs in order to refuel before the full speed rush to Onshu and after the full speed rush to Alaska. Picking the right escorts is important: in line of principle you don't expect subs so there is little need for DDs. There is also little need for surface escort since probably the enemy won't be able to mount an overwhelming reaction. And you can make easily 3 turns in full-speed with an average set of escorts (relatively balanced and not over-maximised for endurance), without emptying the fuel tanks and being able to continue in normal speed afterwards for at least a couple of turns. It means: 1 turn to rush to Onshu. 1 turn to rush from S-E Onshu to SOUTH of Hokkaido. 1 turn to run away from Hokkaido and approach your AO-TF advancing from Aleutinians (which is quite at risk in the whole operation).