In my experience, fighters are very good if you have the hyper launch wonder and lots of fighter tech upgrades. The dual command wonder is also great in this scenario because you will be able to launch 2 fighters on the same turn. You will be able to get lots of fighters into the battle which will be a great force multiplier. In this instance, yes, your carrier strategy would be viable. Just make sure you have some escort ships to protect your carrier. In my games, if you don't have the hyper launch wonder and don't have tech upgrades for your fighters, then they are naturally going to be pretty weak and less effective. The enemy will usually snipe your fighters before they even get into the fight. Of course, that can still be useful as a way of distracting the enemy while your capital ships close in for the kill but it will mean you are not actually using your fighters to fight but rather as decoys.