I completly agree. I have frozen different baits and even though that helps it stay on the hook and lets you have a supply of cut bait ,does not produce like fresh caught in the body of water you are fishing. I think alot of cutbait is how it's cut too.From what I have heard frozen cut bait is not as productive as fresh. I might be wrong depending on where you are fishing but liver has been working for me.
I agree skipjack, shad, and mooneye are the way to go!Shad, Skipjack, and Mooneye are the 3 baits I use 99% of the time. Cut bluegill is another good choice. You can buy fish from the store and use them- mackeral, salmon, trout, etc... will work but you can catch shad from any lake or river and a lot of ponds and that is free. Skipjack and mooneye you can get at the rivers and we all know how to catch bluegill.
I do know that some grocery stores and fish markets will give you the scraps or sell them to you very cheap- so that could be another route if you want to buy them.