Hi there, I'm sure you will get some weird and wonderful suggestions as I think they will take just about anything...well ANYTHING actually!!!
Just wanted to give good old bread a plug, as its never mentioned for Barble anymore. Its not my first choice but on the Kennet I used to catch them on it, sometimes very quickly from swims I had flogged all day with meat, corn etc. I found it a good "change" bait at least on that river.
Tony, use meatballs straight from the tin. You don't need to prepare them in any way, although you could add some extra flavour in the form of sprinkled powder where they have been used before and the barbel are getting wise to them. You can use the gravy in groundbait. When fishing at very short range, and for one cast only, you can use them direct on the hook by pulling the hook through with a baiting needle, turning the hook and pulling it back just into the ball. But for longer range and several casts with the same bait, use the bait-band rig I devised about three years ago. You tie up a hair-rig using the knotless knot, but with only the loop of the hair standing proud from the back of the shank. Push a suitably-sized bait-band through the loop, then through itself, and pull tight. Open the bait-band with index and middle finger and thumb, slip in a meatball, and allow the band to gently clamp around the ball. Since I showed the rig around a bit on the river Dove it has been modified in one instance to using a knotted loop of pole elastic. But a bait-band of the right size is still superior for it beds itself into the ball, gving it a good grip and virtually disappears. Take care to use a bait-band that is not too tight or you'll cut the ball in half.
Me too tony, but fishing for all species means you can take a method and adapt it to suit the current situation. Since when did anybody fishing for roach fill it in with 3 pints of maggots at the start and not feed anything else for the rest of the day.
But alot of people do it carp fishing.
Would you go barbelling and tip in a gallon of hemp and then fish over the top with a straight bomb. No and nor would I, building up a swim and utilising different methods of fishing and feeding make us all better all round anglers.