Inside My Erotic Carp Calendar Obsession

We talked to the man making the internet’s strangest calendar.

Everyone has their secret indulgences. Some have a penchant for trashy reality television franchises that start with a “K.” Others blast the radio whenever top 40 graces the airwaves. But mine is decidedly more niche. Mine is the most gloriously tacky calendar to ever hit the internet, and I’ll defend it to the death. 

If you have the pleasure of knowing me, then you’ll know I’ve audibly proclaimed my love for the erotic carp calendar to anyone who will listen. So you can imagine how overjoyed I was when yesterday, seemingly out of the blue, I received a hot tip:

Why yes, Darwinite, I do like the 2016 edition. I like it very much. After Carponizer themselves saw the tweet and followed me, I slid into their DMs faster than a butter knife through steamed fresh water fish. “PICS,” I demanded like a horny teen learning to use his camera phone. “Can you send me pics of the 2016 calendar?!” And they happily obliged.

For those of you unfamiliar with the scaly, fleshy tale of Carponizer, let me take you on a journey. The Germany-based online retailer sells, in their own words, “high-end carp equipment.” And nothing is quite as essential to the process of hunting for carp as nude ladies posing with over-sized fish. So for the past three years, they’ve been combining their appreciation for fishing with scantily clad women in the form of a calendar, as one does. Their Facebook page details, “We offer everything required of the modern carp anglers.” Thankfully for you and I, that includes a lot of stiff, pained expressions, bikinis, and nipples. So many nipples.

And while some might dismiss this enterprise as tacky, or just fodder for fetishists, my thoughts remain transfixed. I often like to imagine that I am one of these lithe, damp beauties on “set” at what is probably the world’s most uncomfortable photo shoot. Are the fish still alive? Is part of the model casting the ability to carp-wrangle, as well as pose? What would a fish feel like against my naked skin? Why are all the models making the same gaping, pouty face as the carp? So many thoughts race through my head as the photographer calls my name and I dramatically drop my bathrobe, wade into the river, and pluck my carp from its aquatic home, hoisting it gently but firmly to my bosom.

Well, I may never get to live out my fantasy of becoming a Carp Girl, but I did get to speak with Hendrik Pöhler, 28, author of the Carponizer Calendar. His inspiration was simple: “The idea for the calendar was to bring two of the greatest hobbies of men, fishing and women, together. I remember the day when I was fishing with my friend and at the spot next to us were two hot girls fishing. This was the moment I decided to make this fabulous calendar,” Pöhler tells Maxim.

But it’s not just novelty. According to Pöhler, they’ve only just started selling worldwide, but in Germany, it’s already the bestseller in the “sports calendar” category. (Right behind “Girls of Water Polo” and “Naked Lawn Darts,” I’m sure.)

And it’s not all fun and games and carp. Putting together this thing takes work! “My favorite part is to choose the pictures, because there are many good pictures. But it’s also the hardest part, because there ARE so many good pictures,” Pöhler explains. Such are the difficult decisions of a true visionary.

Ultimately, I did get some of my on-set questions answered. Yes, the fish are alive—and Pohler demands perfection from everyone on his team: “Even the fishes have to be great. There are two people specially for the carps. They clean the fishes from scales and mucus, so the girls can hold them easily. Sometimes it’s hard for the girls because the pictures have to be perfect.”

And there you have it; the harmonious marriage of shiny carp and glossy centerfold, at last. Should you wish to hang one in your bedroom, as I have done, you can get it for the exceedingly fair price of $18.95, now available on Amazon. Happy hunting.

Photos by Raphael Faraggi